Collagen - Why You Need To Take It? How To Choose The Best? How to Increase Bio-availability?

Hi friends! Hope you’re enjoying a golden autumn as we do here in Denmark.

We've survived bone broth craze, and now is the time to transition to collagen powders.

If both bone broth and collagen sound like something very funky and artificial - stay with me to learn more.

I was raised eating bone broth almost every day from the very early age. In Serbia, where I’m originally from, lunch is the main meal (hopefully it’ll stay that way), where we get to eat bone broth (yes, we actually eat it as a bowl of soup mixed with veggies) before having the main dish. Looking back - I am so grateful for that. In Serbian cuisine, foods rich in collagen and probiotics are the staples - (that’s why people have the most beautiful skin that’s bursting with vitality). You can easily spot ordinary women in their 50s with almost no wrinkles.

Admittedly, I haven’t been making bone broth for quite some time. You know, million excuses. Then I found out about collagen powder. As my requirements for a processed food are not only high, but sky high, it wasn’t that hard to filter out the majority of the brands and find those that make the best products. I looked for organic, pasture raised, pure, unflavoured and easy to assimilate collagen powder with low molecular weight, so it doesn’t clump in cold, warm or hot liquids. On top of it, our bodies absorb hydrolyzed collagen more efficiently.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein. It’s a building block of our bodies found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system, and tendons. Collagen gives your skin elasticity and glues your joints and ligaments. Vitamin C supports collagen synthesis in the body. On the other hand, stress, sugar, and generally poor diet deplete collagen from the body.

If you feel that your face is losing elasticity - try using good quality collagen powder. Don’t forget to supplement with vitamin C or to bring more foods rich in vitamin C into your diet.

Is collagen good only for skin?

Nope! It has a wide variety of uses. It improves skin & hair, strengthens teeth and nails, repairs joints, helps with leaky gut, boosts metabolism and reduces cellulite and stretch marks (I’ll get you informed on that one as I have both). Moreover, collagen helps with detoxing the liver. My favorite cleanse is not a juice cleanse, nor a smoothie cleanse, but a warm bone broth cleanse, that I sometimes do during the winter.

You can place collagen in your coffee, tea, juice, smoothie, cacao, pancakes, muffins, you name it. This time, I experimented by placing collagen directly into my water bottle. I am committed to simplify my life to the bits, so I made it super convenient. And guess what - it turns out to be divinely tasty.

I place a few blueberries into the concoction, shake my bottle and end up having the simplest, energizing and delicious drink for the whole day.

Here are my 3 superfood ideas on how to make superfood collagen waters and get your well-deserved glow back.

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1. Grapefruit and Rosemary Collagen Water

2. Camu Camu and Blackberry Collagen Water

3. Moringa and Lemon Collagen Water


Now, whatever feels overwhelming from this list - take it out. If there is no time to infuse your water, forget about it. Mix the water and collagen only and go. The idea is to make it simple, not to overcomplicate it.

However, little creativity is always an excellent way to spice up your life.

Don’t forget to tag me on your Instagram photo when you make some of these recipes. My handle is @healthy.atelier.

Always remember to DO SIMPLE BETTER I guarantee that going back to basics and perfecting what you already know is more effective then embracing million new things.

Much love,

Marija

Blueberry Crumble for a Chilly Autumn Mornings

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September is here. In my world - it’s a perfect time for a new beginning. Even tho the kids in Denmark start school in August, the memory of my childhood is still sharp - the smell of the new notebooks and freshly organized drawers at the beginning of each September, is still one of my favorite memories. I am proud to say that my boys had finished the last year, just as the previous year with zero sick days. I hugely attribute that to the lifestyle and nutrition. If you think that kids can eat anything - think twice. Why would you feed your children bad foods? Instead of tending to their desires shaped by advertising of a big companies, be a guide that will help their brains, bones, muscles develop and support their rapid growth. 

As I promised to my friend, I’m going to prepare a little Eat in Copenhagen guide for her blog over the next two weeks. That will require quite a few visits to my favorite breakfast/lunch places in the city. No need to say that I am very excited about this. I’ll happily share my experiences with you throughout my social media, namely Instagram, so make sure to follow. 

On the other note, another friend from Serbia was curious to learn about the life in Denmark, so we partnered to make a blog post that would help her audience to better understand the famous Danish living concept called “hygge.” 

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Today I share my favorite recipe for a delicious and healthy Blueberry Crumble Cake that you can re-create in your kitchen, and make September weekend mornings delicious and “hyggeligt."

Blueberry Crumble Cake - Recipe (4 persons)

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Ingredients:
* 400 gr blueberries
* 1 cup sunflower seeds
* 1 cup almonds
* 1 cup oats (or another cup almonds/walnuts/pecans for grain free version)
* pinch of salt
* 6 tbsp maple syrup
* 3 tbsp coconut oil
* 1 tbsp cinnamon + a bit more to sprinkle on top of blueberries
* 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
* 1/2 cup greek or coconut yogurt (optional) 

Method:

Turn the oven to 180 degrees. 

Place sunflower seeds, almonds, and oats in food processor and add a pinch of salt. Blend until you get a fine meal. Transfer it to the separate bowl. 

Place coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla in a small pot over low heat and melt them together. 

Put the wet ingredients over the meal, and work the dough with your hands until it becomes sticky. 

Rinse the berries, put them in a baking dish, and dust them with a little cinnamon.  Pour the crumble filling evenly over the blueberries.

Bake it in the oven for around 20-30 minutes, or until the crumble becomes golden. Take the dish out, and let it crisp. Optionally add a dollop of yogurt to balance out the tastes. 

Enjoy and remember to DO SIMPLE BETTER!

Much love and regards from Copenhagen,

Marija xoxo

 

Hygge-Friendly Sunflower Choc-Chip Cookies

Rainy day calls for some hygge. And hygge calls for some deliciousness to invite coziness in your life and to relax your nervous system. 

I believe that we don’t need food to make us feel good on the inside, but if you decide to curl up with some good book and a cup of tea, I suggest that instead of reaching for a store-bought cookies, you gently walk to your kitchen, turn the music on, and spend 20 minutes in a creative flow making these beautiful, healthy choc-chip cookies.

These are vegan and vegetarian friendly, refine sugar and grain free. 

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Ingredients:

1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp carob/cacao powder (optional)
3 tbsp cacao nibs (or 4 squares of super dark chocolate finely chopped - 80% cacao)
2 heaped tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp maca powder (optional)

Method: 

Blend sunflower seeds and salt until you get the fine meal. Put it in the mixing bowl with other dry ingredients and give it a good stir. Put coconut oil and maple syrup and make a sticky dough. 

Roll into the balls using a tablespoon as a measure for each ball. 

Cover the baking tray with parchment paper, and press each ball with fingers to flatten. Bake at 170 degrees until golden. 

Take them out of the oven and let them cool to crisp up. 

ENJOY!

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Expand your knowledge

What is carob good for?

Carob is coming from the carob tree, belonging to the pea family and is native to the eastern Mediterranean region. It can help alleviate diarrhea, lower high cholesterol, combat obesity, manage blood sugar and provide you with some minerals. Carob is used as a cacao substitute especially for children that find cacao bitter in flavor. 

What is maca good for? 

Maca is suitable both for women and men. It is rich in antioxidants, enhances energy, mood, and memory, improves female sexual health, balances estrogen levels and boosts male fertility. It’s considered adaptogen as it helps the body recover from the stressors like busy life, demanding job or different traumas. 

 

Greenify Your Summer Without Drinking Green Smoothies

(Scroll down for recipes)

Digesting a green smoothie can feel as digesting the whole cow. 

I love green smoothies. Silky, smooth, tasty, bursting with chlorophyll and the full range of phytonutrients. They are so convenient to take all your daily greens, herbs, protein/collagen, all in one.  

Nevertheless, to my own surprise, I’ve felt massive resistance to smoothies for the whole summer. Without being too descriptive here, let me put it simply: I cannot imagine starting a day with a cold green smoothie, as I’m going to suffer the stomach ache for the next three hours. At least. Even tho my skin glows when I’m regular with my miraculous green drink, I chose to respect WHAT MY BODY IS TELLING ME. 

Misinterpreting your body’s signs is easy. If you feel the similar way,  it doesn’t mean that you should stop eating greens. It might be that your body doesn’t want RAW GREENS. And that’s fine.

Don’t let the wellness influencers, nutritionists, and health coaches make you feel inadequate and out of your own wellness game. The real wellness advocates will NEVER EVER impose their philosophy on you. They will encourage you to find your way! Yes, it doesn’t sell that good because everyone wants a “pill” for every “ill," but that is just the wrong way of doing things and I know that deep down you know that. 

