Intermitted fasting & my experiences with it

I don’t believe in living on diets, at least not for myself, but on developing healthy habits and maintaining them. This includes eating whatever ‘bad’ food you have a weakness for, from time to time. Anyway, this post is not on my eating habits in general, but only one of them, namely intermitted fasting. I actually started intermitted fasting by curiosity, but have since then experienced a lot of benefits attached to it, that I would like to share with you in this post. First a little back ground info of how I got into intermitted fasting in the first place.

Many years ago, I think I was around 17, I realised that I had been unsatisfied with my weight for as long as I could remember. What really blew my mind was that when I looked in my closet, I had jeans in the size of 36 (European size. American size 4) which in my rational mind meant that I had definitely been quite slim at that time. From then on I made a rational decision to never fuss over my weight again. I figured that I needed to train my eyes to see myself in a kinder light rather than looking for flaws. I would say that I’ve since then followed through most of the time, and it has meant I’ve learned to accept myself much beyond my weight. Though, as I’m soon turning 30, I can see that another aspect is sneaking in – which is this: for many years I’ve been so persistent in my attempt to embrace my weight no matter what is was, that I sometimes confuse this with not caring about what I eat and how I live. So lately I’ve been working on getting a more stabilised approach to living healthy, while still feeling good about myself, and living life with everything it entails (aka chocolate!).

What is Intermitted Fasting?

In simple words, intermitted fasting is fasting in intervals. Either by skipping one meal in a day, or fasting on certain full days of the week. There’s a lot of scientific background, that I’m not gonna get into – but if you’re interested you can read more here. The basic idea, is that the digestive system and body is given a break, and that you at the same time take in less calories. My confirmation of it’s validity comes more in the fact that it has been done for centuries in India, than the high amount hype that is being made around it lately. So, I chose only to look at the benefits I myself have experienced and how it makes me feel. For a better understanding, I don’t eat lunch, meaning I only eat breakfast and dinner. The following is what has happened since I started this practice.

It makes you less hungry

I wanted to write this first, to ensure that you’ll keep reading! I admit there’s an adjustment period, but it can be managed by slowly easing into it. You can start by eating a smaller meal during the time you want to faste, and then work yourself down to just having a snack and then nothing. My father used to mix chia seeds in water, with fresh berries, and then drink/eat it during the day instead of having lunch. I’ve never tried to faste a whole day, so cant say if your body equally adjusts to it, hence that you wouldn’t feel hungry. What I do believe is that your mind can effect how you feel. I realised that once I start feeling hungry, it passed fast if I know I wont be eating.

I gives you more time

I guess many people would feel like sitting down for a meal is a break. I have a desk job and sit down from 9-18 every day, so the break I really need is to take a walk. So, instead of eating I take a walk for 1/2 hour or 45 min. every day, or use the time to solve personal tasks I need to get done. At times I use the hour to work, so that I can leave a little early instead. Since is of course in addition to the fact that I have to prepare one less meal in a day.

I allows you to eat better

Since I only cook two meals in a day, I have more money and time to spend on them. I use the extra money I save to buy better quality foods, but also to treat myself to going out to eat or making something special at home. I think it’s important to note that when you only eat two meals, and don’t snack in-between, these meals need to count. Both so that you won’t get hungry during the day, but most of all so that you’ll get all the nutrients you need to be healthy. I eat lots of organic vegetables, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, eggs, slow carbs and some grains, bread and pasta. I also use lots of spices and herbs and drink lots of water.

It makes you loose weight

I’m sure there’s combined reasons for this. Even though I eat to my hearts desire during my two meals, I can only ever eat so much in one go, so I do end up eating less calories all together. I also don’t snack during the day, which leads me to drink more water. One thing I always allow myself is coffee! Because life is too short to be too extreme about anything. I want to make it clear that I when I eat, I eat what I want – I’m just lucky to really love healthy foods. But I also love waffles, cake and chocolate – and eat it whenever I feel like it.

It optimises your stomach

Without getting into too much details, there’s a number of ways to tell whether your stomach works the way it should. India is not a place for people with delicate stomachs, but now more than ever I can eat anything without having any problems. I’ve never had a lot of issues with my stomach, but it used to fluctuate, especially when travelling and eating street food. Now I barely ever have any issues – this includes no bloating, no pain, no gas, no hard or loose stomach and everything else. If you have any issues with your stomach, it could be something to explore.

This is all I’ve noticed till now, but maybe in time I will make a follow up post after exploring it some more. Feel free to comment below with questions or your own experiences!

//Louise

Want to know more about fasting? I can highly recommend this book:

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The comeback of the indigenous cow

Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored, but has been written in collaboration between the co-founder of “Meri Gaiya” Rajesh Madan and myself. It is entirely our own personal perception of the matter at hand.

