Monday, May 27, 2013

Du bist so wunderbar Berlin

My very first home was Berlin. I was born a west-berliner. I don't remember it until I was 10 years old when we moved back from Africa, but I thought I did. I thought I remembered walking hand in hand to the bakery in the morning to get fresh buns with my brother while my mom watched us from the balcony.

When I moved back to Berlin at age 10 I hated it. I thought it was such a sad place where people weren't free but boxed into these apartment houses with  freaky neighbours. There was no real sunshine and you had to play at designated areas (playgrounds). It took me about one year (according to my mom) to learn to like this city. 

loved being here by the time we moved to Copenhagen, I was 15. I haaated my parents (but I'm sure I would've found anything to hate them for at that age) for choosing a place that wasn't as big, as cool nor had my friends. Again, it took me quite a while to accept copenhagen as my new home. The city change had a part in that but most of all the schools. The school I went to in Berlin was big and had all sorts of crazy awesome people to choose from where as the school in Copenhagen was so tiny it was hard not to be pushed into friendships. Regardless, I made some amazing friends and I started to feel good in Copenhagen. 

After 10 Years of living away from Berlin (my stop after Copenhagen was Vancouver) I moved back to berlin 4 Years ago to THIS day. I like it here. I like the directness of people, it makes them less superficial. I like the fact that I can ride my bike any where and feel safe. I love that I can buy Organic food and not be broke from it. I like the feel of this city, its grittiness, its amazing greenness, and its multicultural-ness. I could do without all the dog poop though and can't believe it hasn't been brought under control yet (!). 

We have planned to move away in a year, give Asia a try and see how that treats us. I am curious to see if I will miss Berlin this time around. 

Here a nice german meal (sorry for the quality of the pic)!


Asparagus!

500g Green/White/Mixed Asparagus
500g potatoes
Parmesan Cheese
dash of lemon
chives/parsley/cilantro
salt and pepper
tea spoon sugar
tea spoon butter

Bring water with a pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, tea spoon of butter to boil.

Peel the white asparagus, and the ends of the green asparagus, chop in pieces.
when the water is boiling, drop the white asparagus in, after two minutes drop the green asparagus in.
let boil for about 4 minutes (check the consistency with a fork and see how you like it. I like to boil them until they are through but still have a bite)
drain the water (or use for soup) 
sprinkle parsley/cilantro/chives, dash of lemon juice and parmesan cheese (and also more butter if you wish)! Enjoy with the boiled potatoes!

Guten Appetit!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Definition: grown-up (grnp) n. An adult.



My Husband is turning 30 next week. I'm turning 30 next year. It is a big deal to me.. because I don't feel almost 30. 

When I look back and think what I thought I would be like with 30... hahaha. And what I think I will be like when I'm 40? Most likely not like I will be! I just keep thinking that at some point I will just be an adult.
You know those people that already seem like an adult when they are 20? And then when they are 30 they are SO grown up? I'm not one of those.

To me, grown up means that you live your life the way you want to live it. No rules from other people (apart from the law maybe), you have your space the way you want it, you can DO whatever you want, eat whatever you want, live wherever you want, sounds really free, doesn’t it?

I forget that sometimes. It’s hard looking around and seeing ‘stereotypes’ and social boundaries all the time.
Now that my friends are also getting older, they are getting married, having children, starting a family, getting stable jobs. I am married, yes, I want a stable job…mhmh, I want to start a family, yes… but is my age putting me under pressure? Because society (and for women the biological clock) states that in your early thirties you start a family if you want one?

I met an acquaintance the other day and she said she doesn’t want children. It doesn’t fit into her life and she doesn’t feel like it’s for her. GREAT! Why should she have children if she doesn’t feel that it’s something she wants? She is 32 years old and who knows, maybe in ten years she might change her mind and ether way, no biggie.

I think age doesn’t matter as long as you are happy with yourself in the moment of your life. What does 20, 30, 40, 50 mean? Why do we always ask how old are you? And then measure it as if it has anything to say about the person? 

I think it is difficult living a free life with the pressure of society. Do people measure other peoples lives to their own? If you don't live the way most of this society lives, do you have to justify yourself to yourself and others?

The 'standards' of life are different in every country, maybe I will find my standard someday... somewhere. lol. 

Maybe this meal will make me grown up?



