This weeks healthy hearty soup is Carrot, ginger & turmeric soup! The combination of flavors is just divine AND the benefits to our bodies from fresh organic ginger root and turmeric root are NUMEROUS!Read More
When I first get started with what I call soup-season I just want to eat soups everyday. The way hearty thick soups give nutrition, energy and warmth to your whole body is addictive as the degrees are dropping. And when you need healing after a tooth extraction / oral surgery like me.
This weeks creamy spicy pumpkin soup is like the sweetest and most flavorful party my taste buds have ever experienced. And it's the most healing dinner I could think of today...Read More
Yum it's summer-time & it's time for watermelon! Read more for ancient facts about watermelon from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective as well as some fun serving ways from Danish minds!Read More
I'm not a big baker... I just find that homemade cakes are cakes made with love (especially when they are heart shaped)!Read More
I believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is where we "break the fast" our body has been under for many hours and where we stock up the energy needed to Attack the Day.
So we need to eat a lot and we need to eat right. Most mornings in our home we make big healthy breakfasts with greens, grains & proteins. With coffee on the side, oh don't forget the coffee (:
But some mornings my body doesn't feel like a big feast. Or I don't feel like cooking. Or I don't have the time (this happens very rarely as I always make sure to have time in the morning, nothing worse than rushing from the beginning of the day!) But on these days I replace my greens, grains, coffee & protein with A BIG YUMMY BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE!
Fruit and Vegetable (I prefer a mix) are super super yummy and gentle to your digestion system in the mornings. Remember that no matter how yummy and healthy the supermarkets pre-packed smoothies look, they are probably packed if not with sugar then with additives to make the shelf live longer. DYI (Do It Yourself).
Nothing like a morning smoothie routine and starting each day with this healthy addictive habit - you should try it!
Mango-Banana Breakfast Smoothie
1/2 big mango or 1/1 smaller mango
50 g of muesli/oats
1 cup of soymilk
1 cup of water
TIP: Add spirulina powder for a green version
Blend, serve with ice & enjoy
A Typical Breakfast in our home
Avocado on rye bread, egg, greens & a Sweet Kiwi Treat. Coffee and water on the side
Under the Spotlight: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been a dietary and beauty staple for centuries. With the booming of health and wellness related topics, in the past few years coconut oil has gained a reputation for being one of the healthiest foods, a so-called superfood. According to the latest trends, the beneficial uses of non-hydrogenated, virgin coconut oil allegedly range from cooking to cleaning, from skin care to pet care, helping to prevent a number of illnesses and improving your overall physical conditions: a true panacea for universal remedy!
Some nutritional information
One tablespoon of coconut oil contains about 117 calories. Like all other oils, coconut oil is 100% made of fat, with little to no vitamins and minerals. Unlike other oils though, its fat structure is unusually high in medium-chain fatty acids or triglycerides (MCTs), which are directly processed by our bodies and easily transformed into energy by the liver. Other oils and fats instead, are rich in long-chain triglycerides that are difficult for the body to break down and therefore get stored as fat tissue in our bodies.
The belief that medium-chain saturated fats, such as the lauric acid, may not actually influence the levels of LDL-c or “bad cholesterol”, is the reason why so many nutritionists advocate for the health benefits of coconut oil.
Many experts argue that one of the benefits of consuming the MCTs contained in coconut oil is that it can increase your energy expenditure, boosting your metabolism and helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
The consumption of coconut oil can even reduce your hunger, making you feel full for longer and therefore producing weight-loss effects. Some small studies have shown that men who ate most MTCs for breakfast would eat significantly less calories during the day.
Another study on obese women and men has shown that implementing 30ml (1 ounce) of non-hydrogenated, virgin coconut oil into your diet, all without changing any other eating or fitness habits, can lead to significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference.
The MCTs in coconut oil, and more specifically the lauric acid, seem to be effective in killing harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent bacterial and fungal infections. In fact, our bodies convert lauric acid into monolarium, one of nature’s most effective anti-virals, antibacterials and antifungals. Some research has shown that coconut oil is effective in treating skin and respiratory conditions.