You have all you need to learn what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. Begin with a food journal, radical honesty with yourself, and some mindfulness. Write down  what did you eat for each meal and how did you feel both physically and emotionally. 

There is no such thing that would always fit everybody. If you still believe the opposite, you’ll probably spend a fortune on somebody else’s idea of healthy. In other words, a perfectly styled Instagram photo with a green smoothie in my hand may mean nothing to you, or everything to you. You decide based on your beliefs.

Now, ask yourself - would a glass of warm water feel better in your tummy? If yes, then try to support your digestion by cooking your food. Cooking your food can change your life - said the great Michael Pollan. Take this claim both literally and metaphorically. Become an investigator and use it to get healthier and to strengthen your relationship with yourself. 

Here are my 3 ideas on how to greenify your summer without drinking smoothies. Enjoy and feel free to tag me on your Instagram photo when you get to try them! 

 

1. Spinach and green pea pesto - vegan (goes with pasta, risotto, dressing for salads)

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Ingredients:

2 cups fresh spinach

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup (frozen) peas (covered with hot boiling water)

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Method: 

Cover a cup of peas with boiling water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Remove the water, put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until you get pesto-like consistency. Serve it warm or cold as a dip for your veggies, sauce for the pasta, or dressing for salads. 

 

2. Broccoli bombs (vegan)

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/2 cup wallnuts

1 small red onion (finely chopped)

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp olive oil

150-200 gr chopped broccoli

Method: 

1. Put seeds and the nuts in the food processor and whizz until they resemble a breadcrumbs.

2. Put all the other ingredients into food processor and blend until they form the paste. 

3. Take a spoonful and roll into ball. 

4. Refrigirate for one hour and eat them raw OR continue following the step 5 (my personal favourite)

5. Warm the oven at 180C, place the balls on the baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake until golden. For my oven it takes 20-25 minutes to make them ready, and I turn them once in the meantime. 

 

3. Asparagus with butter, lemon and sage dressing

  Ingredients:   1 bunch of asparagus  15-20 gr grass fed butter  1 lemon juice  Handful of sage leaves   Pinch of Maldon salt   Method :   1. Put the pan at the stove. Let the butter warm up at the medium heat.  2. Rinse the asparagus and cut the hard lower part.  3.  Add the sage leaves to pan and the juice of half a lemon. Let it caramelise for 1 minute.   4. Place the asparagus to the pan, toss and coat it in the butter-lemon mixture.   5. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes.  6. At the end, add the juce of another half of the lemon, sprinkle with Maldon salt and enjoy!      

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus

15-20 gr grass fed butter

1 lemon juice

Handful of sage leaves 

Pinch of Maldon salt

Method

1. Put the pan at the stove. Let the butter warm up at the medium heat.

2. Rinse the asparagus and cut the hard lower part.

3.  Add the sage leaves to pan and the juice of half a lemon. Let it caramelise for 1 minute. 

4. Place the asparagus to the pan, toss and coat it in the butter-lemon mixture. 

5. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes.

6. At the end, add the juce of another half of the lemon, sprinkle with Maldon salt and enjoy!

 

 

Anti Inflammatory Lifestyle

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You’ve probably read that chronic, low-level inflammation is the silent killer. If you're like me, it probably scared a bejesus out of you. 

I once asked my friend who is a recognized wellness expert, if we really needed to scare people to death with such messages to make a point? 

My intention with this post is to take the fear out of your mind by providing perspective. Every situation that you're in can have many different points of view, and I want to help you learn how to explore them. If you regularly read my blog, you know that I’m the girl who likes to look from a billion different points until I understand some topic. I am not ashamed to ask when I don't know, and I'm not ashamed to ask many different experts. I like it holistic.

If there was no darkness, how could we see the light? 

Let's get into nitty gritty of the inflammation.

Inflammation is important. It’s a part of the body’s normal and healthy response to injury or immune system impairment. There are different forms of inflammation: it could be visible on the skin; it could manifest as a pain in joints; or it could be a low-level, cellular inflammation. Typically, with cellular inflammation people cannot feel anything, until they have enough in-organ damage which translates to chronic disease (obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer, asthma, allergies, cancer and heart disease). 

The answer could be quite simple and accessible to EVERYBODY. The problem is - it's not very profitable for big pharma, food industry, and those who market their products and services as "revolutionary." 

If you want to focus on the anti-inflammatory diet, I suggest that you read the book called The Zone Diet, by Dr. Barry Sears. It’s by no means a diet plan (which I appreciate), quick cleanse or detox, but a compelling guide on how to create the lifestyle to live long, healthy, and disease free life.

If you're ready to put in the work - you'll understand the importance of the long-term approach and create the sustainable lifestyle.

The truth is - all the chronic diseases connect to the inflammation. Given the latest discoveries within the field of epigenetics, we know that eating the right foods and having the right lifestyle can keep our genes at bay, without exposing us to our "destiny." In other words, if you have a gene that would give you a celiac disease, it may never express itself unless poor lifestyle choices trigger it. 

Gaining weight, getting sick, aging faster - it’s all about the cellular inflammation. However, as I mentioned earlier, the inflammation is also necessary.

What switches on the inflammation?

Omega 6 fatty acids (plant oils), saturated fatty acids, trans fats, refined sugar, alcohol, food additives, low-quality dairy products, heavy metals, pollution, excess carbs, stress, feelings of hatred, toxic relationships, psychological factors.

How to switch off the inflammation?

By taking omega 3 fatty acids and polyphenols (compounds that give color to the fruits and vegetables), long walks, breathing. Drink pure water, green tea, eat blueberries, dark chocolate, wild-caught salmon, ginger, turmeric, chia, buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, oats, flax, hemp, walnuts, almonds, pomegranates, raspberries, peas, onions, squashes, lentils, beans, cinnamon, raw cacao, thyme, basil, rosemary, garlic, dark leafy greens, and kelp.

How to live life to reduce the inflammation? 

Dr. Sears says that the key is in balancing your plate. Practically, that would look like this (almost all book is summoned in a few sentences):

One-third of your plate consists of colorful vegetables, other third of the palm-sized lean protein (plant-based or animal), and the last third saved for a whole (ideally sprouted) grains which will lower your cortisol, and a dash of fat (olive oil, avocado or nuts). Avoiding refined carbohydrates is essential as they dramatically increase inflammation. Take a quality omega 3 (DHA&EPA) supplement and indulge in low sugar polyphenols (berries, leafy greens, beetroot, sweet potato).

Meditate, practice yoga, have a regular low-impact exercise.  

Be consistent with what you do. David Wolf said that it is not important how much of something you take, but how consistent you are with that. 

Whenever you feel overwhelmed, just come back to basics and Do Simple Better

Love You,
Marija

 

Should You Avoid Gluten?

By now, probably majority of the people have their own opinion about gluten. A few minutes on Google, and voila - they become experts. What I could notice is that in reality, people don't know that much.

Are you in doubt about gluten, wondering whether it's safe for you to consume it, or should you maybe start avoiding it? Do you think that you're going to solve all of your health issues by removing gluten from your diet? The noise is real, and thus, let me give you some scientific, but easy to understand hints on what is real and what is not so practical about gluten.

What is gluten? 

Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, barely. Gluten consists of gliadin and glutenin (which gives polymeric structure to make a workable dough). In the human body, gliadin brakes to peptides which bind to the human brain and act like opiates

Some of those opiates have various effects. For example, if you’re susceptible to multiple things - autism, ADD, binge eating, bipolar, depression - it could provoke those conditions. For regular consumers, it stimulates appetite on average for 400 more calories per day.  

If undigested, proteins in grains can cause intestinal permeability, better known as the leaky gut syndrome.

There has been noted a 4x increase in the Celiac disease since the 1950s. It doubled in the last 20 years. The problem with today's wheat is that it is not the same grain as we used to eat in the 60s. Chemical mutagenesis changed wheat both with x-rays, gamma rays, and other chemicals. One of the changes introduced to wheat was a gene called Glia-alpha 9, which is a gliadin protein in gluten. Your mom might tolerate warm loaves of bread and butter when she was your age, but you might experience an utterly different reaction to it.

There are three categories of the disorders caused by gluten:

1. Autoimmune - body is attacking itself in the presence of gluten (celiac disease)
2. Allergic - the immune system is attacking the allergen (undigested gluten particles)
3. Gluten sensitivity - it’s still a mystery, as it doesn’t have autoimmune nature, nor it’s allergic, but somehow it affects the body. 

How do they manifest? 