Sweet Potato Falafels
Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), around 700g or 1 1/2 pounds in total
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
a scant cup chickpea flour
a sprinkling of sesame seeds 
                                                                                    salt and pepper
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees (220C) and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender – 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size). Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel.
2. Make the chickpea flour by putting about 1 ½ cups of dried chickpeas into your blender and grind on high for a few minutes until the flour stops falling into the middle of the container (you will understand this once you do it). Pour blender contents out into a fine-mesh sieve and sift until the fine gram and coarse legume bits are separated. You should have just less than 1 cup of fine chickpea flour – if not, make more. 
3. Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies enormously).
4. Reheat the oven to 400F/200C. Using a couple of soup spoons (put a well-heaped spoonful of mix in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides) or a falafel scoop if you have one, make the mixture into falafel-y looking things and put them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Yummy Tahini Sauce
Ingredients:
1 cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)
½ cup lemon juice
3 ­ 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1 to 1 ½ tsp. salt (to taste)
¾ to 1 ¼ cup water (depending on how thick/thin you want the sauce)
Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Using a whisk beat briskly into a smooth sauce. This takes about 1 to 2 full minutes of beating (you can also use a hand-blender). 
This sauce can be served at room temperature or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers. Keeps well for 5 to 7 days. Makes 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).

(www.mynewroots.com and 101cookbooks.com)

Guten Appetit!



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

keeping it fresh

I would say that I grew up in a health conscious home. My mom always made us breakfast (oatmeal.oatmeal.oatmeal. and... I still eat oatmeal for breakfast lol), packed us a very german lunch (home made bread with cheese and carrots to snack on) and cooked dinner every night. When we lived in Africa it was a lot of fresh fish and vegetables, but also meat. When we moved back to Germany we stopped eating red meat and my mom bought quite a few things at an organic food store (Reformhaus... oh that smell). 

During my teens I ate whatever I wanted, as much chocolate as I could scarf down in one sitting, mc donald's as often as I wanted and don't get me started on pizza. It was not until about ten years ago where I stopped eating meat for a while and started looking at what I was eating. I did stop eating mc donald's but I didn't stop eating junk food. 

The big change came about a few years back, I met a new friend who lives a whole food organic diet and I also watched a few documentaries and became acutely aware of not knowing what I was actually eating. I realised with shock that I hardly ever looked at the ingredients list on packaged food (!) and once I started looking I again realised with shock that I didn't even know what more than half of the ingredients even were, yikes. That didn't seem right to me. 
I slowly changed my eating habits, it wasn't all new to me but I came at it from a different angle. I am way more aware and I really care about what I put in my body. I remember during my teens I knew mc donald's wasn't good for me (who doesn't, right) but I really didn't care if it was or wasn't. I think that is what really changed. I care what I do to myself now.

I know that some people don't put in the extra time to eat healthy, and/or do some research on it, for whatever the reason may be (it is their choice, no judgement). What I don't understand is, if they do know that fast food is full of toxins, bad bad bad grease, insanely processed food, and yet still give that food to their children (very upsetting). Adults can make their own choices and can be aware of what they are doing to themselves but I think it is vital to make the right choices for the next generation. Learn what is healthy and then teach children what is healthy and what is not and maybe all the serious health problems caused by processed food could be reduced!

I follow a few food blogs now and try out different recipes and make stuff up while I go along as well. It has opened up a whole new way of life to me actually. How simple eating healthy can be. 
Take pesto for instance, you can buy it at a supermarket all ready made, but if you read the ingredients there is normally (unless bought at an organic store) something in there that seems unnecessary (I saw they added dex bla bla no idea why or what... does my body know how to break that down? where does it go?) and if you want pesto all you need is basil (or parsley or whatever fresh herb you want to make it with), add olive oil, sunflower seeds (or other seeds/nuts), lemon juice, salt and pepper, some cheese if you want and then grind it all up and maybe add a tiny splash of water if it needs to be thinned out. Honestly it takes 5 minutes max. It tastes fresh, you know what's in it and you can have the great feeling of having made your own pesto sauce! mhmh. mhmhm. mhmhmhmhmhmhmh. 

Since my teens, I had this idea that I wanted to be thinner and I wanted to be fitter, I didn't feel good. well. let me tell ya. The biggest change of all is how I feel about myself. I really have come to love myself (this is a big one for me)! I have more energy overall, I never feel so full that I feel ill... I mean, I still overeat (how can I not, I LOVE food) but it's a different feeling, its not the 'I just did something really bad to myself, I might barf' feeling its more a 'oooh that was good but I should've had less' feeling... oopsies!

