1 Month Without Coffee

Getting the Shivers

I don’t consider myself as a big coffee drinker. However, since I started working full time I’ve been having 1-2 coffees every day during the work week and maybe one during the weekend. I found that I would have slight shivers and a rather high pulse by the end of the workday. I also felt my skin getting very dry, particularly in my face. Moreover, felt that I was becoming more and more dependent on coffee to kick start my system in the morning and afternoon. Furthermore, my quality of sleep seemed somewhat reduced, but I didn’t think much into it. After all, everyone drinks coffee, right?

coffee4Before the Christmas holidays, one of my colleagues stopped his intake of caffeine for a bit. He would normally have 6-7 cups of coffee and a bottle or two of Pepsi Max per day. When he suddenly stopped feeding himself all the caffeine he claimed that he started having bad head aches, nausea and felt irritable. After staying away from it for a while he said the head aches and nausea faded away and his mood went back to normal. He also said he had better sleeps at night.

Hearing this, I thought I might try and hold off from coffee for a month and see if I could escape the shivers, high pulse and dryness at the end of my workdays. The first week I was really caving a big cup of coffee when getting in to work. I also felt very tired throughout the day. However, it slowly wore off, and by the second week I didn’t really think about coffee that much. Interestingly, I also felt that I had more restful sleeps every night.

Other Side Effects of Coffee

Most people have a lifestyle and diet that makes the body very acidic. With high levels of stress, the brain creates adrenaline and other chemicals that produce an acidic environment in the body. Unfortunately, the Western diet mainly consists of food and drinks that creates high acidic levels in the body. With a high intake of foods containing sugar, dairy, wheat, deep fried and other Fast foods, and then flushing it down with soft drinks, coffee or alcohol,  the pH levels develops way too far into the acidic side of the scale. As my main focus in this article is coffee, I will stick to the effect of this popular drink – I will be writing a post on the balance of alkaline and acidic levls in the body shortly, so stay tuned.

Coffee can result in:

  • More acidic body (leading to more inflammation)
  • Restless sleep
  • Leach precious minerals from our systems
  • Shivers and high pulse
  • Dehydrating the body
  • Caffeine dependence
  • Bad breath
  • Discoloring of the teeth

Alternatives to Coffee

coffee3I found that being in an office working in front of a computer the whole day makes you want to have little treats quite frequently – simply because it is stagnant work. I tend to want a snack or a drink because I’m actually a bit bored and want a distraction. Coffee is the most common drink to have, and makes you feel more awake and focused at the same time. However, as mentioned; after a while off the caffeine I didn’t reach the same levels of tiredness throughout the day. I found that drinking various types of tea (my favorites are green tea, chamomile tea and chai tea with organic soy milk), coffee alternatives such as Bambu Coffee Substitute (picture), and even water was just as good.

I found that reaching for the coffee is all a habit. When the body is dehydrated by 2% of normal levels, we can perform up to 20% poorer (read more about this in “Water“), so just by restoring those levels we automatically regain energy to continue on.


Results & Discoveries

As mentioned, during the month that I didn’t drink coffee I had no shivers or high pulse when leaving work. Neither did my face feel dry. Importantly, I also fell asleep faster and had better quality sleeps every night. Another side effect of this experiment that I did not expect was the feeling of cleanness. I actually felt that my body was somewhat more pure. I don’t know whether this was because of the acidity of my body going down or as a result of better sleep or even the absence of coffee itself. Either way it felt great! As much as I appreciate the taste, smell and feeling of coffee, I’ll be aiming at having it only occasionally and fully enjoy that treat.

