Kimchi and the gut

Dansk version Kimchi

Hello 🙂 I hope you are all having a beautiful summer.. Wow it’s been a while, but I have been so busy being in love that I couldn’t figure out doing anything online.. I am still in love, but as things are right now I have time again.. So let’s get right to it..

Todays subject is kimchi. Well actually todays subject is bacterias. But kimchi has a part in that discussion.

I’ll get back to kimchi in a little bit, first I want to talk about your internal best friends: The good gut bacterias.

You must have heard about your pretty amazing gut bacterias – everybody have been talking about it the last couple of years. How important they are for your health, your immune system, your digestion and how you feel in general.

Just a couple of fun facts about these tiny cells living inside you:

  • You have approx 2 kg of gut bacterias – that’s quit a lot of bacterias.
  • Actually you have 10 times more bacterias in your body than you have of your own human cells – you can argue that you are just a host for all these bacterias.
  • The more the merrier: When your gut is full of the friendly bacterias, there are no room for the bad bacterias, those bacterias that makes you sick with vomit, diarre and stomach pain, just to mention a few.

 

Considering how many you have, it kind of makes sense that you want to stay good friends with them. Which is actually pretty easy. Just feed them the right food, and avoid things that will kill them – then they are happy and when they are happy, you are definitely also (at least more) happy.

Things that kill the good bacterias are  e.g. antibiotics, alcohol, pesticide leftover from food and water and processed food with refined sugar.

Very roughly you can divide the good food for the bacterias into prebiotics and probiotics.

Prebiotics are “food” for the bacterias, or substances that induce growth and activity of the microbes. These are the non-digestable fiber compounds that pass undigested through your upper gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the bacterias that live in the large intestine (the colon). You will find these non-digestable fibers in any vegetable. This in one of the reasons why fibers are SO important in your diet. Your army of healthy and strong bacterias live of them, and as I mentioned before: STAY GOOD FRIENDS WITH THEM.. So next time you eat, invite them to a dinner full of veggies. E.g these very healthy vietnamese spring rolls with the most awesome dip in the world ;).

Maybe you wonder how preparation of food will alter the prebiotic content. It is not completely figured out, but it is fair to assume that at least some of the prebiotics will be lost in the process of cooking. So the more gentle you cook your food, the better for the prebiotics, at least very possibly. That doesn’t mean that you have to go all raw, as with almost anything in life a balance is the healthiest way to live. So vary your diet and eat both cooked and raw vegetables.

Probiotics are living microorganisms in itself – so these you eat to add more of the healthy microbes. Actually you can say that the prebiotics are food for the probiotics.. You can buy probiotics as a supplement, both as pills or powder. But my gut (aka my bacterias 😉 ) tells me that real food is always a better choice than a chemical. Having said that, sometimes you may need supplements if your body is out of balance, just always think of them as what they are: Supplements to a varied healhty diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Foods full of probiotics are: kombucha (fermented tea – really delicious, it is sparkling and super fresh), yoghurt (well maybe not full of bacterias, but it does definitely have some, and if you drink and eat animal products it is a much better and healthier choice than milk), miso, tempeh, sourkraut and kimchi (fermented kale and vegetables).

So this is where kimchi comes into the picture. Even the name sounds like something you want to try right? It is really healthy and good; it is spicy and sour and you can use it to spice up almost any salad, and a lot of cooked dishes too. On top of that it is super easy and cheap to make.. And this is the recipe I will share with you today

Kimchi – a Korean health booster

1 big glas jar

  • 1 organic white cabbage (save the 1 or 2 outermost layers)
  • ½ organic chinese cabbage
  • 4 big organic carots
  • 10 organic radishes
  • 1-2 tbsp sea salt

These are the vegetables I used. But I believe you can use what ever kind of cabbage, carrot, beet, radishes you have at home. Or add spices, that is another experiment for me too though.IMG_5241

Cut all the vegetables finely in a big bowl.

 

 

 

 

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Add salt, but start with one tbsp. Now start massaging the veggies with the salt until the juice starts to come out and the cabbage starts to soften. Keep massaging for about 5 minutes. You need to get enough juice to cover the veggies when you press them down. If you don’t get enough juice, try to add another tbsp. of salt and massage another 5 minutes.