I'm a vegetarian, I eat fresh and I love home made junk food. 
How do you eat?


Brocoli Salad (on CousCous)


  • 2 Heads of Brocoli
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 3/4 Cup of Chick peas
  • 1 Cup of small tomatoes
  • 150grams (a block) of feta cheese
  • Handfull of sunflower seeds
  • handfull of pumpkin seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP vinegar (your choice, optional)
Steam the brocoli. Add all the ingredients together, mix well. Dish on top of a grain (I used CousCous, you can use brown rice, quinoa, whatever you wish) 
Delicious! Fresh! YUMMY!

Guten Appetit!

Monday, May 20, 2013

my SIMPLE sanities

Sanity? what what? whats that?  huh? bread? omg! cat? yes please!

I was thinking about sanity and read a few books on it, did a psycho therapy to over come some of my fears and I came to the conclusion that I need to stay on track otherwise my mind goes loopy again. And that's no fun for anyone. 

I have been working on staying very aware of what I am feeling and why. This is really hard work for me, let me tell you, sometimes I just don't care why I am mad or upset, I don't want to analyse everything... but in the end.. I also want to get over it, right? so.... yeah, I do the work.

The work included some research about myself... I had to realize things that are just not working for my sanity and things that I need more of. The next step was to actually accept these things about myself (this is still ongoing) and then came the hardest step of all. To ACTUALLY do them (let those negative things go and start doing those positive things). not talk about them. not dream about them. not wish for them to magically appear. but. to. do. them... 

When my thoughts go blurry and I feel tired and overwhelmed, I know its time for yoga. So I get my shit together and go do yoga and each time it's as if I come out a whole new person, it's absolutely amazing!!!! 

When I feel stressed out but can't figure out why- I tell myself 'breathe. in. out. breathe. in. out, relax your shoulders, relax your face' and my whole body starts to relax! 

When I really don't want to do something, I do it, before letting myself get into that mind game of 'Should I really? naaaah, do it later.. no, I will do it now...or maybe later after all?' I also realised that when I make my mind up, I need to not think about it again- going to the gym for instance, I say to myself 'today I'm going.' and then move onto another topic in my mind. BAAAM.

I recently read a book called the happiness project and the author was talking about her simple truths and consequently I thought of mine. I see my simple truths to be part of who I am and also what keeps me sane.... 


  • Whenever I enter and leave a store, cafe, restaurant, bus, etc I always say hello, thank you and goodbye
  • sleep at least 8 hours a night
  • laugh at any possibility that I can (yes, sometimes it goes wrong)
  • take my bike anywhere
  • don't believe everything I hear
  • eat organic food as much as I can
  • say at least one inappropriate thing a day
  • eat before I feel starved and ready to kill someone
  • go to the gym 3 times a week
  • make decisions
  • smile at people who stare at me
  • break at least one rule a day

I realised that when I consciously work on my attitude and my emotional well being, I do feel A LOT happier. 

You?

... sometimes I also have home made ice cream and that makes me feel aaaaaaaalright.. want some?



Bananalicious Ice Cream  
Frozen Banana

Dash of soy milk (optional)
1 TBSP maple syrup/agave syrup
Topping: Crushed almonds, peanuts, chocolate sprinkles, raisins, whatever you heart desires

Take a ripe banana, peel it, break it into pieces and put it in a tupper ware and freeze it.


Take the frozen banananana out and let it  defrost a little bit (not all the way through), dash of soymilk, add maple syrup and use a purifier (not a blender) for a minute or so (you will see the consistency you want) then sprinkle your topping over it! YUUUM!


(mynewroots.org)


Guten Appetit!



Friday, May 17, 2013

Here's to all you fresh momma's out there!

First off, CONGRATULATIONS! You're either pregnant or had a baby recently! (or you might be curious, that works too!)

How amazing that women can experience the oldest thing there is known to humans- giving life! We can feel it growing inside of us, to me (never having been pregnant) maybe a little scary but mainly just miraculous!

Over the course of about 40 weeks a woman's body goes through tremendous amount of change- hormonal(!), weight gain, posture change, organs get moved around and so forth... but most importantly a little human-being is formed and grows inside the uterus. This means, that the uterus grows with the baby and after a woman gives birth, the uterus shrinks back down to pre pregnancy size. Normally it takes up to 10 days, cesareans up to 14 days.