Below is my first coffee after a month off; can’t remember last time I enjoyed it this much! ★



Right Motivation, Left Satisfied

The Beginning

Four years ago I spontaneously signed up for Run for a Reason, a 14 km run for charity. As I registered three days before the race took place I didn’t have much time to train for it. Furthermore, I had never ran more than 6 km in one go. I have done a lot of long distance cross country skiing, but long distance runs (read: more than 5km) were rather rare. I’m quite competitive towards myself and absolutely hammered my body during the event. I did the 14 kilometres in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and told myself I would never do that race again. The fright only lasted until the soreness of my muscles disappeared a few days after the run. It turned into a desire to pick up long distance running when I discovered the Nike+ app. This was the beginning of running being a big part of my everyday life.

In 2012 I did the HBF Run for a Reason again and raised money for Cystic Fibrosis. Again I ran it in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and again I was wondering why I would put myself through the pain of it. I found strength in thinking of all the people suffering from CF and how strong they are to cope with their condition every day.

Milestone Reached Today

Today I reached 1,000 km on my Nike+ GPS app! So I’m giving myself a big tap on the shoulder and celebrating with a massive green smoothie. Well, I suppose I’ve done more kilometers as I have travelled and used other phones when going for runs. But these are my first recorded 1000 kilometers.  I have developed a great appreciation for running and try and go for 4-5 runs per week. It is like meditation to me. I clear my head of all stress generated throughout the day and enjoy having quality me-time. If I’m ever angry or upset I’d go for a run, and by the time I’ve done the first 3km I have generally changed my mindset and come up with a solution. I don’t even feel that I’m running – its like my legs are on autopilot and my mind is unleashed and flies off wherever it desires to. This is also my most creative time. I enjoy painting, creating things as well as developing business ideas, and I always get my best insights when I’m out running.


Retired: Mr Right Motivation and Miss Left Satisfied

I have to admit I feel extra encouraged to go for a run when I’ve got nice and colourful apparel. My shoes, Mr Right Motivation and Miss Left Satisfied, have served me well in that respect.  However, after more than 1,000 km around the world in all kinds of weather and conditions it’s time to trade them in for a pair of newies. I’m so grateful for getting into running and encourage everyone to give it a chance! Even if you start with short distances and keep a slow pace – something is far better than nothing! ★

I’m so thankful for all the great times I’ve had out running, and can’t wait to hit up the 2,000 km mark!


Thai Red Curry

Oh let it snow, let it snow, let it snow… well, it does not snow where I live but certainly a cold winter. I like to sit next to the fireplace, cuddled inside a blanket and sip some hot tea. Who wouldn’t like that comfort? Winter also calls in for healthy eating for me since not eating healthy is an easy choice considering the fact that its so cold outside and less walk in the parks etc unless I am committed in going to the gym, which surely am not. And winter is also a season of festivities and parties – potlucks, wines, beer and so much fun. Every year I host christmas party at my place and call family over. It really feels festive to have people around rather than being alone. Kids look forward to this party you know why, the presents. The unwrapping of each and every present gives them so much excitement and watching them unwrap brings me chills. That smile on those innocent faces is worth a million bucks!
Ok, coming back to food, now I wanted to make something quick and easy yet flavorful and healthy and kids and adults will like it. Parties should be fun and not be stressful for me so I was thinking what to make and after giving considerable thought I narrowed it down to Red Curry. It’s spicy, tasty, has tofu, tons of chunks of vegetables in a savory coconut sauce. I am so glad I made it because everyone loved it. Here is the recipe to a easy breezy recipe.


Ingredients: (For about 12 people)

– 1 Big red bell peper
– 2 Cups broccoli florets
– 2 medium size carrots
– 1/2 extra firm tofu
– 2 medium size zucchini
– 1 8oz. can baby corn
– 10 String beans
– Thai Red Curry paste (Mae Ploy or Thai Kitchen brand)
– 14 oz light coconut milk
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– Salt per taste
– 4 cups rice



Wash and chop all vegetable in big chunks, say about 2 inch pieces. In a wok, heat oil, then add the vegetables except zucchini. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add about 1 tbsp of red curry paste, sauté for about 2 minutes. Now add the coconut milk, bring it to a boil, simmer, cover and let it cook until 3/4th done. Now add the zucchini, let it cook. Add salt, taste and add more curry paste as per your taste. Before turning off the stove, add tofu, mix and cover it with a lid. Just before your guests arrive, turn on your rice in the rice cooker so that you can serve it hot with the scrumptious thai red curry.




Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Lemon

medicinalLemon is low in calories, carbohydrates and hardly contains any fat.  It is an acidic fruit, containing about 8% citric acid, but when ingested it turns highly alkaline with pH 9.5. Lemon is therefore an excellent contributor to keeping the body’s optimum alkaline state. Our general diet is highly acidic, which can cause wrinkles, dry skin, joint stiffness, fatigue and bone loss. It is therefore important to balance it out with alkaline foods to assist slowing and reversing of these ageing problems. Operating in an alkaline state makes every system in the body work at its highest performance level, and your overall wellbeing is improved.

Further to being very alkaline, lemon is also an excellent source of vitamin C. Additionally it contains vitamin A, various vitamin B and calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Adding lemon to the daily diet stimulates the production of enzymes and digestive juices, enhancing the absorption of iron ad calcium.

Lemon’s Youthing Benefits

  • Speedy skin repair – The high vitamin C content aids repair, which naturally slows with age. Vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen (the essential protein that keeps the skin looking young). The Vitamin C is also an excellent immune system booster.
  • Improving digestion – stimulates the digestive juices, which reduce bloating, heartburn, nausea, constipation as well as other digestive issues that increase with age
  • Helps lose weight – research has found that a diet high in vitamin C have better digestive systems, resulting in easier weight regulation
  • Can reduce sugar cravings – pectin (natural fiber in lemon skin) slows down the absorption of glucose and balancing blood sugar levels. Also, studies has actually shown that pectin can make you feel full up to 4 hours!
  • Helps prevent broken veins – the bioflavonoids increase blood flow & circulations (bye cold feet & hands!)
  • Improving bones & joints – high calcium content for the bones and vitamin C assists the development of collagen.
  • Lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Detoxing the body – improving the cleansing function of the liver and pancreas
  • Good anti-inflammatory – having diuretic properties, lemon assists the body in removing excess water retention, which reduces swelling

Tips for Buying Lemons

The thin-skinned but heavy ones contain more juice – which is what you want. Buy organic if possible to avoid the pesticides and other toxins. If you’re planning on using the skin, make sure to buy the ones that are organic and un-waxed.

Uses of Lemon in the Diet:

  • Juices & smoothies
  • Drinks (in teas, water etc.)
  • Dressings and sauces
  • With mains (e.g., seafood)
  • On salads
  • With fruit (also to keep apples from going brown)

Lemon Recipes

Lemon Coconut Squares

medicinal 2

  • 2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp of really good vanilla (powder or extract)
  • 2 tbsp of coconut nectar

1) Place all of the ingredients into your food processor and whiz away for about a minute… you want the mixture to appear creamy.
2) Press the mixture down tightly into a parchment lined loaf pan (or something similar in size) and toss it into the freezer for at least an hour…makes it easier to cut them into squares.
3) Remove the pan from the freezer once they’ve hardened and slice.
Note:  if you run a knife under hot water and wipe it dry, the yumminess will slice clean and smooth.

lemon 3

Raw Lemon Curd

medicinal 2

  • 1/3 cup cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 3-4 tbsp raw agave nectar, to taste
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of turmeric, for color (optional)

Drain and rinse cashews. Place in a food processor or Vitamix blender. Add coconut butter, lemon juice, and water. Blend until completely smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined.

lemon 2

Nutritional Values of Lemon

Nutrient Value pr 100g
Energy 29 kcal
Protein 1.1 g
Fat 0.3 g
Carbohydrate 9.3. g
Fiber 2.8 g
Sugar 2.5 g
Water 89 g
Calcium 26 mg
Iron 0.6 mg
Magnesium 8 mg
Phosphorus 16 mg
Potassium 138 mg
Sodium 2 mg
Zinc 0.06 mg
Vitamin C 53 mg
Thiamin 0.04 mg
Riboflavin 0.02 mg
Niacin 0.1 mg
Vitamin B6 0.08 mg
Folate 11 µg
Vitamin A, RAE 1 µg
Vitamin A, IU 22 IU
Vitamin E 0.15 mg
Saturated fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated 0.01 g
Polyunsaturated 0.09 g


Peyton-Jones, Elizabeth (2011) “Eat Yourself Young”. Quadrille Publishing Limited.