When I came to India, I discovered something about milk that I had never thought about – namely that there’s a big difference between pasteurised, homogenised and raw milk! Furthermore, organic and non-organic milk are two very different things too. Recently my understanding of milk deepened even more, when I found out milk from different breeds, contains different proteins, making them very different as well. So why does it matter if all these are different? From my own personal conclusion, I believe the kind of milk we drink has enormous implications for our health (as well as a number of other aspects – but that discussion is for another time). In this article I will focus on my new discovery, leading me to conclude – that we should all be drinking A2 milk over A1 milk. From here I will let Rajesh Madan explain:

A1 vs. A2

When Keith Woodford published the Groundbreaking Work “Devil in the Milk” in 2007, it put a stirrer in the world’s glass of milk, so to speak.

A professor of Farm Management and Agri Business at Lincoln University in in New Zealand, Woodford presents irrefutable evidence in his book that linked cow’s milk to numerous medical mysteries including diabetes and autism.

In “Devil in the Milk”, Keith Woodford brings together the evidence published in over 100 scientific papers. He examines the population studies that look at the link between consumption of A1 milk and the incidence of heart disease and Type 1 diabetes; he explains the science that underpins the A1/A2 hypothesis; and he examines the research undertaken with animals and humans. The evidence is compelling: WE SHOULD BE SWITCHING TO A2 MILK.

The book in itself is an amazing story of not just about the health issues surrounding A1 milk, but also about how scientific evidence can be molded and withheld by vested interests, and how consumer choices are influenced by the interests of corporate business.

So what exactly is A1 and A2 milk?

Originally, all animal milk was A2, including of course the cow milk. But then, a mutation occurs in the Bovine Population of Northern Europe and Voila! Cows started producing A1 milk.

India’s National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NABGR) had done a study in 2012 where they specified that the A1 and A2 variants differ at amino acid position 67 with Histidine in A1 and Proline in A2 variant. This polymorphism leads to a key change in the secondary structure of expressed β-casein protein. The variant A1 of β-casein has been suggested to be associated as a risk factor for the following diseases: Type 1 diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome and neurological impairment including autistic and schizophrenic changes.

The Indian Village and the Cow

Needless to say, all indigenous breeds of cows in India produce only A2 milk.

The cow in fact had, and perhaps still has a central place in the Indian Rural Economy. The milk was treasured, the dung used as fertiliser to rejuvenate the soil, the dried dung cakes used as a cheap substitute for firewood, the male bullocks put to work in the fields, and then of course it fed the leather industry too. This bond of the farmer with the cow is so strong that the cow has came to be held as sacred in the Hindu way of living.

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This sacredness turned beef consumption into a contentious issue in India. The ancient ayurvedic texts supported eating of beef: “The flesh of the cow is beneficial for those suffering from the loss of flesh due to disorders caused by an excess of vayu, rhinitis, irregular fever, dry cough, fatigue, and also in cases of excessive appetite resulting from hard manual labour.” But over time, beef became a strict no-no in the diet of an Indian, except the lowest of the low classes of Hindus and those from other religions.

The invasion of the Western Cows

To increase the availability of milk for every Indian and also to increase the income of farmers, the Indian Government launched Operation Flood in 1970. The import of alien cow breeds like Jersey or Holstein Friesian was encouraged as they produce more milk.

That started the slow but steady downward slide for India’s 37 indigenous cow breeds. There was a relentless and reckless drive to cross breed the alien varieties with the indigenous ones.

In 2013, Jay Mazoomdar wrote in Tehelka, an Indian News Publication: India is the world’s largest producer of milk. But in 10 years, we will be forced to start importing it. And the Indian cow will no longer exist.

Today, according to one estimate, only 5% of the total cow population is of pure indigenous breeds. But the good news is that over the last few years, awareness has grown on the harmful effects of A1 milk and efforts have gathered steam to promote and increase the indigenous cow population.

The A2 Ambassadors

Unknown to most, Desi Ghee made from A2 milk is lighter than the ghee from other sources. It can prevent heart blockages, help cure gastric problems and headaches. It also combats Asthma and Insomnia, besides lowering blood cholesterol and recovery of wounds.

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Many ventures like ‘Meri Gaiya’ and ‘The Way We Were’ have come up in India which have taken it upon themselves to increase awareness about all the health benefits of cow ghee made from A2 milk and at the same time promote ethical dairy practices and conservation of indigenous breeds.

We felt passionately about our cause for the consumer’s health, farmers as well as cows. We put together a small capital to start our dairy last year with just 4 Desi A2 Cows. We made sure to feed them only with Organic feed and took care of them like part of our extended family. We now have 28 cows – Rajesh Madan

The fight to reclaim the health, community and environmental benefits of indigenous cow breeds and their milk products has begun in earnest. And in the years to come, it promises to gain momentum and turn things around.