1. Celiac - more than 300 signs have been identified by now. It can be intestinal symptoms (gas, bloating), but many people get extraintestinal symptoms such as a foggy brain, slowness, achy joints, headaches, migraines, skin rashes. It’s systemic condition that affects the whole body.
2. Wheat allergy - itching, hives, swelling, loosing/shortening the breath. 
3. Gluten sensitivity - symptoms might overlap the celiac, but the majority of the people get extraintestinal symptoms, rather than intestinal symptoms.

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How to know where you stand?

There are pretty accurate testing for Celiac disease nowadays. It consists of several steps that physicians can do. Firstly, a person needs to have symptoms compatible with Celiac disease. Then physicians perform serological screening, genetic testing from saliva and biopsy of small intestines. To get accurate results, a person must eat gluten before testing.

In case that tests confirm that you don’t have celiac or wheat allergy, you can try an elimination diet. There are many options for this, and I always suggest that you liaise with professionals that have experience in doing this. 

Who's eating GF nowadays?

Gluten-free eating has become a huge trend. Many people consider this to be a healthier way of living. A fair share of the population believes that it’s a weight loss diet. The celiac disease community has driven the trend. Then the other diet trends such as low carb, paleo, raw have made their contribution as well. Hello-effect is also significant (I'm doing what my neighbor is doing) which leave us in ignorance, and uncertain of the reason why we do what we do. 

Gluten-free choices are not necessarily healthier options.

Learn how to read labels beyond GF claim. Many products contain ingredients that are detrimental to human bodies even though they have the gluten-free claim on the packaging. Some of them such as tapioca starch, rice flour, cornstarch or potato flour can raise blood sugar even higher than wheat. 

What if you have issues with gluten?

Don’t be scared. You are lucky that your body is sending you clear signals. Embark on the journey of healing and focus on repairing your gut lining. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating vegetables, fruits, lean meats. Supplement in agreement with your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor. There are whole grains that are gluten-free such as oats, brown and wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, corn, amaranth. You can also use nuts, seeds and nut flours for baking.

The most significant challenge is changing your eating habits. It can take a lot of your mental energy. I wholeheartedly suggest that you find someone to support you on this journey. It will be much more pleasant and way too less stressful. 

Put your heart and soul into it and choose the best options for yourself. Give the most significant gift to yourself and learn how to simplify your life and take the outstanding care of yourself. 

Remember, Do Simple Better! 


Choose wisely as your lifestyle becomes the set of your daily choices.

Love you,
Marija 

How To Start Your Health Journey

Hello from Miami guys! 

Let’s get it straight - the journey to health is not the journey to finding a magic pill. When I say a pill, I don’t mean a tablet only, but also a dietary theory, the best exercise plan, the best herb, the best supplement, the best ritual. If you still believe the opposite, you probably find yourself marinating in the vastness of different approaches going from one thing to the next. I reckon it’s entertaining, but it ain’t gonna give you any results.

We are all different. Moreover, you are different today then you were yesterday. The reality is - we are changing all the time. Seasons are changing; weather is changing, level of the ocean is changing. Your mood fluctuates, your sleep may vary, your stress levels go up and down, your hormones as well. It is impossible to claim that the answer is to find the one thing that would work you wonders. 

Cultivating active approach to your health is the name of the game. It’s not easy guys, but that's the way through!

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WHERE THE HACK TO START?

Start by checking in how your body feels. Do a quick head to toe body scan. Where is the tension? What do you crave? Are you tired? Are you thirsty? 

For you who read my blog, I intend to provide the freshest knowledge and the motivation to help you start your journey to living healthy lives. My philosophy is that the healthy lifestyle is a simple lifestyle. I want you to learn how to call in your intuition, to learn how to read your body’s signals, and to commit to respecting your unique body’s needs. 

Please remember that something that looks simple doesn’t always have to be easy. Your work is to become disciplined around the smallest things.

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Here's how to start rolling:

CHEW YOUR FOOD

Digestion begins in the mouth. Enzymes in your saliva start digesting your food with the first bite. By thoroughly chewing your food, your body will better assimilate nutrients, and you will slow down your eating. You’ll soon realize that you don’t need much food to feel satiated. The question is should you chew 15 times or 30 times per mouthful? Well, experts say 30, or until it becomes liquid, but for you who don’t chew thoroughly, 15 times will be a significant milestone. 

EAT MINDFULLY

I remember having lunch while responding to the email, entertaining the colleague or being focused on what the client was talking. Dinner was mostly about getting the kids to chew while I was mindlessly shoving the food into my mouth. Well, not anymore. I like to eat when I eat. Try to become aware that the fork is entering your mouth. Place your cutlery on the plate every single time while chewing that bite. Mindful eating is such a profound practice, but it takes constant practice. I guarantee that you'll achieve surprising results if you savor your food with no distractions. 

BE GRATEFUL

Are you grateful for the food in front of you? Not only that you needed to come up with the idea about what to cook, make a trip to the supermarket, prepare the food, but there had also been many other people involved in growing it, sourcing it and making it available for you. Gratefulness is about acknowledging the blessings that surround you. I've just learned from Deepak Chopra at the IIN conference here in Miami that the new study shows that keeping a daily gratitude journal lowers the inflammatory markers in heart patients. How amazing is that!

DRINK PLAIN WATER

I was walking with my boy the other day when he started to complain how hungry he felt. It was strange because he had a good meal an hour before we left. I let him stay with the feeling as we went deeper into the woods. At some point, he said: "I know, mommy. I’m not hungry at all; I’m thirsty." Many people are chronically dehydrated. Start your day with plain water without adding anything to it. It will help you flush out the toxins from your body. If you feel hungry between your meals, drink one or two large glasses of water, then check in and see if you’re genuinely hungry. 

UP YOUR VEGGIES 

You might contemplate vegan, LCHF, vegetarian, paleo regimen or something else to improve your lifestyle. Until you understand what indeed works for you and how to do it properly, I suggest that you up your veggies. As simple as that. Many vegans eat enormous amounts of sugar or plant-based crappy processed foods that are full of nasty chemicals. On the other end, a lot of people who are on LCHF diet consume very low-quality milk and nonorganic meets saturated with hormones and antibiotics. Some of the gluten-free devotees eat processed gluten-free foods, which have high glycemic starches in it. Wherever you are on your journey, you can always eat a salad with every meal. Vegetables will provide essential nutrients and minerals that will support your body and lower the cellular inflammation. 

When you master the basics, you’ll be able to enter the next level with more energy, enthusiasm and without the overwhelm.

Do Simple Better and do not hesitate to ask for help if you recognize that you’re not progressing. Remember, lifestyle is a set of choices that you make on a daily basis, so choose wisely.

Love you,
Marija

Lola's Gluten Free Seed Crackers

My friend Lola is a powerful woman, a mother, a wife, a lovely friend and a very mindful and insightful person. I first met her on the tennis court, where I noticed her profound presence, sharp focus, and the kick-ass forehand to be honest :)

She called me the other day to take a stroll in the woods, and what was to be just a walk, turned into a most beautiful, soulful and expanding conversation. 

Every time a meet this woman she (without an intention to do so) teaches me a new life lesson. She is a devoted and experienced meditator, and I hope she’d say yes to be a guest on my blog (and soon to launch YT channel), to teach us all the secret of meditating. 

Knowing about my challenge with the measurements in the recipes (I talked about it on my Instagram the other day), Lola agreed that I could share her A-M-A-Z-I-N-G gluten-free crackers. In Denmark, this recipe is called grovkiks, but instead of the original recipe, you guys are up for some upgraded (and much healthier) version here. 

All my dinner parties cannot go without these crackers! I combine them with different dips like guacamole, hummus (various kinds), baba ganoush, labneh, etc. 

Thank You, Lola! 

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Ingredients:
1 dl (100 ml) of sesame seeds
1 dl sunflower seeds
1 dl linseeds
1 dl pumpkin seeds
1 dl millet flakes, or rice flakes or quinoa flakes
1 1/2 dl cornmeal
1 1/2 dl rice flour (preferably wholemeal)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 dl water
1 dl olive oil
Grated cheese of your choice or sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

Method: 

  • Preheat 150 C fan assisted oven or 170 C conventional oven.
  • Mix all ingredients, except for the cheese/sea salt sprinkles, in a bowl until combined. Adjust the consistency, if required, with more water or seeds/rice flour so that the mixture holds together when you flatten it but not too sticky.
  • Line 2 large or 3 smaller baking trays with baking sheet.
  • Divide the mixture onto the baking trays. Gather it up in the middle of the tray and cover it with another piece of baking sheet.
  • Press with hand and with a rolling pin until the mixture is the thickness of the pumpkin seeds (the thinner, the crunchier!)
  • Sprinkle cheese or sea salts on top. Precut the crackers with a knife before putting into oven, or just leave it as is and break it into smaller pieces by hand after for a more rustic effect.
  • Bake until the crackers are crunchy it will take about 40 minutes. If in doubt, leave it in there for a bit longer.
  • Out of the oven and enjoy!
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BONUS TIP: 
You can use whatever seeds you want, I put in Chia seeds as well, but you will just need to adjust the consistency with more water so that it holds together when you flatten it. 

