Friday, 23 June 2017

Ice Cream Galore


Hi beautiful people!

Today's post is short and sweet as I'm leaving for Finland this weekend for Midsummer celebrations (yay!). As there's no summer without ice cream I'll leave you with three quick, easy and healthy ice cream recipes. Enjoy!


Chocolate Ice Pops

Serves 4


1 ripe banana
4 fresh dates (pitted)
1 tbsp raw cacao or regular cocoa
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup oat milk or nut milk
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod (or generous pinch of vanilla bean powder)

Blend together all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth. Pour into four popsicle moulds and freeze for several hours or overnight.




Chocolate Cookie Dough Banana Ice Cream

Serves 1


Ice Cream
2 bananas, frozen (peeled and chopped first)
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 fresh date, pitted
Pinch of vanilla bean powder
1/2-1 tbsp plant milk

Blend all ingredient in a food processor until the bananas turn into a smooth ice cream. 

Cookie Dough
Crumbled Chocolate Energy Balls or home-made raw brownies.
Add to the ice cream and stir together.



Banana & Blueberry Ice Pops
Serves 4

2 ripe bananas
2/3 cup (1 1/2 dl) frozen blueberries
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder
1 fresh date, pitted
1/4 cup (1/2 dl) plant milk
1/2 squeezed lemon

Blend together all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth. Pour into four popsicle moulds and freeze for several hours or overnight.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Vegan Flourless Black Bean Brownies



Have you tried black bean brownies before? I remember that they were all the rage a few years ago, but I never really found a recipe I liked. They tasted like a just alright (but slightly cardboard-y) chocolate cake, but nothing like a decadent brownie. And then we shouldn't call them brownies, right?

These brownies are made entirely from beans instead of flour, and they are also sweetened with dates and some coconut sugar instead of refined sugar. They are also lower in fat than your average brownie recipe. So... they are fairly healthy. BUT (and this is the most important part) they are also so fudey and delicious! No cardboard box in sight :) They are also slightly spicy from some added cinnamon and ginger. For best results let them cool completely before slicing (and eating). Serve with your favourite tea and enjoy ♥.

Happy weekend!

 

Vegan Flourless Black Bean Brownies


2 tbsp chia seeds + 2/3 cup (1 1/2 dl) water
2 cups (5 dl) cooked black beans
1/5 cup (1/2 dl) virgin coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp hazelnut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup (1 dl) cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 dl) coconut sugar
1/2 tsp salt (use less if using salted nut butter)
15 small fresh and juicy dates, pitted
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp grated fresh ginger root

1. Warm the oven to 175 derees C/ 350 degrees F.
2. Stir the chia seeds into the water in a cup or small bowl. Set aside for a few minutes until the seeds have absorbed all the liquid.
3. Blend together all the other ingredients in a food processor with an S-blade. Add the soaked chia seeds and blend again until the batter is smooth.
4. Spread the batter into a cake tin ( I used a round cake tin in silicone).
5. Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes. The brownie will appear undercooked at this point, but it will set as it cools. Let cool completely before slicing.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Green Beauty: The Oil Cleansing Method


Note: My expertise is in nutrition, not skin care. This is simply about my own experiences.

Let's talk acne. I've struggled with it since I was about 13. I'm now 27 so that's a pretty long time. I don't think I'm overly vain, but any acne sufferer will know how much acne can affect a person's confidence. Me and my skin have had our better and worse periods, but it's never been great or even good. And I've tried it all. From the super drying alcohol-based toners of my teenage years (yuck!) and expensive oil-free acne gels to prescription creams from dermatologists. Some of them helped for a while, but never with lasting results. Some of the products made me look like a burn victim so much that people would come up to me and ask if I was alright. And some made my face hurt and sting so much that I couldn't sleep at night. And it all cost a lot.

A few years ago I discovered the oil cleansing method, or OCM. Google it, there's a lot of great info out there. The basic idea is to wash your face with oils. Sounds crazy, right? Especially as any acne sufferer has probably been told millions of times to avoid oils at all costs and only use anything "oil-free". Well... maybe not. The idea here is that "like treats like", e.g. oil treats oil. This means that oils can in fact be great for oily skin or skin with lots of oil and dirt trapped in the pores. Also, all those drying face washes, toners and oil-free gels and lotions can make an oily skin even oilier as the more you dry out the skin, the more oil it will produce. And the more oil it produces the more oil can clog the pores and contribute to acne. So the OCM is great for deep cleaning the pores but also to balance the skin back to normal.

When I started the OCM my skin actually got worse at first. This is apparently quite common as you dig up lots of old trapped dirt and oils. My skin got a bit better and I continued for a couple of years but then for some reason I quit and started to use more "regular" products. Then over the next couple of years my skin slowly got worse again (even when I used super clean organic products). A few months ago I was so sick and tired of my pimples and decided to give the OCM another go. And I'm so happy I did! Now I use another combination of oils than the first years which seem to suit me much better.

Now I'm definitely don't say that OCM is a miracle which will make your skin perfect in a week. My skin still isn't great BUT it's so so much better, and it's slowly getter even better every week. What a relief!