What is Beetroot

Beetroot, or beets, is a root vegetable with a strong purple/red colour. It is a great source of potassium and folic acid. Beetroot is very low in calories and contains almost no fat. It is considered to be one of the best vegetables to stay youthful and healthy as it assist the body’s ongoing process of cell division and DNA repair.  Most people only use the root, but the leaves attached to it are rich in vitamin K, folate, magnesium and fiber and should be utilized too.

Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Beetroot

medicinalThree Way Detoxer

1. The red pigments called betalain has unique detox benefits as they are highly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and extremely efficient at neutralizing toxins.

2. The high fibre content in beetroot is important for immune enhancing and detoxing. Around 70% of the body’s immune system is located in the gut, and evidence shows that eating beetroot causes changes in the intestinal flora. This has a positive impact on the immune health.

3. Beetroot is a great source of betaine, which is a liver protecting nutrient. The pigments are known to raise antioxidant enzymes in the liver.When your liver is functioning well, the body is able to get rid of toxins and  result in higher energy levels and weight loss being to achieve.


Betanin fights free radicals, which make this root vegetable essential for heart health. Many experts believes that the damage from free radicals is the underlying mechanism of aging itself. Betanin has also been proven to inhibit the growth of breast, stomach, colon, lung, and nervous-system tumor cells. Beetroot is also proven to prevent birth defects.

Experts claims that damage from free radicals is the underlying mechanism of aging itself

Other benefits of beetroot includes lowering LDL cholesterol as a result of the folate content. Moreover, beetroot has a very high content of folic acid – one of the most youthing vitamins (yet this is the world’s most common vitamin deficiency!) Folic acid is crucial for the body’s ongoing process of cell division and DNA repair.

Improve Stamina

Studies shows that the body can exercise for up to 16% longer before getting tired if you drink a large glass of beetroot juice (500ml) per day. You can therefore get fitter more quickly and stay at that level more easily. This is due to the fact that beetroot lower the resting heartbeat and significantly lowers blood pressure for up to 24 hours after intake.

Reduce Sugar cravings

Another great benefit is that eating beetroot and other sweet root vegetables helps calm sugar cravings.

Beetroots Youthing Benefits

  • Aids memory and decreases the risk of dementia by bringing blood to the brain
  • Aids weight loss thanks to its detox properties
  • Deminishes skin-related aging such as wrinkles and liver spots
  • Improves vision by increasing the oxidative supply to the retina
  • Increases regularity of bowel movements and the balance of intestinal flora
  • Increases stamnia and vitality
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol

Folk Medicine Remedy

Beetroot is used in folk medicine as a blood stimulant gastritis, piles and constipation; mildly cardio-tonic. Resent studies has proven that having at least one glass of raw beetroot juice a day helps control cancer. This is because it oxidises the blood, which makes it hard for cancer cells to live. It is also said to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol as well as detoxing the body.


The sap stains very severely and is hard to remove from clothing and skin. It can also colour your urine, but this is nothing to worry about.

Beetroot Recipes

Blueberry-Beet Smoothie

medicinal 2The night before you start the cleanse, prepare two beets: Wrap each beet in foil, and roast in a 200°C oven 1 hour, or until tender. Remove from oven. As soon as beets are cool enough to handle, remove foil, slip off and discard skin, and slice beets in half. Stash beets in the refrigerator for smoothies throughout the cleanse (you’ll have enough beets for three breakfasts and one snack smoothie). You can also make it with raw beetroot – this retains more nutrients in the vegetable. Makes 1 smoothie.