Experiment and enjoy!

Love You,
Marija

A Potent Morning Flush

I learned that there is massive value in mastering the basics

When I caught myself doing all the extraordinary advanced things and not making significant progress, I knew that there was a time for a serious detour which meant - mastering the basics. 

You cannot build the house without a solid base. 

Drink two glasses of plain water upon waking up and brushing your teeth (brush your teeth and clean your tongue first thing in the morning to remove the toxins). Drinking water is a powerful flush for your body. It facilitates digestion and helps eliminate the waste. You'll feel lighter, less bloated or tired.

Stay consistent in your practice and show yourself that you are committed to change. Let's get it straight guys - when working with clients, I quickly see that if they cannot commit to drinking their water, they are still not ready for a more significant change. 

10 SIGNS THAT YOUR BODY LACKS WATER:

- Fatigue, weakness, and dizziness
- Muscle weakness
- Headaches
- Throat burn and constipation
- Cold hands and feet
- Water retention
- Memory and concentration problems
- Pains in muscles and joints
- Dry skin and lips
- Dry mucous membranes

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This post is a reminder. Your body was doing the house cleaning while you were sleeping. You’re now dehydrated. Brush your teeth, and take your water. Drink it plain, without any add-ins such as lemon, lime, turmeric, green powders or ACV. Nada. All these things can come later.

If you'd like to alkalize your body - the first step would be to drink more plain water. Coffee, fruit juices, smoothies, black tea, etc. are not water; they are food. 

TIP: I prepare my 1/2 liter of clear water the night before, so I have a lovely, room temperature hydration upon waking up.

Make sure to load up on veggies and some probiotic afterward to make your gut microbiome thrive. 

Just - Do Simple Better! I know that you can :)

Love You, 
Marija

Brunch/Breakfast Pancakes In A Blender

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It was hard finding a title for this blog post. I tried with NO FLOUR, NO DAIRY, NO FAT, NO EGGS, NO SUGAR pancakes. Then I thought to myself that you’d probably think that there wasn't any food in this recipe. 

But no worries guys - there is food. And it’s delicious and nutritious. Children adore it; adults love it. It’s fast to prepare (actually you just wizz all ingredients in a blender), super convenient, very healthy, and you will create a very appealing experience both for your family, or your friends. It’s great for breakfast and beautiful for brunch. 

I was inspired to make this recipe thanks to the two ladies that I admire - Candice Kumai (aka the Matcha Queen) and my fellow (ex) Copenhagener Sarah Britton from My New Roots. These girls are trained chefs, wellness warriors and I deeply admire their work and beautiful personalities. 

I was playing around with their ideas trying to make a fusion. At the same time, I prayed not to bastardize their foolproof recipes. Surprisingly, it turned out to be delicious! We made this dish a staple in our home that works equally good on busy working days and lazy weekends. 

Now it's your turn guys! Make it with pride and tag me on social media so I can see it!

Buckwheat groats are gluten-free, which means that this recipe is suitable for you who are not eating foods that contain gluten. It’s also flour free which means that you'll eat your whole grain (buckwheat is a seed actually, originating from the same family as rhubarb) in its pure form.

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Ingredients:


2 Cups of buckwheat groats (soaked overnight and rinsed, measured after soaking. For soaking use one measuring cup of groats)

1 banana
1 Cup of water
1/2 lemon zest
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp matcha powder (optional)
1/2 tsp coconut oil for the pan

Method:

Soak 1 full cup of the buckwheat groats overnight. Strain them and rinse them well. Pour all the ingredients in the blender or Nutri bullet and wizzzzz for 45 seconds.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with coconut oil. Using 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake cook two to three pancakes at a time. Pour the mixture into the pan using a measuring cup or spoon. Cook the pancakes until bubbles show up on the top. Flip and cook the other side until golden, about 2-3 minutes more. 

Top it up with coconut cream, maple syrup, and some fresh berries.

Voila! Enjoy!

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Oh yeah, not to forget to tell you this - I made a double batch, and instead of matcha powder, I used the beetroot powder in the second one. We ended up having pink and green pancakes, and both of them were delicious. 

You welcome guys!

This recipe was another example of how to Do Simple Better! 

Love You,
Marija 

Don't Neglect Your 30s - Set The Stage To Thrive

You know those gorgeous women and men who blossom in their 40s? I reckon they’ve taken excellent and conscious care of themselves in their 30s. 

The other day I felt so tired in the middle of the day. I got feverish for the first time in many years. Nevertheless, I stayed in the go-go-go mood as I had to meet a deadline. My husband came and told me that I had looked like I needed to take a rest. He continued: “You are 30 now. You aren't 20 anymore, and you need to listen to your body more carefully”. I felt as if I heard the guardian angel speaking ♥ 

I’ve been teaching the importance of self-care, but in all honesty, deep inside I believed that I've still had some time to work my way around all that maintenance. I was doing great, and I thought that was enough.

Knowing something is not the same as doing it. In that light, to be able to practice self-care we need to become aware of our behavior - moment by moment.  

I wrote this holistic guide for myself and for you who are interested in getting the most out of the decade before us. I know that some of my friends who are in their 40s might feel as if they’ve missed on something, but please know that our bodies are the powerhouses that will give back generously as soon as we start treating them well. They regenerate themselves every seven years, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to start now.

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NUTRITION AND GUT HEALTH

It’s high time to understand that nutrition is not a calorie in and calorie out. Most disease start in the gut. Your gut is connected to your immune system and your brain. About 80% of your immune system is in the gut. The majority of serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for our sense of wellbeing and satisfaction) is produced in the gut. Brittle nails, brain fog, poor digestion, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, allergies, PMS, migraine, depression, mental challenges, fluid retention, constipation, bloating - could all be the symptoms of leaky gut. All the anti-wrinkle creams won’t work if you don’t have decent gut health. Gut health is one of the most important things when it comes to fertility. Eat food that is basic, directly related to the land or sea that is fresh, whole and unprocessed. Don’t neglect the power of bone broth and fermented veggies. Learn how to cook at home and let go of takeaways.

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is high up on my priority list. Managing stress, resolving pain, becoming aware of the emotions and feeling them instead of neglecting them has been on my radar all the time. I know so many people that are afraid of their pain. I used to be as well. Pain could only be resolved once we feel it. Dr. Bernie Siegel said that the number one problem most patients face is the inability to love themselves. This gotta change, folks. If you suffer from any addictions (cigarette, coffee, alcohol, food, drugs, sugar, sex), know that they are not the problem. The ACE study said that they are the solution to the unresolved pain. Make your 30s a decade to identify and resolve your pain. 

SPIRITUALITY

If you feel like everyone is getting woo around Higher Power, God, Universe, Mother Earth, and other entities, and it feels intimidating to you, I want to encourage you to consider a different perspective. Our healthcare and dietary imbalances and woes are related to a disconnect from nature’s processes, from pleasure, and from the feminine in every one of us (both men and women). We encounter so many distractions from media, friends, influencers, governments, telling us how to be and what to do. The solution is to connect with ourselves, to love and appreciate our bodies, to power your lives with love, cultivate the discipline of pleasure, and move with delight. You can be religious; you can be spiritual, or both. Find what works for you, but know that the ultimate goal of spirituality is to connect with love and to surrender

FITNESS

During your 30s the motivation to exercise to get the beach body is loosing on its intensity. We start experiencing back pain from sedentary lifestyle that we cultivated during our 20s. The 30s bring bone density loss, loss of a muscle mass and steady weight gain. If you have a sedentary job, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to start the regular exercise routine. Not only that your body will become strong and more flexible, and that you’ll prevent conditions as mentioned earlier, but you'll also be able to assimilate the nutrients from the food that you eat, ingest more oxygen and sweat out the toxins from your beautiful temple. Now, I hear many times that people don’t like to exercise. What I discovered is that majority of people had tried only one type of exercise, and base their judgment on that single unpleasant experience. Going to the gym isn’t the only way to exercise. Explore barre, hot yoga, pilates reformer, TRX. If all of these options evoke the same feelings of resistance within you, then commit to making 10.000 steps per day. Only by trying different things you’ll get to know what you like. You cannot think your way through - you must try!