My skin care routine now

In the evening I cleanse my skin using the OCM (instructions below). My current cleansing oil is a homemade mixture of castor oil, hemp seed oil, black cumin seed oil (Nigella Sativa) and a few drops of essential oils. The essential oils I use are tea tree, lavender and juniper berry, which are all said to be able to calm and heal acne inflammation. Afterwards I apply rose water or orange blossom water. And that's it! Maybe one night per week I massage in some oil afterwards, but usually I just let my skin breathe. This sounds crazy for someone used to using serums and creams at night, but after a few weeks without them my skin was balanced enough to not feel dry.

My morning routine is super simple. I simply splash my face with some warm and then cold water. Then I apply my toner (rose water or orange blossom water in a spray bottle) and either an eye cream or a little oil around the eyes. Some days that's it! Some days I massage my face with a small amount of black cumin seed oil or my favourite face oil and let that sink in for a few minutes before applying my make-up.

About once a week I exfoliate my skin either with baking soda or a store-bought exfoliator and apply a mud mask.

So simple! And I used to be someone who used a load of different products every morning and night. But I really enjoy my simplified routine now.


The OCM

Which oils to use
You'll need at least two oils, one base oil and one deep cleansing oil.
Which oils to choose depends on your skin-type. If you have acne-prone skin you should look for oils which are non-comedogenic (meaning that they won't clog pores). I love hemp oil and black cumin seed oil for my base oil and castor oil for my deep cleansing oil. Other base oils commonly used are sunflower seed oil, olive oil or jojoba oil. Some people use coconut oil but that doesn't work for me (it clogs my pores). I use about 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 hemp oil (or hemp oil + black cumin seed oil). If this ratio makes you dry you'll need to use less castor oil and more base oil. For "normal" skin a ratio of 1:4 or 1:5 might work better, and even less castor oil for dry skin.  Read more about the oils and ratios here.

How?
1. Wash your hands. Apply about a teaspoon of your oil blend to your dry face. Massage your face with the oil for a few minutes (it works on eye makeup too). It's important that you take some time to really massage it in.
2. Soak a washcloth in hot water and hold it over your face until it cools down. This will open your pores so that they can be deeply cleansed. Then wipe your face with the cloth. Soak it in hot water again and repeat two or three times. Done!
3. Apply some face oil if your skin feels dry afterwards.

I hope this will help you as much as it has helped me ♥.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Chocolate & Turmeric Smoothie



Chocolate shake with the added anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric? Yes please!

Judging from the masses of chocolate recipes on this blog it's no surprise to anyone that I'm a total chocoholic. I consume some form of chocolate practically every day, whether it be a piece of dark chocolate, some cacao in my over-night oats or a couple of raw chocolate balls. Or, as in this case, in a super delicious smoothie.

There are quite a lot of promising scientific evidence on the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric. As I have an autoimmune disease (which is another story for another day) I try to incorporate turmeric into my diet as often as possible. I always add extra turmeric to curries, but I also sneak it into everything from tomato sauces and stir-frys to soups and stews.

This weekend I'm going on a little mini vacation with my boyfriend and his family and it will be so nice to just switch off for a few days. What are you up to?
♥♥


Chocolate & Turmeric Smoothie

Serves 1


1 cup (2 dl) plant milk (I used oat)
2 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
1 fresh date, pitted
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp raw cacao (or regular cocoa)
2 bananas
1 tsp maca powder, optional

Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Sleep


I'm by no means an expert in the subject of sleep. But as a former insomniac who used to get 2-3 hours of sleep each night, I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips on how I get my zzzz nowadays. Of course I still sleep badly sometimes (who doesn't?), but I'm so happy that my sleep has improved so much that I can get 6-8 hours of gorgeous sleep almost every night.

As most people know, sleep is incredibly important for your overall wellbeing. It's essential for energy, concentration, good moods, stress management, appetite regulation and so much more. Ok, so here are some things that works for me. Enjoy!

Go to bed at the same time every day
This is kind of boring, but going to sleep at roughly the same time every night (yes, this includes weekends) helps so much as this restores your circadian rhythm. If you go to bed at, say, 10.30 pm every day you will eventually start to feel tired around that time.

Calming teas
I love my herbal teas in the evening. My favourite is chamomile which is so calming. I also really enjoy the "Love" tea from Pukka which has chamomile, lavender and rose. If I really need to calm down I drink valerian tea.

No coffee in the afternoon/evening
If you are sensitive to caffeine (I am!) you should avoid coffee after lunchtime. If you are very sensitive you should also avoid caffeinated teas in the evening (black, green and white teas).

Careful with the alcohol
Speaking of drinks, take it easy with the alcohol. Yes, it might help you nod off, but the sleep will be light and not as restorative.

Warm baths
Taking a hot bath in the evening can do wonders, especially if you feel stressed out. Add some lavender essential oil to the water.

Lavender
Apart from baths with lavender, the essential oil can also be dropped onto your bedsheets (in small amounts) for some calming bedroom vibes. Or make a calming body oil from coconut oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil.

Daylight
Try to catch some daylight every day. This is important for your mood too!