Here are some 'exercises' you can do to quicken this process, these are not post natal exercises as you would do them at a gym, these are very soft exercises you can already do on your first day after giving birth (for cesarean births please see below)

Post-birth 'Exercises' for a complication free birth, for births with episiotomies (if not otherwise stated by your physician, Episiotomies Grade 1, 2 you can start on the third day post birth. Grade 3- you can start on day 6 post birth. Always talk to your physician to be safe)

Breathing exercise

  1. Lay on your back and close your eyes, hands placed on your stomach
  2. take a deep breath into your nose and out of your mouth (this revs up your circulation which in turn increases blood flow to your uterus and perhaps you can feel your uterus contracting, a good sign! it means its working itself down to normal size! ps more women feel it with their 2nd child) repeat mornings and nights 10 times
Getting feeling back into that pelvis
  1. Lie on your back
  2. bend your knees and bring your feet onto the bed/matt
  3. place your thumbs on either side of the bottom of your ribcage (right thumb right side, left thumb left side)
  4. place your index or middle finger on your hip bone (also right-right, left-left)
  5. now tilt (very slowly and controlled) your pelvis upwards towards your face so that the space between your thumb and index/middle finger gets smaller
  6. and back down
  7. repeat
  8. don't forget to breathe
Repeat 10 times a day

Core focus

  1. still lying on your back, knees bent, feet on floor/matt, hip width apart, knees apart
  2. with every exhale through your mouth suck in your belly button as if you want to reach your spine with it. inhale- relax. exhale- suck in. it is crucial you do it with your breath, please do not hold your breath. 
Repeat 3-4 times and build up each day. If you feel good and strong, add lifting your head up and bring your chin to your chest.

Lying on your belly exercise
This is a really nice exercise (especially for women with episiotomies, it takes the pressure off) you can lie on your stomach again! WHAAAT! nice!
  1. put a pillow right underneath your chin so lying on your stomach doesn't hurt your breasts
  2. role up a towel, thin blanket, small cushion and put it between your belly button and your pubic bone
  3. lay down on your belly
  4. breathe deeply, relax and stay for about 10-20 min
Repeat daily how ever often you want and have time

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding increases the mother's oxytocin levels which makes the uterus contract quicker (so... shrink). Breast feeding is also the simplest way to feed your baby, all the nutrients it needs for the first months are in mamas milk, no heating required, no cooling after over-heating, no factory-man-made nutrition, breast milk already has some of the immune boosting nutrients from the mom, no extra bottles needed, it is bonding between mother and child, as you can see the list is on-going. Breastfeeding also helps the child in their mouth-motorik skills (for its speech) thought that was interesting!

Tips and exercises for cesarean births:
  1. from the day after until about day 3 of having the operation, it is really important that you have one hand on the wound when moving, especially if you want to roll over onto your side
  2. when you roll over, try to roll over upper body and lower body simultaneously. For instance you want to roll over to your left side, you bend your knees and bring your feet one after the other onto the bed, your right arm reaches over to your left shoulder (if you can grab the bed frame on that side it helps too) and you turn your legs and torso at the same time whilst EXHALING
  3. When you need to cough, sneeze, laugh, always turn your head and upper back to one side, slightly press on your wound 
  4. Day 1 you can already do the breathing exercises above if you don't feel pain doing them
  5. It is important to keep your legs moving, so pump those feet as if you are pedalling a bike and bend one knee after the other once in a while. This revs up blood circulation and it prevents thrombosis after a surgery (you might also get socks from the hospital or injections to prevent thrombosis)
  6. You can start the exercises listed above on day 3 post surgery
  7. After about two weeks you can start massaging your scar. Always push the skin towards the incision, then lift your fingers and push the skin again. Do not push and pull apart.
  8. Remember to take it easy, even though you might not feel hurt for long, the body needs time to fully heal!
AND OH MY GAWD YOU HAVE A BABAY!!!!! yip yip hurray!

go and enjoy that kid of yours!!!!



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Be prepared! For this is a love story...

I get the freedom I need getting from A to B... No grouchy faces, no pushy people, no stare bears, no smelly morning breaths in my face, no little jerky kids shoving each other into me, just me and my bike and the fresh wind in my face.

My dad has an oldtimer sailboat and as a kid we used to go to Kiel (city by the coast of northern germany) for weeks at a time to be with this boat. I remember riding my bike in the harbours parking lot for hours on end. Just riding circles around and around and around aand aaaround aaand arouuuuund. 

It was the. best. feeling. in. the. WORLD!!!

I still have that same feeling. Every morning when I get up and get on my bike, my spirits lift up. I turn my pedals and I move forward! What an amazing invention.  