 

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Now it needs to be under pressure for an hour or so, I made this arrangement. This is to make sure that you get enough juice – yes it is all about the juices. If it still isn’t covered with juice after an hour, then add more salt and massage a little more.

Be creative, just make sure it is covered in juice.

 

In the mean time you can boil a big glas jar to make sure it is clean. Now go watch some amazing human beings doing amazing things in the Olympic Games.

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After an hour you put all the veggies and all the juice in the glas jar.

Again, you need to make sure that everything is covered in juice, or it will rodden because of the contact with air – believe me I tried it, NOT delicious. On top of this beauty you place the outermost layers of the cabbage to make sure everything is covered in juice. If there is too much space in the jaw you can put more layers of cabbage, you can use a glass or a plate or whatever fits to keep the veggies under pressure and juice. Now close the jar and leave it on the kitchen table (or where ever you want, just not direct sunlight and not in the fridge) for 2-4 days for the bacterias to do their magic. Look at it daily, you will see bobbles as a sign of life :).

Vegetables are covered with good and healthy lactobacillus – fanzy word for a speciel type of the good bacterias. Now these active workers will start to ferment the sugars in the vegetable into lactic acid, which gives it its characteristic sour smell and taste.

After a few days (2-4 depending on room temperature) the process is done and you can take out the extra layers of cabbage. After this keep it in the fridge.

The taste in itself is sour, fresh and a little salty, for some it is a little “hard to handle” (I like it though), but if you use a spoonful (two if you ask my boyfriend) it spices up almost any salat, sandwich, pizza, cooked dish, pasta or whatever. Try it, you wont regret it. It keeps in the fridge at least a couple of weeks (that’s the longest one jar has been in my kitchen). You can even use it as a gift for the gut bacterias of a loved one.

 

Enjoy your day and eat the greens

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The protein-obsessed-era

For a Danish version: Proteiner

I am really new to veganism, but I already get a lot of questions about what I eat. And one very common question is: where do you get your proteins? I guess many of you vegans out there have had the same experience.

Actually this question also concerned me the most when I stopped eating meat. So in the beginning I would make sure that I had one protein shake every day and that I always had chickpea hummus in my fridge. But the question and fear of not getting enough protein made me do a lot of research, and what I discovered was a big eye-opener for me.

We live in a very protein focused world. On a daily basis we are told that we need our proteins and that meat is the best source. We find advertisements everywhere with protein powder, protein bars and protein shakes. “Eat proteins and gain muscles”. A lot of people actually think that THIS is why we need proteins, to build up muscle and strength. But what is it exactly about protein that is so important? Is it really only to get muscles? What is protein altogether? And from where do we get our proteins?

First I want to make one thing clear. We eat food. Not isolated nutrients like proteins, fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates etc. Food is a package deal. Along with the proteins from meat you ALSO get saturated fat and cholesterol, both bad for you. Along with proteins from plants you DON’T get any cholesterol or saturated fat (few exeptions), instead you get fibers, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, all good for you. I think we should start to look more at the whole picture, and not just one single item, because the interactions between what we eat and what happens in the body are so complex, so I repeat: food is a package deal. Some packages are really good, some you simply would want to avoid.

Anyways, back to the proteins. Proteins are build of chains of amino acids. There are hundreds of different types of amino acids, but the proteins that the human beings build are made out of 21 different amino acids, combined in chains in different lengths and combinations. Of these 21 amino acids, 9 are said to be essential, which means that our body cannot make them, so we have to get them through what we eat, the remaining 12 amino acids we can build ourselves. Proteins have so many more roles in our body than just to build up muscle. They are vital for us, without proteins our body simply could not work. Every protein has its own job. They do everything from transportation of molecules, communication with other cells and the make-up of tissues (e.g. muscle). Some of our hormones, like insulin and growth factor, are also build of proteins. Antibodies (which are part of our immune system) are proteins too. Just to mention a few examples.