No work in bed
Ever! Working in bed is the opposite of calming.

Do something calming in the evening
Read a book, watch some Netflix, cuddle a loved one... Dim the lights, put on some mellow music. Give yourself some time to unwind before bed.

Exercise in the day
I always sleep better when my body is physically tired (as opposed to just mentally tired). Some people have trouble falling asleep if they do intense training in the evening, and then it's better to work out in the afternoon or morning. Gentle yoga in the evening is great though! 

Mindfulness/meditation
Do a short meditation before trying to fall asleep. I love body scans for this. There are so many great meditation apps out there.

Breathing techniques 
If I wake up and have trouble falling asleep again I do some "4-7-8 breathing" which usually helps. You breathe in through your nose to a silent count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven and breath out through your mouth to a count of eight. Repeat. Read more here.

The bedroom
Make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet and not too warm.

Don't stress over lost sleep 
This is so so important! If you wake up far to early or can't fall asleep at night and immediately begin stressing over how few hours of sleep you'll get, it's almost impossible to fall asleep. You need to be calm to sleep. Try to focus on how nice it is to rest in your bed even if you're not sleeping. Or do some breathing techniques. Or get up for half an hour and read a book. It's not the end of the world if you only get 3 or 4 hours that night. You will be able to function the next day anyway.

Get help
If you have trouble sleeping for a long time and/or feel anxious and depressed you should seek professional help. There should never ever be shame in that ♥.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Raw "Pasta" with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto


Ciao!

This pasta isn't really pasta at all but rather a salad disguised as spaghetti with pesto. Spiralized carrots and zucchinis are topped with a hemp seed and sun-dried tomato pesto for an almost raw version of pesto pasta. I have no problems at all with real pasta and carbs in general (in fact I love carbs and don't think that they should be avoided). This recipe is simply a fun way to enjoy more raw veggies :)

This week I'm doing a concious decision to meditate more. I have somehow fallen off the meditation wagon the last few months and miss how good I feel when I meditate regularly. Right now I'm using some different mindfulness apps which are so convenient. I've also taken some micro breaks (like 10 seconds) at work for simply closing my eyes and taking a couple deep breaths. As a former sufferer from GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and insomnia, these little habits are so important!

I wish you the nicest weekend ♥.



Raw "Pasta" with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Serves 4 as a side


Pesto
8 sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 big or 1 small lemon, juice + finely grated zest
4 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
1 tbsp tahini
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh or frozen basil
Herbal salt, paprika powder and black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp nutritional yeast, optional

2 zucchinis, spiralized into noodles
2 carrots, peeled and spiralized into noodles
1 big fistful of cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved
2 big fistfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped

1. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for about 10 minutes or until soft. Then squeeze out all the liquid. Blend them together with all the other pesto ingredients until smooth. The pesto will be quite thick, almost like a hummus consistency.
2. Assemble the veggie noodles, baby spinach and tomatoes in a big bowl. Add the pesto and stir it into the veggies (this is easiest done with your hands).
3. Serve with an extra sprinkle of basil and hemp seeds. And some perfectly ripe avocado if you're lucky. Enjoy!

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Ultimate Chocolate Comfort Bowl


You know those days when you just want to hide from the world under a blanket and eat chocolate for dinner? Everyone has bad days sometimes and THAT'S OK! Taking a day off to rest instead of working out and, yes, eating chocolate for dinner every once in a while won't kill you. And while you're at it, put up your feet, make yourself insanely comfortable and enjoy that chocolate to the fullest. 100 % guilt-free! We're always so pressured to be perfect with what we do and eat. Yes, of course working out and eating healthy is super important. But I think that it's equally important to listen to your body and rest when it's asking you to do so. Pushing yourself to go to the gym even though you feel sick/achy/extremely tired is maybe not the best idea. And forcing down a kale salad even though your brain almost screams for chocolate is maybe not the best idea either. Just give yourself a break sometimes! And if you have the energy for a simple recipe, continue reading below.

♥♥♥

This is the ultimate comfort food for chocolate lovers. This smoothie is very sweet, creamy and so so delicious. It also tastes much more unhealthy than it actually is, and is the perfect sweet fix for chocolate cravings.

The smoothie is nice and thick and served in a bowl topped with the simplest but most delicious oat topping. The topping is a mixture of oats, dates, coconut, vanilla and cinnamon and it's sweet and chewy and super simple to make. Make a double batch when you're at it, because this stuff is crazy addicting.

Eat this a a snack, dessert or even as a luxiourious weekend breakfst. Enjoy!


Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1


1 banana, peeled, chopped and frozen
2 fresh dates, pitted
Pinch vanilla bean powder
1 cup (2 dl) plant milk
1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa)
Optional: 1/4 avocado or 2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds (for extra creaminess)

Blend until completely smooth and creamy.



Coconut & Cinnamon Oat Topping

1 small jar


1 1/2 cup (3 dl) rolled oats
1/2 cup (1 dl) coconut chips or flakes
1/5 tsp vanilla bean powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6-8 fresh dates, pitted

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until the mixture has the consistency of granola. Add more dates if needed. Keep in a jar in the fridge.