(Bicycle--Vehicles for human transport that have two wheels and require balancing by the rider date back to the early 19th century. The first means of transport making use of two wheels arranged consecutively, and thus the archetype of the bicycle, was the German draisine dating back to 1817. The term bicycle was coined in France in the 1860s. -Thanks Wiki)

I use my bike to comute, every day, all year around, rain or shine (exception: streets covered in ice) I ride about 26 km a day/average. It gets my heart pumping, my blood flowing and my brain awake and ready for the day! Oh and...Ahem... perk number one? I really don't need to worry about burning calories (that means EAT without counting calories... ... ... I might be in trouuuuuble!!) 

It is the best way to see the city, no hustling to the next bus with the chance of missing it, no paying for public transport, no polluting of the world, like I've said, just me on my bike getting that butt that I'm dreaming of...

Now, some might say it is dangerous. It can be, I don't deny it... With those grannies on their cadillac bike in snail speed, you over take them and yet at the red light while you wait, they over take you with their head held high, so proud that they made it past you again (by breaking the law thank you very much) or the cars that turn right while you go straight and they don't watch out for you, the slippery streets when it rains, the kid that might jump in front of you out of nowhere! Yes, it can be dangerous. 

BUT... in all seriousness, when the sun is shining and I get outside, I ride through a park, hear the birds chirping, the leaves rustling, the dogs running around, feel the wind around my nose...all I can do is smile. how lucky am I? Yes, also in the rain (with rain clothes on, otherwise its not as much of a party) I feel connected to mother nature, feeling my face get wet and the nice fresh chill going down my spine ... and this in BERLIN! a big city! 
Must I say more?

Thank you Baron Karl von Drais! You have given me one of my biggest joys in life.

Now... get out there, where ever you are and take a ride, I'm telling you, it will feel as if you are a kid again and what more do we want?

One last thing, before you get out there and get in touch with your inner child, eat some carbs (see recipe below) you might get hungry by burning all those calories!

Giggles!





Funtastic Risotto!
Ingredients:
  • 500g risotto rice
  • 2 big fresh fennel (can substitute with asparagus, mushrooms, spinach) use entire fennel, also the green bits (yum)
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 3 Cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 Cups organic no salt added Vegetable broth (if you have it in cube form, pour boiling water over to  liquify)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp Ghee/Coconut oil
  • 1tsp butter (optional)
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/2 cup grated Aged Cheese (i.e. parmesan (optional))
  • Fresh Chives and parsley for garnish
  • salt and pepper


What to do:
1. Turn on element to medium, add Ghee/Coconut Oil. Wait for it to melt
2. add chopped onions and garlic, stir (you don't want the garlic to turn brown) 
3. add the rice, stir stir stir for about 30 seconds. 
4. add some of the broth, keep stirring (this is key, you don't want the rice to stick to the pan) until the water has evaporated, 
5. add the white wine. Keep stirring, after about five minutes 
6. add the chopped fennel (or any other veggie option), keep adding broth and stir when sticking to the pan. 
7. add some salt, black pepper (to taste). 
8. after about 15 mins, add the lemon juice and cheese (if you opted for this version). keep stirring and keep adding broth. 

taste the rice, it shouldn't be hard but also not soggy. It depends on how much water you put in at the beginning but mine normally takes about 20-25 minutes, have a taste, 

9. add a tsp of butter (optional) let melt. garnish with chives/parsley or both. 

This is an extra extra large portion, so stuff your face, enjoy with friends and keep enough for lunch tomorrow!

Guten Appetit!  




Monday, May 13, 2013

monday morning tips

  • nearly 90% of all germans had/have/will get back problems! 
  • Before WWII an average german walked more than 20km. Nowadays? on average- 400 meters. I couldn't believe it when my professor told me!
And let's not even start about the weight gains on average compared to back then! 
There are of course multiple reasons for all these changes- job industries, transportation, food, etc.

Every one has had a back ache before, right? That feeling when you get up and you think 'oh-oh something isn't right here' and then you go through the day with some sort of limitation to movement. Sometimes you can't turn your head left/right/up/down, you feel your spine is 'out of line' you cant bend over, whatever it is, it's sucky! 

The good news? You can change your backs wellbeing! Great, right? All you have to do is follow the exercises from the list bellow EVERY morning after waking up. Try this for a week and see if you feel better ( I promise you will but you better see for yourself!)