So without a doubt we need amino acids to build proteins to maintain all these important functions in our body. The problem with the proteins we eat, e.g. from meat, is that we cannot just reuse the proteins. It goes like this: when you eat a piece of beef your digestive system immediately starts to break this beef down into proteins, water and fat (the main components of meat). Then the proteins are broken down into amino acids. Now the body absorb the amino acids so it can start rebuilding its own proteins from them. It is actually pretty hard work for your body to break down this heavy meat to get the important amino acids, even if it does it without complaining. And the amino acids are not the same quality after they have been used to make meat one time. So here you are, after eating the meat, using a lot of energy to get building blocks in a lower quality than you could actually wish for.

The good news are that all  – and I repeat ALL – plant based whole foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains) contain proteins. And they don’t come in hard-digestible proteins. They come like pure, unspoiled amino acids. New and high quality building blocks, really easy for your body to use. The content of proteins vary, you will find a list of good sources of plant proteins further down.

A general misunderstanding refers to the term “complete” protein. That a protein is complete means that you get all 9 essential amino acids in a balanced amount from one protein source. Animal products, like beef, poultry, milk and eggs are “complete” proteins, and yes plant proteins are “incomplete” (except maybe quinoa, but there seems to be some confusion on this one). Well, since “complete” sounds better than “incomplete”, you might think that proteins from animals are better than proteins from plants. But so much research now show that you don’t need every single essential amino acid in every single bite in every single meal during the day. Your body is super intelligent and it takes what it needs and what it lacks every time you eat, and if you just get all the essential amino acids during a day it can easily build up the proteins it needs. And as written above, in the package deal from the world of plants you don’t get saturated fat and cholesterol, but instead you get a lot of fibers, vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and the good fat. The key to the problem with the essential amino acids is that you need to eat a varied plant based diet. You will get a problem if you only eat chickpeas. But then again, who would want to only eat chickpeas, they are good – yes – but maybe a bit boring after a while. Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains in different colors, different textures and both raw and cooked. Every single day. Then you are good to go.

A quote from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration:

“It is a common misunderstanding, that it is difficult to get enough proteins when you eat vegetarian. The quality of proteins from plants are approximately just as good as the quality of proteins from animals, as long as you eat different types of plants during the day”.

All right, so far so good. But if you are just a little like me, maybe more questions are coming now. Like how much protein do I actually need? And can I get too m
uch protein? And can I gain muscle on plant protein?

The very quick answers to these questions are: you need far less protein than you might think, and YES you can very easily get too much protein (IF the protein source is an animal product), and try to google vegan athletes and you will see that lack of muscle, strength and endurance is not an issue at all.

A quote from dr. Mikael Bitsch, chief surgeon at Copenhagen University Hospital: “Do I get enough protein? Yes, without a doubt. It is completely unproblematic. If you eat until you are satiated from a varied plant based diet, it is unavoidable that you get enough protein. And it is a big misunderstanding, when those who do a lot of fitness, think that they need at lot of extra protein. Not to speak about diets high in proteins, which can give you severe side effects and cause disease. This is confirmed by the newest science summed up by WHO that shows, that too much protein, especially protein from processed meat, increase the risk of cancer”Bønner

Soon I will post vol. 2 on the protein- problem. Here I will discuss how much proteins you actually need, and why it is potentially harmful for you to get too much proteins from animals. I will also give examples of easy ways to get enough protein on a plantbased diet.

Somehow some people get very provoked when the subject “proteins” is discussed.  You can see in their eyes that they want to yell at me: “Don’t you dare to touch my Friday steak!” and “Oh my god, these annoying vegans are so judgmental”. And here I haven’t even started talking about animal rights or the environmental problems with the industry of the animal products ;). I really don’t try to make anybody feel bad about what they do, and I don’t have the truth. We are all different individual beings on our individual journeys. I simply want to deliver science based facts and my considerations. Then it is up to you to act upon it. Let us not judge each other. We are all free to choose what makes sense to us. You are free to eat what you want and I am free to write what I want. I just honestly hope, that what I write will make you consider choosing something else.

If you want to know more, I can recommend “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell. He looks at the diet as a cause of the western diseases like diabetes, cancer, heartdiseas, osteoporosis and more. Really good reading.

Also, on nutritionfacts.org on youtube, you will find many short videos that sum up the huge amount of science in this field. Regarding proteins I can recommend this: Do vegetarians get enough proteins?