BREAST HEALTH

There is a lovely book called Goddesses Never Age by Dr. Christiane Northrup. In that book, she gives a detailed manual on how to holistically care for your breasts. Some of the things that she recommends are regular breast massage to increase the flow of the lymph fluids and blood to the tissues and bring them oxygen and vital nutrients. She says that going without the bra as much as possible is very important for the same reason. Acknowledge and express your feelings, eliminate negative self-talk around breasts, open yourself to love, and sweat regularly to remove toxins and reduce cortisol. She suggests taking vitamin D3, vitamin C, omega 3, coenzyme Q10, and iodine. Avoid drinking as it’s connected to breast cancer. Eat rich, a low glycemic diet with plenty of high-fiber vegetables. Know that insulin resistance is a risk factor for breast cancer and the smartest thing you could do is to cut down on sugars as soon as possible.

SKIN
 
Do you still expose your skin to the sun? It’s crucial to do so, but only for the 15 minutes and in the morning. In our 30s we start getting the first wrinkles. Depending on your genetics, lifestyle, type of the skin, some will wrinkle faster than others. Taking plenty of water, having regular exercise, cultivating restorative sleep, eating right fats, taking various strains of probiotics, supplementing with vitamin C and consuming a low sugar diet, will significantly attribute to having healthy, radiant and beautiful skin. Another critical thing to remember - your skin is all over your body, not just on your face. Ditch the synthetic lotions and potions and use au natural coconut oil, sesame oil or some more conscious products based on natural ingredients. Your body absorbs chemicals from the products that you put topically, and you don’t want them to end up disrupting your endocrine system. 

SLEEP 

If there were one single thing that I should choose from this list - that would be sleep. Go to sleep every evening at the same time, ideally at 10 pm, as much as you can. At least one hour before hitting the bed, turn off your computer, your phone, TV, and other gadgets. Blue light is not your friend, and you want to shut it down, so it doesn’t interfere with the melatonin production. Following the circadian rhythm of nature is the best advice to regulate your sleep naturally. Create the rituals that will help you end your day. For example, I like to take a shower with warm water, put the body oil, massage my face and scalp and thoroughly comb my hair. I love the silky sleeping mask, and I start using it with the first days of spring. 

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Does this seem hard to you? Let me know as I'd love to learn how you feel about my approach. I'm here to serve you, and I want to do my best to find the way that will support your efforts. In that light, I'll appreciate your honest feedback. You can reach me via Instagram, Facebook, email, or here in the comments. 

If you ever feel overwhelmed, remember to get back to Doing Simple Better. As you know, lifestyle is the set of daily choices, and I know that you’re wise enough to choose the best for yourself. 

Love you,
Marija 

Beautifying Cacao Latte Recipe

My body adores cacao, and the feel-good effect that it provides. I love cacao in the form of a good quality dark chocolate, or a rich, creamy and healthy drink. For those of you who enjoy eating sweets, but consciously decide to avoid them for various reasons, here is my go-to recipe that will satisfy your desire to indulge, but also provide so much more benefits and encourage your efforts to live healthier. 

Sounds like a fairy tale, right? I know ♥ 

If you want to relax your nervous system - make yourself this cuppa. Good quality cacao is loaded with magnesium which supports your brain, heart, and muscles. If you experience some nasty PMS symptoms - don’t look further either. 

I’m not a fan of the anti-aging concept as it goes against nature’s cycles and carries a negative tone within. For me, graceful aging is more engaging, much more positive and it calls for putting some conscious effort. Protect your DNA from free radical damage by consuming cacao, as it's very rich in antioxidants (more than blueberries, red wine, acai, pomegranate, and goji combined). 

It helps with controlling the weight, anemia, improves immune health and regulates blood sugar. If you are still feeding your kids with chocolate milk, please consider swapping the low-quality commercial version with this home-made bliss that will undoubtedly become a source of goodness for your little ones.

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Ingredients:

1 cup oat milk (of all plant milks, oat milk provides the best bio-availability of protein)
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp raw, organic cacao powder
1/2 tsp maca (optional)
pinch of sea salt (Icelandic is the best)
optional sweetener - maple syrup or coconut sugar

Method:

Warm up the milk, but do not exaggerate as it can become thick. Pour it in the blender together with other ingredients. Wizz for 30 seconds. Pour into your favorite cup and enjoy. Optionally add some sweetener to adjust the taste.


Do Simple Better.

Much love,
Marija

Check In With Yourself, Before The Spring Blues Hits

In a corporate world, March is the month that marks the ending of the Q1, or the first quarter of the year. Depending on the fulfillment of the plans, companies start adjusting and navigating their business activities to reach their goals. 

However, on a personal level, many people (and especially women) start to disconnect from the intentions they set in January when they had put the effort to dig deeper and connect with themselves, define and set their goals for the year ahead. They agreed to become healthier, to lose weight, and to devote more time for self-improvement. Nevertheless, exactly around this time of the year, they find themselves in a rut, choosing to go back and live with the flow. Everything becomes too much, and priorities change. Work, children, families, cooking, boss, business trips, spring blues and all that jazz puts us in defensive (I just wanna take a rest) mode. We start convincing ourselves that we need to lose the grip, to stop being too harsh to ourselves, and to relax into what life brings. 

But here is the reality guys: we're giving up and giving in.

It’s so easy to lose the motivation in this part of the year.  We tend to start putting the plasters on the open wounds. 

As I’d gone through the same pattern, I wanted to help you to pull yourself together and realign with your January intentions in a loving and supportive manner. It’s normal to feel this way at this time of the year, and you are not alone in that situation. We’re all going from excitement to sadness, just as spring weather can vary from heavy rain to clear blue skies. Changing the seasons is never easy, especially going from the winter to the spring. It requires our awareness, gentleness, clear boundaries and radical self-care. Deepak Chopra explains that when kids are confused, wining, nervous, parents get to put them to sleep and they wake up fresh. As adults, we need to see through the confusion that our bodies are falling into. Self-care is needed as an answer to our body's needs. It's a way of lovingly parenting ourselves. 

If I had the magic wound, I’d take your hand and show you how lovely, powerful and amazing you actually are. Please remember that you don’t need to become anything for anyone; you don’t need to show the world the picture perfect, you don’t need to change yourself for anybody else. Instead, start making choices that are in your best interest. Start choosing the right things for yourself which will help you feel great in your day. When you shine, when you're radiant and joyful is when you're expressing your true self. 

Tonight when you go to the bathroom to remove your make up, take five more minutes for this exercise. I promise that you’ll get the new, beautiful wings to keep flying with joy, with love, and with grace. 

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Dim the light, get some candles, defuse a few drops of essential oils (lavender or frankincense are the best for this purpose) and be radically honest with yourself. Take a deep breath in, count until 4, hold while counting until 7, and exhale until 8. Repeat this cycle 4 times. After the last exhale, connect with yourself and invite your inner intelligence to guide you. 

Start by asking yourself:

1. Did I step out of my comfort zone?
2. Am I fully present? 
3. Am I kind? 
4. What can I stop doing?

Now, take a deep breath in into your belly (your collar bones stay on the place without moving), and you exhale all the air with the whooshing sound. 

Take another deep breath and connect with your goals by asking these simple questions.

1. What is one word you want to describe 2018?
2. What will you make more time for? 

Whatever the answers, thank yourself for showing up, put the moisturizer on, blow out the candles and slowly walk to your bed. 
 
Sleep tight and when you wake up - remember the one word that you want to describe 2018. 

Do simple better, and remember that the lifestyle is a set of decisions you make on a daily basis, so chose wisely. 

Love you,
Marija

Are You Struggling To Meditate - Here's The 30 Second Rescue Breathing Technique

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For a long time, I was beating myself up for not being able to meditate while everyone on the planet Earth was starting to get enlightened by its positive effects.

Guys, the struggle was real. I would rather get out of my skin than sit and try to observe my thoughts for a few minutes. I would then try guided meditations - which was great fun, but those couldn't help me to cage my monkey mind. Transcendental meditation mantras or kundalini mantras seemed so far away from my truth at that moment. As a result, I felt pretty lonely in the world of people that seemed to be on the top of their development game claiming that the meditation was everything.

That's when I learned something about breathing. Breathing was my rescue. It was a bridge between stress and meditation. Breathing is a link between the conscious and the unconscious mind, key to changing the function of the autonomic nervous system and the master control of our emotional state. 

Breathing is the central most important physiological function of the human organism. The basic rule of breath work is to make your breath slower, quieter, deeper, and more regular. 

