Thursday, 26 June 2014

Next Step

I'm on my way to Stockholm again, this time for another milestone in my new hippie life: the first part of the course in paleo/ low carb nutrition.

The hazy finish represents my usual motion sickness 
I booked the course as soon as I had decided to leave Pharma and go all hippie. I still remember the feeling of pressing enter and knowing that it signified the no turning back.

At the time, I didn't know how I wanted to use the course and I am still fairly open-minded about it. For a while I only saw it as a way to make the decision to leave London final, albeit something that would be useful to me and in line with my beliefs on health.

Half a year later, I have a feeling that this course will be the start of something pivotal in my life. The more distance I put between myself and Pharma, the more I realise that this is what I should be working with. I think I have finally found my calling.

Big words on a Thursday.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lil T is One!

Our Lil T turned one in the week and it was time for her birthday party today. I was faced with the tough decisions about what to serve. I didn't want Lil T to miss out on birthday cake, but at the same time, I didn't want to serve her anything sugary. So, it was time for some experimenting.

Swedish birthday cake is usually a sponge cake with lots of cream and berries. I paleofied the concept by baking a paleo sponge cake where I substituted the maple syrup for mashed banana (No joke chocolate cake), then I layered with cherries, raspberries, blueberries and cream. It looked quite indulgent and you can't tell that there was no sugar involved!

I also wanted to try making a 'cake' purely out of fruit and lucky for us, Lil T's birthday is in the summer. I cracked open a watermelon and added some fruit layers. It wasn't too bad looking either!

Plastic Fantastic

I'm notoriously freaked out by plastic nowadays, especially when it comes to food. I don't care what packaging producers say about the quality of their plastic, I try to avoid it as much as possible so it doesn't leak into our food and mess with our hormones. Hence, our fridge looks a bit like a recycling bin:
I think we need a bigger fridge...
The second thing that motivates me to avoid plastic is the environmental factor, of course. We consumers just don't question plastic much, do we? It's everywhere. Not many people think twice about that plastic lid on takeaway coffee. Or the plastic bag around (often organic) fruit and veg. Or the plastic tubs in which processed food comes in, including most icecream and sodas and ready meals and so on and so forth. Yeah, some of it can be recycled to make, uhm, fleece (that leaks little plastic particles into our water, but that's a different story) and what, building material? But a lot, and I mean tons of it, ends up here:
I couldn't resist and read the ingredient list. Gag. Why do I do it? 
My high school friend Meyer taught me a lesson a long time ago. I was gushing over the in-store recycling facilities at the local Aldi, when he cooly remarked something along the lines of "well, how about we didn't have to buy all that packaging in the first place?"  That stuck with me and has made me think twice before buying something with unnecessary packaging. 

End of rant! :-)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Outdoor Gym

We've got some awesome entrepreneurs out here in the sticks. Two local teenage girls decided to organize an outdoor gym, I'm impressed! Check out the HUGE tractor tire in the background. Can't wait to attack that one. 

Now I just need to figure out what to do...
Unfortunately, we've had some less productive "entrepreneurship" in the woods lately, with half of the woods being fenced off by a pissed off builder. After a fair few angry articles and interviews in the media as well as some local vigilante action, the builder has at least taken down the gates. This leaves some rather lonely looking ladders. Perhaps they can be incorporated into some kind of obstacle course? Wouldn't want them to go to waste, they are awfully sturdy.

So very wheelchair friendly

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Eating With Danes

I always thought that I'd end up in Denmark if I moved back to Scandiland, but life throws you a few surprises along the way, ey? The good thing about South Sweden is that Copenhagen is pretty much around the corner, so when my London-based girlfriend Mette happened to be around, I got myself on a train and a bus and a train (those strikes are a bugger) to see her and and another London girl, Marie.

Copenhagen is a bit of a hipster food Mecca, so I was expecting great things. I wasn't disappointed! Our first food stop (yes, I ate myself through CPH) was the aptly named Palæo (forgive the Danes their spelling, they just need to feel a bit special, in a small brother kind of way). A grain-free meat fest was promised and pretty much delivered on, including bullet proof coffee (coffee with butter, oh yeah). The only caveat was the service that was, well, hapless in a prehistoric kind of way. Given the cuteness overload of the staff, however, they were promptly forgiven. 