 

Good plant sources of protein:

Beans, lentils, quinoa, chickpeas hemp seeds, tahini, oats, seeds and nuts like sun flower, pumpkin and almonds. Remember, you find proteins in all plants also broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms etc, just in smaller amounts.

 

Now there is only one thing left to say. Enjoy, and eat the greens.

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade 2-ingredient sunscreen

For many years I have tried to bring down the chemicals I bring into my life. For the most part it means buyng organic, as little processed food as possible, and not putting too many weird things on my skin.

I don’t use many products in my daily life, never have, it’s mostly shampoo, bodyoil, deodorant, few things for my hair (rarely though, but I do have them). Sometimes mascara if things get wild.  And I always try to buy them organic. So I thought I was doing a good thing.

But the other day I came across a really interesting danish blog, www.neohippie.dk. The girl behind is all into green and sustainable living, both regarding her and her family’s health and regarding the health of our planet. I am a huge fan, go check it out. It’s in Danish though..

But she had me rethink the use of products in my daily life. And I almost ran to my bathroom to look at the ingredients on my organic and well-chosen products. I was surprised. They are still full of ingredients impossible to pronounce. Which basically means chemicals. I mean what the f*** is Bisamino PEG/PPG-41/3 Aminoethyl PG-Propyl Dimethicone? I why am I putting it on my skin? Many of the chemicals are added to products to make them more user-friendly. Which is kind of nice. But is it worht it?

The good thing about this blog, neohippie.dk, is that she also brings solutions when you want to live a more clean life. Like, what you can use as soap, shampoo, cleaning agents and so on. It is all very simple, easy to go to for everybody, even cheap. You don’t even have to be a full-time-hippie to apply just some of these things in your life – it is for everybody..

So I started a chemical revolution in my home. Putting out all my products, reevaluating every one of them, to see which I really honestly felt I could not live without. I ended up with around 4. The rest I actually never use, and those I do I can completely excange with a natural replacement. How awesome is that????

And today I will bring you the recipe for sunscreen. I tested it! I sat 2 hours directly in the strong spring sun here in Denmark, from 12pm-2pm (very stupid, I know – it was all for the test of this product!!!!!). And YES you can very easily get a sunburn from the Danish sun. And I didn’t 🙂 not at all red anywhere on my body. Just delightfully coconutty-sweaty (yes, maybe you guessed it: The sunscreen contains coconut oil, which is actually a natural spf of 10)

It also contains tiosol, which is another natural sun filter. Buying tiosol as a product still leaves you with 5 chemicals in it, but come on – it is a lot less than the 20 I found in my usual organic sunscreen without parabens and perfume!!! Tiosol however, is not organic. But  still think it is the better option.

You can buy tiosol many places online, it comes in big and small bottles. The combination of tiosol and coconut oil give a comlete protection of both UVA and UVB rays.

 

But remember: Even though you wear sunscreen the sun still exposes you to damaging rays – so my best advice will still be: stay out of the sun between 12pm and 3 pm (when in Denmark at least, other places maybe more hours). Or cover your self up with a thin layer of clothes. At the end of the road, sun bathing at these burning hours is just not healthy. No matter how natural your sunscreen is.

Yes, you need the sun in order to get your vitamin D – but you can also get this in the morning or evening hours.

 

Here it comes. All credits to neohippie.com

 

Natural coconut sunscreen

Spf 15:

  • 25 ml of tiosolIMG_2573
  • 100 ml of organic coldpressed coconut oil

 

Spf 30:

  • 50 ml of tiosol
  • 100 ml of organic coldpressed coconut oil

 

If you do not like the smell of coconut, you can use another organic oil instead (almond oil for exampel), but I would think that the protection would be a little less then.

Melt the coconut oil over very low heat and then mix together. Be aware that coconut oil gets hard when cold, but leave the sunscreen in the sun for 2 minutes and it is all fluid again. I put it on a clean glas spray container. Just use whatever you have.

Shake well before use to combine the two ingredients well.

 

It’s even cheap, it costed me 65 dkr (around 9,5 dollars) to make 100 ml of sunscreen. And it took me 5 minutes. Maximum. I am a fan!

 

Thats is. Enjoy the smell and the sun 🙂 and eat the greens!

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