First off-- this is (if you ask me) the MOST important thing while moving any part of your body:
BREATHE! with every stretch it is vital you breathe. why? because if you hold your breath, your circulation gets stopped, your blood doesn't get enough oxygen and you build up unnecessary pressure in your body. Remember: relax- breathe in, tense-breathe out. also during your day try to focus on this.

secondly-- first few times doing this, please be careful, do everything slowly and accurately, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to comment on this post.

lastly-- when you bend down, to pick something up (anything with any kind of weight) bend your knees and bend over. IF you need to bend down and twist slightly, MAKE SURE you twist back to your feet before coming up. Very important.... 

ok, you ready? :)
  1. Before getting out of bed, lie on your back, bend your knees and pull them towards you (if you can't reach your knees then use your blanket around them and pull BUT NOT WITH FORCE) imagine your knees want to reach your shoulders (left knee-to left shoulder; right knee-to right shoulder) this is a great hip opener and it already flexes your back softly.
  2. stretch your legs out and reach your arms over your head or sideways if there is not enough space, flex your toes towards your face, and streeeeeeeeetch your right side and then your left. Imagine you want to push away an imaginary wall at your feet (with your heels) and hands (finger tips).
  3. once out of bed, stand up straight, take a deep breath in and focus on your posture, how are you standing? Lift your toes off the floor, now put pressure on your heels, and on the front of your foot- where your big toe and little toe are attached. Relax your toes down, but keep the pressure on those three spots on your feet! (this is a lot harder than you think, maybe start with one foot at a time) repeat twice and relax.
  4. close your eyes, soften your knees (if you need to really bend them, go ahead!) suck in your belly button but keep that breath going! slowly begin to drop your chin to your breast bone and start to roll down your spine vertebrae by vertebrae until you are hanging over or on your knees, take a few deep breathes in and out (let go of the neck) and slowly start to roll up, YOUR HEAD IS THE LAST THING TO COME UP. you might feel dizzy, that is a normal reaction if you are not used to this type of movement (make sure you are close to something to hold on to) do not twist in this exercise, your body is always facing forwards. REPEAT 3 times.
  5. stand up straight, bend your knees and swing your hips side to side, this is really important for the men because they tend to be as rigid as they can be in their pelvis, therefore it is really important to do these moves. sway from side to side and then tilt your pelvis front and back (help: you can put your thumb in your belly button and your index finger on your pubic bone, when you tilt your pelvis up the fingers come closer together and when you tilt your pelvis back your fingers go wider apart)- your shoulders should not be moving. then, do the hoola hoop- imagine you have a hoola hoop around you and you are circling it around. AGAIN, shoulders in place. keep breathing and smile.
  6. plant your feet firmly on the ground, hip wide apart, bent knees, now the pelvis (hips) stay put and you only twist your shoulders (arms bent at elbows) and head side to side. It's as if you are trying to look behind you. Start slowly and keep breathing. Once repeated a few times, start to twist so much that you inevitably have to move your pelvis. Let the movement get so big that in the end your whole body is twisting side to side but your feet are FIRMLY on the ground. 
  7. Now, feet still hip width apart, the whole body is straight, knees soft (suck in that belly) and you will only move your head from side to side, up and down. Imagine you are drawing with your nose, a big 0, a big ---line and also an 8. 
  8. Now shake your whole body out, legs, arms, twist your face- smile, scrunch your face together, wide eyes, squinty eyes, pretend you are chewing a HUGE piece of gum and really over exaggerate these movements. get that blood flowing in your face!

I know it seems like a lot of writing but once you do it and understand the movement, it's easy peasy and this will only take around 10 min! You might be thinking 'naaah I'd rather sleep for ten more minutes than look like a honkey doing these weird movements' but really, what are ten minutes a day for a better spine? NOTHING!

now go try it out :) and theeen? treat yourself to the easiest pancake recipe known to woman!

Easy Peasy Pancakes

1cup flower (I used spelt)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar - optional
1 tsp vanilla -optional
1 medium ripe banana
3/4 cup milk (as you wish-i used soy)

in a bowl mix all the dry ingredients together
in another bowl, mash the banana with a fork, add the milk and whisk it until semi smooth, add to the dry ingredients and whisk all together, add milk until consistency is perfect for you.

Get out a pan, put some oil (coconut, ghee, whatever you want) and start cooking them up! serve with fruit, maple syrup or whatever your heart desires!