  • ½ medium roasted beet (4 oz.)
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup nut, oat, rice, or hemp milk, or water
  • ¼ avocado, cubed
  • ½ Tbs. lime juice
  • Raw honey to taste, optional
  • 2 ice cubes

1. Cut 1/2 beet into large chunks.

2. Transfer beet chunks to blender, and add all remaining ingredients; blend on high until smooth.

beet 3

Beet-and-Lentil Hummus

medicinal 2Makes 1 1/2 cups. Serve this colorful hummus with raw vegetables, such as carrot or celery sticks, red bell pepper, cucumber, or broccoli.
  • ½ cup black beluga lentils, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 2 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbs. tahini paste
  • 2 Tbs. cold-pressed olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

1. Drain and rinse soaked lentils. Bring lentils, beets, and 1 cup water to a boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.

2. Drop garlic into food processor while running to finely chop. Add tahini, oil, lemon juice, zest, and salt; process until creamy. Add lentils and beets, and blend on high until smooth. Season to taste.

beet 2

Nutritional Values of Beetroot 

Nutrient Value pr 100g
Energy 43 kcal
Protein 1.61 g
Fat 0.17 g
Carbohydrate 9.56 g
Fiber 2.8 g
Calcium 16 mg
Iron 0.8 mg
Magnesium 23 mg
Phosphorus 40.3 mg
Potassium 325 mg
Sodium 78 mg
Zinc 0.35 mg
Copper 0.08
Magnese 0.3
Selenium 1 µg
Vitamin C 4.9 mg
Thiamin 0.03 mg
Riboflavin 0.06 mg
Niacin 0.33 mg
Vitamin B6 0.9 mg
Folate 109 µg
Vitamin A  33 IU
Vitamin E 0.04 mg
Vitamin K 1.2 µg
Saturated fat 0.03 g
Monounsaturated 0.03 g
Polyunsaturated 0.06 g


Manheim, Jason (2011) “The healthy green drink diet”. Skyhorse Publishing

Yeager, Selene (2007) “The doctors book of food remedies”. Rodale

Peyton-Jones, Elizabeth (2011) “Eat Yourself Young”. Quadrille Publishing Ltd



Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

What is a Vegetarian and Vegan Diet?

Although there are many variations of vegetarian diets, they all base their diets on foods of plant origin, but there are different levels of vegetarianism according to how much food derived from animals is also eaten. The groups can generally be split into 5 major categories:

  1. ‘Semi vegetarian’ eats poultry and/or fish, dairy foods and eggs, but no red meat;
  2. ‘Lacto vegetarian’ consumes dairy foods but no meat, poultry, fish or eggs;
  3.  ’Lacto-ovo vegetarian’ includes dairy foods and eggs, but no meat, poultry or fish;
  4. Pescetarian’ includes fish and other seafood, but no meat or poultry (while eggs and/or dairy foods may or may not be eaten); and
  5. A ‘vegan’ eats only foods of plant origin.

There are also some extreme forms of vegetarianism, like ‘fruitarians’ that eat nothing requiring a living organism to be killed, restricting their diet to fruits, nuts, honey and olive oil.

Why Go Vegetarian or Vegan?

Many people are vegetarians as a result of religious beliefs and some because they don’t want to support animals suffering. A lot of people also chose to not eat red meat as a result of research that links red meat consumption and health issues. Heart diseases and high cholesterol levels are two examples.

Vegans would almost certainly agree with the moral argument but would probably add that, unlike milk and eggs, plants contain no cholesterol and most plant foods have little ‘saturated fat‘ (a type of fat that is associated with increased risk of heart disease). But it is worth noting that coconut oil and palm oil are exceptions, in that most of the fat from these plant foods is saturated. However, please stay as far away as possible from palm oil as this breeds highly unethical behaviour against wild life (google or youtube it if you need more insight).