To make your breathing deeper, work on the exhalation. Exhalation is more of the voluntary control, and as you squeeze the more air out, you’ll automatically be able to inhale more air in. 

Breathing is the only function of the body that we can do consciously and unconsciously. Dr. Weil says that it’s improper functioning of the involuntary nervous system that’s the root of many health conditions such as the poor function of digestive system, high blood pressure, circulatory system.

4-7-8 Breath

Harvard trained physician and my teacher, Dr. Weil created the system of breathing called 4-7-8. It’s so simple and it takes only a little over 30 seconds. In my search for more complicated tools to hack my sympathetic nervous system, I disregarded the power of this basic and powerful tool. 

How to breath the 4-7-8 way?

Firstly, place the tongue on the ridge of tissue behind upper front teeth. Start with breathing out all the air through your mouth. Inhale quietly through your nose to a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale through your mount for a count of 8 with a whooshing sound.

That’s one breathing cycle. Do the total of 4 breathing cycles, ideally twice a day. If you stay consistent for a full month, then you can do 8 cycles during the next month (never do more than 8 cycles). 

That’s all folks. Remember to do simple better and don’t forget that the lifestyle is the set of daily choices, so choose wisely. 

Best,
Marija 

This Deodorant Will Change Your World

I’ve known this recipe for years, but the truth is - I've never believed that it works. 

I admit being guilty and seduced by beautiful ads of the expensive and divinely packaged (and aluminium packed, btw) deodorants from the airport duty-free shops. 

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Then I fell in love with more natural options - crystal salts sold by more ethical producers. 

It’s only thanks to my friend who came to visit us in Copenhagen claiming that this simple, creamy thing works (even on the teenage basketball players and men). I believed her, and I hope that you'll trust me and give it a go!

We all know that conventional deodorants are some of the unhealthiest and chemically rich things that you can put on your body. Our lives are saturated with toxic chemicals and we don't need more of them. They disrupt our endocrine systems and cause many troubles over the time. On the other hand, many of the natural versions that are currently on the market don’t work that well. As there was nothing to lose, I decided to give this a try, and as a result - I was blown   away!

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Now, let’s address the primary concern that you may have - stains. I do not experience trouble with this, as I use a tiny amount (a little bit works wonders) that I apply straight after showering. It absorbs in 2-3 minutes, while I brush my teeth and put moisturizer on my face.

I feel relieved and utterly grateful for this pure invention. My boys will never have to experience toxic side effects of regular deodorants, and I hope you’ll curiosity will lead you to give it a go!

In case you experience body odors - start taking chlorella (in powder or capsules) which is a natural deodorizer and works really fast to get you rid of this unpleasant issue.  

Recipe

2 tsp neutral coconut oil
1 tsp baking soda
5 drops of essential oil (tea tree, patchouli, lemon, geranium)

Mix the ingredients until the smooth paste forms. You can refrigerate it for half an hour (not necessary) to set it firm. Keep it in a small glass or a tin jar on your bathroom shelf. 

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You welcome!

Do simple better and know that lifestyle is the set of daily choices, so choose wisely.

Have a lovely weekend!

Blessings,
Marija 

 

Coffee - Get The Most Out Of This Social Lubricant And A Legal Drug

Wanna meet over a cup of coffee? I can’t even tell how many times this question has led to the most interesting discussions I’ve ever had. In my home country, coffee culture is huge. 

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There are tradition, rituals, memories, and relief connected to drinking coffee and no research could ever beat the value that people get out of that. In defense of coffee, scientists are proving that it helps us live longer, avoid Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, some meta-analyses suggest that we could experience the worsening of anxiety, depression, heart palpitations, insomnia, headaches and some cancers. 

Whatever the science says, I noticed that people get defensive around coffee, justifying their choice religiously. 

As we raise our consciousness around health, the “righteousness” of coffee drinking becomes the source of concern for many. Some people, afraid of its acidity and other side effects start swapping their morning cup of joe with other drinks. I get so many questions regarding coffee, and I never get to answer them in the black and white, good and bad fashion. There is a vast space between those polarities that is worth exploring. 

Now, if you want to understand whether coffee is your jam or not, how to formulate a healthy relationship with coffee, how to approach the trend of a butter-rich aka Bulletproof coffee, this article will probably help you get some clues and ideas on how to navigate the world of a massive noise around this black decadence. I also share the information on how women are affected by cortisol and how to manage your afternoon slump, which could positively turn your life around

Is coffee your jam?

Coffee isn't good nor bad. It’s about its quality, your genetic predisposition to metabolize it slowly or rapidly, your age and the quantity you take. Caffeine is the primary troublemaker here. Without getting too scientific, it’s essential for you to understand if you are a fast or a slow metabolizer. If you metabolize caffeine slowly, it means that it stays in your body for a long time and circulates your system triggering your stress hormones. If you break down the caffeine fast, you’ll get more benefits of the coffee plant itself that has plenty of antioxidants and polyphenols in it.  

In case you are slow metabolizer (and the majority of people are), the best idea is to keep your dose to a minimum. For the additional antioxidants - use dark leafy vegetables, blueberries, and turn towards eating a whole foods diet.

People prone to feeling stress and anxiety tend to be especially sensitive to caffeine. One way to determine if your daily dose is making you suffer is to stop drinking coffee and other sources of caffeine (chocolate, black tea, energy drinks) for three weeks and see how your body feels. 

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How is your relationship with coffee?

The main downside of the coffee is that it triggers the stress response system. No doubt that people nowadays are facing the chronic stress. Our adrenals are already overworked (helping us run away from that lion (boss, wife, children, goals) that keeps chasing us), and coffee only adds to that process. If you experience heart palpitations, jittery or shaky feeling in your body - it could be that coffee triggers it to secrete even more adrenaline and cortisol. 

Coffee is also addictive. Not precisely like other drugs, but enough to make you drink more of it to experience the same sensation. My husband was a heavy coffee drinker. I mean 5-6 cups a day. Sometimes more. He knew that his brain had addictive nature, so he decided to stop drinking it entirely and cold turkey. It wasn’t easy as his body's reactions were backfiring, but drinking plenty of water has helped tremendously, just as forming the new and healthier habits that have replaced this addictive behavior. 

Dr. Elson Haas writes that caffeine needed to produce stimulation increases with regular use, as is typical of all addictive drugs. Looking at his list of pros and cons, I realize that there are more side effects of drinking coffee. Could moderation help? It could if you are the person that can tolerate even moderate amounts of coffee. 

If you have a history of drinking vast amounts of coffee and you believe that it doesn’t affect you, you might be experiencing the numbness of your receptors. That means that your system is under chronic stress, so it doesn’t even react to caffeine anymore. 

The best solution here would be to wean yourself off the coffee for the few weeks to be able to set your system back to its baseline. Consuming alkaline diet and plenty of water together with regular sweating through exercise and sauna could do wonders for your physical and mental state.

Have you tried the Bulletproof coffee? 

That frothy, buttery cup of joe - I could live off one cup a day without taking any food. Even though I am not a coffee drinker, it’s hard to resist a bulletproof version. It's made out of the best quality coffee beans that don't contain any mold, a piece of a grass-fed unsalted butter, and a spoon of MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil which is a derivate from coconut oil. People who are on ketogenic or paleo-style diets like to experiment with this coffee. It’s a massive appetite suppressant, focus enhancer, yet it has a severe downside - if you stay away from the whole produce (veggies, a little meat), you’ll deplete your body from nutrition that is vital for it to thrive. It will soon show on your face and in your performance. However, if you decide to experiment with the Bulletproof coffee to take your appetite back to its baseline, I would friendly suggest that as soon as your desire for food gets back to normal, you increase your veggies consumption and take some quality protein. If you continue to avoid them (because you don’t feel hungry), you’ll trigger your body's stress response which could take you back to where you had started.  Not fun. 

If the only problem is caffeine, can we have a decaffeinated version instead?

Decaf is not caffeine free. It still has the caffeine in it but the smaller doses. Here’s the truth bomb - decaf coffee is saturated with chemicals. Avoiding the caffeine will give you plenty of nasties, so always chose an organic version. 

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Many women, your’s truly included, experience afternoon slump. 

And many women take that afternoon cup of coffee or a piece of dark chocolate to increase their energy levels. However, this could signal that your blood sugar levels might have dropped significantly. Have you had pastries, sweets, muffins, porridges, bagels, bread earlier in the day? Or, have you maybe entirely skipped your breakfast or lunch? 

Look into these things first and try eating the foods that don’t raise your insulin too much. Eggs, some wilted or fresh greens, and good fats would make your body naturally regulate the afternoon energy slump.