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A big thank you to Rajesh for this inspiring information, and for inspiring others to get back to basics! Your ghee will from now on be a stabile on my kitchen counter. 

//Louise.

Old fashioned waffles

I’m still very excited about my new old fashioned waffle iron, so this morning I decided to make some good old fashioned waffles. Since I had bought some Baileys the day before, I mixed it into some creme fraise with honey to go with the waffles. All in all it turned out super delicious, so I thought I would share the recipe here.

Old Fashioned Waffled (Makes approx. 4 waffles) 

Ingredients: 

Waffles:

  • 200 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75 melted butter
  • 4 dl milk
  • 1 egg
  • Sugar or honey (optional)

Baileys creme: 

  • Creme Fraise
  • Honey
  • Baileys

How to make it: 

  1. Melt the butter and mix in the egg and milk
  2. Combine baking powder and flour in a separate bowl
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ones, until the batter is slightly thick
  4. Melt butter on the waffle iron and close it so it spreads
  5. Pour the batter on the hot iron, and turn (if it’s an old fashioned waffle iron)
  6. Mix the creme to taste

Enjoy!

//Louise

How to make Stone Age Bread (gluten free)

I’m currently spending some time at my best friends place, and she is an incredible cook. So when we bought some ‘Stone Age’ bread’ mix, she instantly said she could give me a better recipe than the premix. And then she did!

Stone Age bread is a made entirely up of seeds, nuts, eggs and oil. This combination makes it both gluten free and lactose free – as well as full of proteins, fibers and healthy oils (from the seeds and nuts). Another thing I love about it is how filling it is! Now lets get to the recipe and process.

Creating the recipe

Another great aspect of Stone Age bread is that you can customize it according to your own liking, and availability of different ingredients. The base ingredients remains the same – eggs, oil and salt – but the rest can be mixed however you want. Only rule is that the flexible ingredients needs to make up 600 grams all in all.

So just to make it completely clear – you create the recipe by choosing your flexible ingredients, as well as optional ingredients – while the base ingredients remains the same. The ingredients are:

Base ingredients: 

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dl oil (canola, sunflower, coconut, olive or other)

Flexible ingredients: 

1. Seeds: 350-400 grams

  • Sesame seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

2. Nuts: 150-200 grams

  • Almonds
  • Wallnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecan nuts
  • Cashew nuts
  • Macadamia nuts

Optional ingredients (added by eye measure):

  • Dried berries (cranberries, goji berries, dates etc)
  • Spices (salt, chilly flakes, garlic etc.)
  • Herbs (thyme, rosemary etc.)

How to make it

  1. Measure out your seeds and nuts and collect it in a bowl
  2. Add the egg, salt and oil and mix thoroughly
  3. Add any other optional ingredients and mix
  4. Fill the batter into a greased bread form
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 160 degrees for 1 hour
  6. Take the bread out of the form when it has cooled down

The bread will last for a week in the fridge. You can also cut it out and freeze it, and then toast the individual pieces before serving. Its delicious with cheese and different speeds. I had it this morning with some danish blue cheese and avocado. Yum!

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That was it for now. Feel free to leave a comment –

//Louise

Breakfast waffles (gluten free & optionally dairy free)

The other day I found an old fashioned waffle iron in a second hand shop, and absolutely just had to have it! One thing I love about Denmark is the well organized, high quality but still cheap, second hand shops to be found in almost any town.

I’ve never really taken any sides in the ‘is gluten bad for you’ conversation, but I do acknowledge that a lot of gluten products are high in fast carbohydrates and starch – which can be unhealthy if eaten in excess. For that reason I’m always experimenting with gluten alternatives in my baking and cooking, and of course I wanted to try this out with my waffles as well. I also made them dairy free, since a family member is intolerant, but they will turn out just as great with milk. In case you don’t have a waffle iron, this can be made as pancakes as well. I made them with some creme fraise mixed with honey and vanilla powder, topped with blue berries.

Ingredients (4 waffles): 

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  • 4 dl oats
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 dl rice milk, almond milk, soya milk or regular milk
  • 1 banana (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (optional)

How to make it: 

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a mixer or blender and blend till smooth
  2. Heat the waffle iron or pan on the stove
  3. Grease the iron with butter and let melt
  4. Make your waffles, greasing the waffle iron according to need (if using an old waffle iron you will need to turn it manually)

Since the waffles look like little hearts, they could make a pretty cute birthday breakfast or just as a Sunday surprise for a loved one. They can also be served with ice cream or whipped cream to make it more of a dessert, or even be made into food waffles – with some spices and herbs, but thats a project for next time.

Here’s the final result – and with that, I will end this post. Feel free to leave a comment or question below.

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