Arguments for a vegetarian diet are the higher levels of many vitamins, fibre, antioxidants and other substances that are of nutritional benefit in foods of plant origin.

Many vegetarians believe that, in addition to health benefits and moral considerations, there is also reduced environmental degradation (i.e. increased sustainability) associated with vegetarianism.

Do I Get All the Necessary Nutrients With a Vegetarian Diet?

Vegetarian diets, when properly planned, have been consistently found to provide the full range of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre necessary for optimal nutritional status.

However, vegetarian diets can lead to low iron status. Vegetarian teenage girls and women of child-bearing age are particularly at risk of iron-deficiency anaemia because red meat a good source of iron. Combining a source of vitamin C (such as fruit or fruit juice) with wheat-based cereal foods will increase the absorption of the iron available in the cereal. Eggs, legumes (a term that includes peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, soy foods) and nuts are also significant sources of iron.

Do I Get Enough Nutrients With a Vegan diet?

A well-planned vegan diet can meet all nutritional requirements. However, some are at risk of developing B12 deficiency unless special effort is made to eat foods with this vitamin, or a vitamin supplement is taken. Although any diet that fails to address healthy eating principles can be deficient in essential nutrients, vegans may need to be especially cautious with their eating habits with regard to nutrients such as iron, calcium, zinc, iodine, selenium and omega-3 fats.

These nutrients can still be absorbed via supplementation. Supplement vendors like GNC, the Vitamin Shoppe, local grocery stores or online vendors such as Powder City provide the aforementioned nutrients in supplement form. It is most cost effective to purchase your supplements in bulk powder form.

Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods, and studies have shown that both vegetarians and vegans generally have lower levels of vitamin B12 than do omnivores.  While it can take many years to become deficient, anyone following a vegan diet who doesn’t include a reliable source of vitamin B12 is at risk of becoming deficient over time.  If you follow a vegan diet (or you are vegetarian but don’t eat many dairy foods or eggs) you should either take a vitamin B12 supplement or include foods fortified with vitamin B12 in your diet regularly. This is particularly important for pregnant and breastfeeding women, to reduce the risk of deficiency in their babies.

If you’re tired of getting ripped off for vitamins and supplements from your local grocery or department stores, affordable and high quality supplements are at online retailers like Powder City or Hard Rhino. Their customer service is top notch and they offer free shipping to orders over $25.

Do I Get Enough Protein on a Vegetarian or Vegan diet?

One of the first things that stops people from going vegetarian or vegan is that they think their only source of protein is meat. Grain foods, legumes, potatoes, seeds and nuts are good sources of protein. Pepitas seeds are a good source – 36.7% of its weight is actually protein!

Although vegetarians and vegans have to make an effort to get enough of certain vitamins, is fair to say that vegetarians in Western nations often eat a diet that is closer to the recommended pattern of food intake. Vegetarian diets include higher intakes of cereal foods, vegetables (including legumes) and fruits—and therefore of dietary fibre—with lower intakes of fat  (particularly saturated fat) and salt.

Vegetarians in Western countries experience significantly less cancer, less heart disease, fewer strokes and generally live longer

What are the Benefits of Being on a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet?

medicinalThere is substantial evidence supporting that vegetarians in Western countries experience significantly less cancer, less heart disease, fewer strokes, and generally live longer than omnivores. Studies has shown that higher intake of beneficial dietary factors—available only in foods of plant origin— explains the better overall health of vegetarians.

Much research is still needed to determine the optimal diet for health and longevity (living to a ‘ripe old age’). Some nutritionists believe that a predominantly vegetarian diet, with low-moderate quantities of lean meat and moderate quantities of low- or reduced-fat dairy products will produce the best long-term health outcome. However, it is still true that strict vegetarianism (particularly the lacto and lacto-ovo varieties) is associated with better health outcome than an omnivorous diet.