 Guten Appetit!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

talk talk talk about tude

the other day I was super excited because my loan from the bank came through and I don't have to worry about my last year of school (money wise, studying wise- yikes!) who wouldn't be happy for me? (if its you, don't bother reading on)

So I was sitting in a cafe eating lunch (see below for pic) telling an acquaintance -excitedly- that I did get the loan and what did he say? 'mhm. I dunno.. I wouldn't do that. you have to pay that back and it's really not that good of an idea....' huh. yes, I do know what a loan means and what the consequences are of getting one. thank. you. for. clearing. that. up. lol.

He went on about how it wasn't the best idea for me and that I should've (yes, past tense) asked my parents and so forth. Why bother telling me these things, I just said that it already is finalised and already happened! way to make me feel... shitty. and this wasn't the first time he has reacted this way about things I've told him in the past (you'd think I'd finally learn not to tell him things... I just can't help myself when I'm excited about something though... ahhh.)

I am not sure if this is a german criticism thing (some germans (gotta watch out how I say these things!) do like to point out the negative on your actions/dreams) or if it's just his thing... either way, what a way to take the wind out of my sails! I felt deflated afterwards because I started backing up my decision by explaining my reasons and in the end I was just annoyed at myself that I jumped right in to defend my actions- to someone who (really) doesn't care where I get my money from!

It made me think about how I would've wanted the situation to have gone. Did I want him to lie to me and say 'brilliant idea! awesome for you!' even though he didn't feel that way? no. i wanted him to be honest but I felt he didn't have to be so incredibly blunt about it.

This is where the cultural aspects come into play for me, in Berlin people (I know I'm generalising greatly so please take this with a grain of salt) tend to give you their opinion inescapably. When I lived in Canada my friends didn't necessarily always tell me what they thought or what they would do in my shoes and gave me and my thoughts some space.

Which is better, you getting an honest-yet-too-much-information answer or an answer that is vague and sometimes no answer at all? Or do I only want the honest-yet-too-much-information answer when they agree with me?



Coffee with a dash of soy milk mhmhmh 


Bagel with homemade red pesto, rocket leaves, tomato, cucumber and shaved parmesan. Delicious!

and to top it all off- a Brownie

(not made by me but a cute little cafe by my school)



Saturday, May 11, 2013

lets get real


I have been working in various hospitals all over Berlin for a year and a half now and have met amazing people in all shapes, all ages and all motivation levels. The key thing that I find most important to living a healthy long life is nutrition and exercise. nothing new, right? 
so why doesn't every one aspire to it?

I have noticed, that a lot of people are either in denial or unknowing about their role in their health... it really shocks me, still. 
Just the other day I spoke to my patient about his gout 

(Gout (also known as podagra when it involves the big toe)[1] is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected (approximately 50% of cases). However, it may also present as tophikidney stones, or urate nephropathy. It is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in theblood. The uric acid crystallizes, and the crystals deposit in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues
- thanks wiki)

I was telling him, that it is crucial he reduces his meat intake and alcohol (gout is usually provoked by the combination of medication, red meat and alcohol consumption) unfortunately he can't stop taking his medication until he loses weight and gets his overall health back on track, but he CAN cut out meat and begin to exercise. He then in turn was going on about how he eats very little meat and going as far as saying he doesn't even like meat... I was surprised, because I had seen his meal plan (which the patients choose themselves from three categories)

1. meat 2. no pork 3. vegetarian-- and I saw that he had made a check-mark at number 1. for every single meal (the room also smelled like salami at the time)!

It is of no use to me, if he doesn't eat any meat, so why was he lying? If he loves to eat meat and accepts the gout, who cares? It's his life, why not stand by the choices he makes? 

I run into a variation of this situation almost daily.

I've changed my lifestyle radically from all these experiences- they made me more aware. Am I really as healthy as I think I am? I was never a huge meat eater, I was vegetarian in my teens for a few years and then back and forth and now I am a committed healthy eater. what does that mean? I don't eat poultry, red meat or pork. I do eat fish once/twice a month and other than that I eat plants. Mhmhmh. Oh, I do eat dairy in form of cheese sometimes... 

my point not being how you should eat (you make your own choices anyways), my point being--look at yourself, in all honesty, and be aware of what you do with your body because in the end, we live as well as our bodies feel


and now... it's SATURDAY! go out and play :) check out the saturday smoothie I made myself today mhm yum yums.




Need: a blender

1 medium banana
Frozen berries
orange juice
mint leaves
bee pollen

blend it all together until smooth and sprinkle the bee pollen over top!

Guten Appetit!