Next up was 42Raw, a raw veganite heaven and funnily enough right next door to a second Palæo café. Nothing is heated above 42 degrees and hence retains many of the enzymes and nutrients that would otherwise be lost in the cooking process. Because we were already full, we headed straight for the cakes... 

Although a fairly sweet affair (assuming mostly from dried fruit and bananas), the cake didn't do too much to my blood sugar. Aces!

I needed the energy for the little house party at Marie's house later. The usual kitchen utensils were brought out after a few glasses of wine (organic, bien sûr, one doesn't do hangovers anymore) and the singing started. Is it just my Danish posse that has this particular fetish for air guitars and pretend microphones?!

This morning we walked into town and stopped at Bodega for breakfast. Given the grain-heavy brunch options, I went straight for the herring. It cracked me up how most of the lunch menu was so traditionally Danish... funny how cool gets redefined. Anyway, the herring was love at first bite. :-)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Monday Fish

Sometimes I don't plan ahead and I need to make dinner from whatever random things are left in the fridge and freezer. Today was such a day and the result was pretty amazing! This is what I used:

350g frozen pollock, cut into cubes (no need to defrost, but it is easier to cut if it has been out for 30 minutes)
1/2 onion
1 sweet potato
1/2 kohlrabi
2 garlic cloves
3 chunks frozen chopped spinach
2 tbsp tomato purée
100g creamed coconut, dissolved in hot water
1 lime
Dried thyme
Dried oregano
Cayenne pepper

Fry chopped onion in fat of choice (I used coconut oil), then add thyme, oregano, pepper and chopped garlic. Then throw in diced sweet potato and kohlrabi, stir once in a while. Pour in creamed coconut, lime juice, tomato purée and spinach after a few minutes. Stir and cover with a lid. When the vegetables are almost done, place the cubed fish on top, replace the lid and let cook for a few minutes until fish is done. Stir and serve. Easy!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Confetti Sauerkraut

The rest of the clan is flying in from a London today. I can't wait to see little T again, now with a "complete" set of teeth. Complete in the sense that grandma fears that she'll start gnawing on the coffee table and the like, ha ha. Just like her mama and auntie used to do with our parents' bed's headboard. I can still feel the satisfaction of sharpening my teeth on it.

Anyhow, trying to keep busy I've made a new batch of sauerkraut. More like sauer vegetable confetti, I know, but the principle is the same. I just got a bit lazy and blitzed what I found in the cellar (cabbage, carrot and beetroot), added a few tablespoons of sea salt, mashed it up further with a spoon & my hands and stuffed it into jars.

Fermented party trick
The only problem with this stuff is that it doesn't last very long. The longer it ferments, the better, but as it starts fermenting pretty quickly and hence starts tasting bloody awesome in just a few days, it is difficult to keep your spoon out of the jar. (And if you still need convincing of why you should eat this stuff, read Marky Mark's article on fermented foods...)

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Our crossfit friends Sevan and Darren recently introduced me to Russian Kettlebells. Essentially, they look like large cast iron cannon balls with a handle on top.

8kg and 12kg Kettlebells

What sets the kettlebell apart from the trusty dumbbell is that they are far more versatile and take up a small amount of space, which is great if you are working out from home. I have subsequently learnt that they have been around far longer (300 years) than the standard dumbbells seen in most gyms.  

One thing I first noticed about the kettlebell, is how it feels slightly heavier and a bit more awkward to hold than a dumbbell. This is down to its centre of mass being extended farther out from your body, so making it harder to handle and manoeuvre. This ensures that when you do lifts or swings you have to concentrate more on your form to keep the kettlebell stable, thus improving your technique.

I am still learning new routines, but so far I have been able to target all the main muscle groups and core.  One of my favourites is called the Kettlebell Get-Up. It works the entire body and begins with you laid out on the floor and standing up with a kettlebell raised in the air. It's not as easy as it sounds.

At the moment, we only have an 8kg and 12kg kettlebell, but as we become more confident in the routines and stronger we will be adding to our collection.

For more information, have a look at the really informative blog by Ben Greenfield.