One final note that I want to share because it keeps showing up as a pattern with my clients is that if you are a stress oriented person, with the obsessive-compulsive disorder, with anxiety, trouble sleeping - coffee is not going to be right for you. Its toxic properties will outweigh all the antioxidants that it provides. Dr. Sarah Gottfried writes that for many women (herself included) the cortisol surge never turns off. It keeps us alive by raising blood sugar, increasing blood pressure and modulating inflammation. Caffeine can add to this pile by making your heart beats like the jungle drum. 

Being informed and aware is the first step. Now is your turn to scan your body, take a look at your behavior and act accordingly. If you cannot do it alone, always reach for help.

Remember, do simple better and know that lifestyle is the set of daily choices, so choose wisely.

Much love,
Marija

Self-love Menu For The Bad Days

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I've met a countless number of people thinking that my life is so perfect. Given that I'm still fairly young with quite a lot of life experience which I've gathered throughout my studies, traveling, working, living abroad while raising a young family and building a new company, I figure that it's quite easy to assume that I have it all sorted. The reality is - in appreciation of all the blessings that I can count, there is no such thing as perfection.  

Ebb and flow are real. It happens to each and every one of us. The question is - how do we deal with it. Some people say that it's not about the situation, but how we choose to see it. I believe that circumstances are an important part of the whole story. We cannot ignore them. However, I realized that in order to survive and hopefully thrive in spite of any circumstances, we need a well-established support system in order to deal with whatever comes our way. All those tiny things that we tend to put aside thinking that only a big life-changing event would get us out of the rut, are actually vital to get us on our feet again.

For those of you interested in how it is to live in a foreign country and raise the children - I'll tell you this - it is a no joke folks. You'll never have the history, you'll never know the unwritten social rules and at the end of the day - you'll always be a foreigner. It's only thanks to this experience that I've finally understood the importance of mastering the art of living. That is a secret of living your life gracefully.

As my gift to you, I'm sharing a Self-love Menu For The Bad Days that I've created for myself to help me survive. It's something that works for me, and you can use it as an inspiration to make your own list of the things that are close to your heart. When the going gets tough, take a look at it and feel free to help yourself.  

You welcome!

Do simple better and remember that lifestyle is a set of choices you make on a daily basis, so choose wisely.

Xo,

Marija 

Click here to download your PDF Self-love Menu .

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Your Journey to Hotn(m)ess

Have you ever imagined your head standing on someone else's body?

Speaking from the physical standpoint, for example, have you thought about how you could look if you lose extra weight, put on some muscle, improve your image or change your posture? How would you show up in the world? What would be different? 

For many of us - even tho we want to believe differently - the answer is - nothing!

 

We tend to get into the trap of judgment of what will happen one day when we are good enough, or disciplined enough. That’s the unhealthy approach that leads to a downward spiral of shame and blame, and I beg you to stop doing that now. It will not make progress faster. Trust me. Instead, learn to appreciate the pleasure that’s coming from the incremental changes.

Let me try to help you with some actionable steps in this article on how to enjoy and savor the process of transformation.

It’s not easy to chill when we’re continually being told how to look, how to behave, what to eat, how much, how to interact, what to wear, what profession to chose. Everything. 

Connecting with yourself, your desires and your capabilities feel like launching the space shuttle to Mars. Benchmarks are all around, and we are taught to follow the metrics (not only in numbers but in pictures, status, degree, profession). Society is doing everything to domesticate us. 

The shift doesn’t come with age; it comes with awareness. 

Trust me on this one. No matter how old you are, what will determine your capability to break through societal dogma that teaches you how you should be is not your age, education, nor money, but your level of consciousness and self-awareness. 

If you are walking your walk unconsciously - I bet that you are feeling kind of - okay, or may I say - great in your ignorance. On the other hand, if you feel intimidated by the engineered picture perfect - you’re probably becoming to live your life more consciously than the majority of the people around you. 

Don’t get me wrong - wherever you are, it’s not your fault. We’re humans, the social animals. As such, we get influenced by many sources - media (and a lot), influencers (if only we could follow their blueprint for life), science (will tell us with “precision" what to do).

I believe that setting the goals is excellent and if you do, I appreciate you so much for that. You understand that whatever achievement you’ve had in your life has come as a result of setting the goal. However, I’d like to encourage you to pay attention to the process of achieving your goal. That is the real GOLDEN PATH with so much potential in it. 

If it’s on your way, it’s your way
— Lao Tzu
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During the pursuit of your goal, if you open up and confront with what you find in yourself, and become willing to adjust your habits and behaviors, you’ll have a wholly transformational experience. Start asking yourself questions like: “Why am I not being able to follow through?, or "Why do I feel envious?, or “Where is this resistance coming from?". If you want something to work in your life, speak the truth and be centered around it. 

Even tho you might never be able to look like Victoria Secret angel, or the hottest fitness guru (and the majority of people aren't), you still might feel happier and healthier than before because of your journey or experience that you’ve had along the way. 

Having the role model is easy, but the role models can distract us from our journey - whether or not we even notice that. 
— Dallas Hartwig

 

Open up to authenticity, honesty, and integrity as a new cornerstone of what is considered hot. I encourage you to be vulnerable and to say - "Here’s who I am even overweight and messy. I know there is some work that I need to do and I am willing to embrace the process." 

By doing this, you’ll become the person that will have a higher awareness of your journey and someone who will be able to have a meaningful conversation with others. AND THAT IS HOT! Don't try to cover your modest inner world with excessive attention to outer expression through clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry. 

What if you decide to become healthy? Do you think that you’ll miss out on hotness? No way! Your whole being will become lighter, your skin and eyes will be radiant and glowing, you’ll become calmer and more centered, and the most importantly - you’ll become a loving and compassionate person. 

Your life is going to change when you get to know yourself. 

The perfect scale number or a fitness model's fat percentage will never make a mean person become a better human. Your unhappiness will only get exacerbated if you start chasing the metrics. Instead, look inside and commit to doing some inner work. Become little happier each day. 

Your task is to become a healthier person not just in body, but in mind and spirit, as well as your heart and community. By doing so, you are going to become as hot as you desired. 

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Now, let's see where to start!

1. ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU WANT SOMETHING.

This may sound repetitive, but reminding yourself daily why you want to achieve something will settle into your subconscious mind. Learn to check in with yourself daily, and you’ll stay grounded on your path.

2. EVALUATE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED.

This one is hugely important - evaluate how each person that you follow makes you feel. You don’t even have to label that feeling any further than - "I feel inspired," or "I don't feel inspired." And then take responsibility for the images and energies that you allow into your screen. Put yourself first and feel free to unfollow those that do not make you go and do something good.  

3. WHERE DO YOU SPEND YOUR RESOURCES  (TIME, ENERGY, MONEY)?

Is your spending in alignment with your values and your goals? Are you sitting in cafes with friends every day drinking lattes while your goal is to get in shape? Does your behavior take you closer to your goal? 

4. MEDITATE.

Advice that follows is not a cliche, so you better pay attention. A lot of people meditate and still stay in their heads. If you want to get the benefits of meditation or prayer, you want to build the stronger center. Your spirit needs to get grounded. Practice meditation and pay attention to your energy levels. Your energy (chi) is vital for your feeling of centeredness. If you feel energetic, this means that you are on the good path.

Do simple better and remember that lifestyle is a set of choices you make on a daily basis, so choose wisely. 

Much love,
Marija

P.S. If you liked this article and find it insightful, I'd so much appreciate if you could share it with your friends on social media. Thank you & love you!

You Cannot Swallow Sleep - Here's What You Can Do

Hello beautiful!
 
I have a confession – I’ve been struggling with sleep for quite some time. Getting to fall asleep has been challenging for me in the last year. As a holistic health coach, I’ve been working with people and helping them master the sleep, yet I’ve been struggling with the same thing myself. 

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As I wanted a sharp focus, vitality, energy to work, create, run around with my boys, as well as the ability to be present with my family and friends, I knew I needed to hack my sleep. However, let’s get clear here - I don’t value sleep only regarding being a servant of waking life (improving memory, appearance, immunity), but as an extension of natural rhythms on our planet.

It's easy to realize that I was very motivated to learn what was going on with my staying awake and getting energized in the evening. Hopefully, my insights will help you in finding that missing piece of the puzzle, so you can accept the benefits from the sacred time you spend in your bed (and stop looking at it as a wasted time).

First of all, here’s a little bit of a hot truth about the importance of sleep. The facts always get my attention on point, so here you are. There is substantial evidence emerging from chronic, severe illnesses tied to not having enough sleep. Short sleepers have 50% increase in the risk of viral infection, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, mood disorders. 