Friday, May 10, 2013

turbulent


so... being in a relationship for nine years now (!) and married for 6 1/2 gets me thinking about single life. I cant seem to remember how it REALLY is. I can imagine it but lets get real, after nine years of living with someone (actually always having lived with someone- friends or family) it seems like a real treat at times. You don't have to clean up after any one- but yourself. That's the one issue I always come back to. I think it is different if both people are similar- either clean or messy- but if one is more messy than the other, it tips the scale. 

After getting up yesterday morning, going to aerobics and feeling soooo good I got up this morning and had the EXACT opposite experience. I cleaned up and felt overwhelmed with the chores that my daily life brings. Sometimes I just don't want to clean but want a clean house. so.. what do I do? I clean but get myself into a state of crinkled eyebrows, clenched jaw and pursed lips before I have breakfast! 
why?! Yesterday I said I want to do the best to make myself happy EVERY day. ooops there it went! haha... pfffft.

I did think about this Blog, and what I had promised to myself (trying to find happiness in every day situations). So... I had hoped that the feeling in my grumpy gut, that I couldn't seem to get rid of but that just seemed to ooze out of my bellybutton up and around like a spiral higher and lower until it fully consumed my entire core would be tamed by breakfast.. so I had my bestest breakfast (see recipe below) and. it. didn't. work. another pfffffft. 

Finally, I took a time-out. I laid on my bed, shut my eyes and breathed in and out as deeply as I could, imagining that this dark pitch in my stomach would lift and fly out the window... 
My better half came, laid next to me and made me laugh. The grumpiness has disappeared and I am ready to take on this day and make the best out of it.

So the question is, if I were single, would I not get grumpy over cleaning up in the first place? or would I still be grumpy with myself but no-one would be there to cheer me up after? Maybe its that I just don't want that responsibility of being an adult?

Sometimes I do like to imagine how easy it would be to be single but then I would miss out on all the giggles and cuddles post grump-attack. I wouldn't want to miss out on that... ever.




Happiness boosting breakfast!

1/2 cup raw oats
8 almonds (soaked over night)
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp bee pollen
1/2 banana sliced
1/2 apple cubed
2 Tbsp raisins (or any other dried fruit)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Milk (soy/nut whatever floats your boat)


Guten Appetit!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

getting into it


Today is a holiday and I went to my very first aerobics class!

At first I felt a bit lost, due to the fact that the teacher has a dance background and was really into it (which gave me enough motivation not to give up though, loved her) and overall- success! I felt sweaty and proud after the hour of hopping and jumping, pirouetting and misstepping my way through it. Watching her have so much fun doing the steps- I'm not sure how 'normal' aerobics classes look like but i didn't expect so many dance moves- gave me so much energy. She is my favorite teacher at the gym because she is very uplifting and seems to be happy. 

I aspire to be happy. Happy with my awesome-self and with my not-so-awesome self. I want to be happy on my bad days and on days I don't want to be. 

I have done a lot of thinking and researching lately on the topic of happiness and have come to one conclusion:

be good to myself.

It sounds so simple, right? mmh... but I do find so many hidden things that are NOT good for myself. Why do I do them? well. dunno. cause I'm silly I guess...

My goal is to work on myself- however possible- and to share it by blogging and maybe someone reading this (you perhaps) will feel motivated and/or uplifted about making a better life for themselves!

so right now in this moment, am i happy? yes. i actually am and why? because i feeeeeeeeel good.
I went to aerobics, i sweat, i concentrated on something other than my life- past, or future, i was focused on the steps, on feeling the music and just letting go. i had fun! then i made a huge delicious salad for lunch (see recipe below) and now im blogging. cant get any better than that on a holiday! now, off to meet a friend for tea! 

Toodles!

Salad Recipe (all organic ingredients if possible, if not, peal the cucumber!)

two hand fulls of mixed greens
2 cups of chickpeas
whole cucumber
2 ripe juicy big tomatoes
1 avocado
hand full of fresh parsley
hand full of pumpkin seeds
hand full of sunflower seeds
palm full of crushed flax seeds
one long green onion

chop it all up, put in bowl.

dressing: (best in a little jar you can shut and shake)
1T olive oil
2T apple vinegar
1t mustard
1t strawberry jam/ maple syrup/ agave syrup
splash of water
sea salt and pepper to taste

mix well! pour on salad mixture and (if you want) sprinkle some cheese on it (i used parmesan, can also use feta or whatever you wish)

Guten Appetit!