Insomnia is an early sign of depression and depression is a late stage of insomnia.

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If we consume too much, we won’t be able to sleep well. Consumption of poor indoor light during the day, an excess amount of information and food that inflame our bodies all contribute to the accumulation of excess energy.
 
We have the reluctance to go down and let go. People who do not sleep well get excessively energized at night. Are we able to emotionally, physiologically and spiritually let go? There is very much turbulence that’s happening all the time, and we have to know how to calm our minds, our bodies and prepare them for sleep. 

I actually learned how to do this thanks to my kids. They need a structured nighttime routine to fall asleep - showering, brushing the teeth, putting on pajamas, hearing a story, getting and giving plenty of kisses and bam - they are off. However, if I just tell them to go to sleep - that will never happen. Adults, just as kids, need to unplug and disconnect from daily events slowly. 

Some people keep saying that we should take a rest, so does it mean that we can go and watch TV to relax? Did you know that rest is not about having fun, reading a book, hiking or watching TV, nor scrolling the Instagram page? Rest is being in bed, unplugged, meditating and preserving the energy.

While we sleep and dream the brain digests and assimilates the information that it has received during the day. Dreams are the part of the memory consolidation as well as emotional healing.
 
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine say that we need to be in horizontal position by 10 pm as that is the time when we get a second wind if we stay up. The horizontal position helps our bodies balance the liquids.

Now, there is a vast body of research on the effects that sleep has on our hormonal balance. It affects regulation of cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, HGH, etc. I will cover this subject another time, but for now, I want to share what has changed my life for better - release of a Human Growth Hormone (HGH) during the sleep. That one is responsible for antiaging, tissue regeneration, liver regeneration, muscle building, a breakdown of fat stores, normalization of blood sugar. If I don’t sleep well, I will wake up with tension in my calves. However, thanks to HGH release - I wake up fully refreshed and with my limbs ready to move and be active during the day. 

We cannot swallow sleep through pill, tea or milk. We should build faith in our capacity to sleep. Our task is to learn to let go of the emotions, aspirations and other things that we carry to the bed. Chronic use of sleeping pills increase the risk of cancer, more than smoking, so play smart. 

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Now, I suggest that you observe your behavior during the day. When do you wake up? How do you feel when you wake up? How does your day look? Are there tasks that drain you? How do you feel after meeting certain people? Can you easily identify your thoughts? What and when do you eat? How much do you move? When do you get tired?  

When you get clarity on what is going on on daily basis, I suggest that you apply some of the following hacks. Discovering them all at once can give you additional stress, so take it slowly. Less is more, give yourself a time and find out what works for you. 

1. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE

I mean it. I've been guilty of this one. Entertaining yourself with your phone is such a time waster which provides additional stimulation for your brain. We don't need that before going to bed. All the information coming from different photos, news and articles interfere with our intention to relax. My goal is to turn the airplane mode on at 6 pm. 

2. HAVE A LIGHT MEAL 3-4 HOURS BEFORE GOING TO BED

Your body starts cleaning the house around 10 pm. If you eat at that time, it will be too busy digesting the food and you'll miss a part of the valuable cleansing process and as a result wake up grumpy, sluggish or exhausted.

3. SHOWER WITH WARM WATER AND USE LAVANDER ESSENTIAL OIL

If your nervous system is aroused, showering with warm water can calm you down. I do not recommend to finish with a few seconds of cold water as this will wake you up. Leave it for the morning or afternoon pick me up, and instead use a few drops of lavender essential oil to inhale under the rush of the warm water. That will help you regulate the activity of your nervous system and get you ready for the beautiful and restorative sleep.

4. USE BLUE BLOCKERS IF YOU NEED TO WORK AT NIGHT

Any light suppresses the production of melatonin, but the blue light is even more powerful in doing so. Melatonin helps us sleep, so we want to make sure that our body is producing sufficient amount of it. Our eyes are the gateways for light, as well as our skin, so for the basic protection use the blue light blocker glasses. In case you need to work at night, I have a nugget for you - the most amazing software that removes the blue light from your computer called F.lux. Here you can get it for free. You welcome! 

5. GUIDED MEDITATION FOR SLEEP

I love guided meditations. They are so comforting and they easily propel me into the world of fairy tales. The most important thing is to find the voice that you like. Here is one beautiful meditation for chakra alignment that you can listen with your earphones while already in your bed. No worries if you fall asleep - that's exactly what we aim for. 

Do simple better and remember that lifestyle is a set of choices you make on a daily basis, so choose wisely. 

Have a beautiful holiday!

Love,
Marija

Get Happier And Forget About Happiness

Achieving happiness has become a goal for many of us. Wherever I travel people ask me if Danish happiness is a myth or a truth. I came from London yesterday where I met at least 7-8 people that were curious about this topic. I have to admit that I do not believe in the westernized idea of happiness, nor that we can achieve it by any means. Happiness is not out there. It’s present; it’s here. It’s about you choosing to tap into it or not to tap into it in every single moment. 

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Scheduling quality time with your children or partner, or scheduling time for self-care, self-love and other human activities makes me think of us as robots, not humans.  

I have to admit that this realization came after years of living western lifestyle. My schedule was full for months in advance. Every social event, even a walk or a coffee with a friend would be scheduled on the calendar for the weeks to come. For example, you invite people for dinner a month or two months in advance. In the meantime you don’t speak to each other, you don’t see each other, but they'd show up on the exact day, and you’d have your scheduled time to socialize. If you don’t feel like socializing that day - I’m sorry, it's on your calendar. 

So, if we have to follow the schedule for our work/study commitments, our children’s activities, or maybe even our exercise routines, what is it that we don’t have to schedule to live our human lives and express our human nature? Is our meticulous schedule making us happy? Does it give us enough space to think about anything else but ourselves?

Who are the happy people?

Happy people are those who are more interested in other people’s problems, and they want to help. They are altruistic, they give money away, or they volunteer. They will give a hand if a family member, a colleague or a friend needs it. They care about the world. They are able to turn outward and think about problems of other people. They are healthier, have healthier habits, and they make better team members and better leaders. 

When people are unhappy, they tend to stay within their realm of problems; they become isolated and defensive. They don’t cope with diversity very well. 

How to feel happier?

Starting with your body is an excellent idea. I’ll explain why. Physical experience always informs the emotional experience. If you have the energy and vitality, that will affect everything that you do. If you want to be happier, get enough sleep and cultivate exercising habits. 

Sleep will affect your mood, concentration, energy levels, immune function, hunger, and satiety, as well as the processes that help in gaining muscles/losing fat. 

Relationships - to feel happy we need to feel like we have meaningful and intimate bonds, that we belong, that we can confide and that we can get support. Take a look at your relationships and be honest - do you have someone who is close to you? 

Self-knowledge is a crucial part of the happiness equation. If you don’t know yourself, you won’t be happy. You can build a happy life only on the firm foundation of your nature, interests, and values. 

 

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What I know for sure is that happiness is coming from taking action.

Ask your self - what can I do now to feel little happier instead of how can I achieve happiness?

You’ve probably heard about the correlation between expectations and happiness. Some people would say that to be happy we need to lower our expectations. This notion has never resonated with me, and thanks to my teacher Gretchen Rubin, I understand that happiness is not about reducing the expectations, but understanding our attitude towards the inner and the outer expectations. In other words, are you able to meet the expectations that you have for yourself and on the other hand, are you able to meet the expectations that others have from you?

If this sounds like monkey business, keep reading for one more minute.

As per Gretchen Rubin, there are four tendencies and knowing which one is yours will help you design the environment in which you’ll be inspired to take the constant action. None of us is the same, and none of us gets inspired in the same way. Here's the brief overview:

1. UPHOLDERS - they are the most disciplined of all. They happily respond to both outer and inner expectations. 
2. QUESTIONERS - they question everything. If it sounds reasonable to them, they’ll do it. If not, they won’t.
3. REBELS - resist all expectations - outer and inner alike. They want to do what they want to do, and if you ask them to do something, they’ll likely do the opposite. 
4. OBLIGERS - very good in meeting the outer expectations, but hard with personal expectations. 

In order to help you discover your tendency, I’m sharing the link to the online test that will help you do just that. After submitting your email address, you’ll receive a short but detailed guide on how you can tackle your barriers and actually take the action. It's not the annoying and spammy newsletter, and you can always unsubscribe from it if you don't feel like you get the value from it.

Everything that I am sharing in this post is proven and free, and I wish for you to use it for good.


Now, I'd love to learn what's your tendency? Feel free to share in the comments below. 


With much love,
Marija