Moreover, coconut oil is also regarded as a “miracle” toothpaste by many dental care experts. You can use it for your oral hygiene, against tooth decay and to kill the bad bacteria and yeast living in your mouth.
The other side of the coin
The mainstream health community attributes even more benefits to coconut oil, from reducing epileptic seizures and risk of heart disease, to preventing Alzhaimer and cancer. Even though currently this seems to be the prominent opinion, a number of nutritionists and researchers are still skeptical about the benefits of consuming this oil and recommend only a rather moderate use. In fact, many still believe that the consumption of all oils containing saturated fats is to be limited in people’s dietary habits, as they could harm the cardiovascular system causing coronary risk.
Use it for your personal care!
If you can’t make up your mind about the health benefits or risks of coconut oil, you can surely follow our suggestion on this one: it’s amazing as a natural body and hair lotion!
Commercial moisturizers are not the best choice when it comes to taking care of your skin and hair. First of all, they contain a lot of water which only moisturize your skin for a few minutes, until it dries out. Moreover, many of these brands are petroleum-based and contain chemicals that can harm and suffocate your skin and hair.
In contrast, coconut oil provides deep, long-lasting moisture. It’s amazing as a lip balm when in its solid state, and perfect as a body lotion on its liquid state. It helps heal your skin and the underlying tissues. It clears your skin from the dead cells that make it rough and flaky in texture, leaving it smooth and glowing. Coconut oil works the same way also for your hair as it moisturize and protect them, keeping them healthy and shiny.
This article is by Ludovica Damonte. Read more about Shanghaihabits' food editor here or continue reading to learn a few smart uses of coconut oil from Shanghaihabit's Line!
I've always used oil for my split hair ends. I rub a small amount in at bedtime, braid it and let the dry ends soak up this natural wonder elixir during the night. If I know I'll be washing my hair the following morning I'll exaggerate the amount a little bit and use it as a natural mask. But I always try to avoid the top as oil can be difficult to wash entirely out and it can make your hair look really greasy.
I've used Morrocan oil, argan oil, olive oil and now my absolute favorite is coconut oil. I've used it over a year now and my hair feels super healthy & happy. For this reason I've also started adding it to my brows in the evening - to make them grow thicker and more characteristic.
I use coconut oil for skin care as well. I rub it on my skin in the evening or mornings and use it to massage my body parts and get the blood circulation going. I'll even use it in my face in the evenings, I swear it is a miracle treatment for face lines and dry cheeks.
Last year I started getting smal whiter spots/areas on my upper arms which really freaked me out. My doctor in China said it was sun damage and my Danish doctor said skin fungus. So I ended up getting totally different treatments (fungus: soap & keep dry, sun damage: thick lotion & keep moist). After not seeing any result from either I threw both soap and moisturizer out and started consequently using coconut oil on my arms every morning and evening. After 1 month my arms where both back to normal. I'm still not sure what it was but for skin fungus or skin rash coconut oil will help because it's anti-bacterial and for sun damage (not sun burned!!) it will help repair your skin as it is super moisturizing and healing.
When I travel I like to travel light so I leave all products behind and consequently use coconut oil for dry hands, dry skin, make up remover, dry lips etc.
I don't fry a lot when I'm cooking but if I do I'm consequently using coconut oil. The flavor it adds to a thai dish or do roasted vegetable is so yum! I also use it as a butter or vegetable oil replacement in cooking. Even though it's high in calories I truly believe it's such good fat and it will smoothen you inside and make you whole system run so much better. And as we've seen above - it prepares your body to burn lots of calories during the day.
Ever heard about fat black? That's one of the newest terms in the world of coffee. A black coffee with a tea spoon of coconut oil in the morning is said to kick start your metabolism, increase your energy level and make you feel less hungry throughout the day. I haven't made this a habit but I've made it a few times (with some milk added as I am a proper latte lover) and it is actually super yum. Different but yum. My boyfriend makes his with a teaspoon of real butter which is another variety of the Fat Black... He swears that this shot of caffeine and fat makes him feel super energized for so long!
And 100 other things
There's lots of other ways to use this natural wonder and lots written about it. Check this article with 101 uses for Coconut Oil and make sure to get a hold of organic coconut oil and get started. Best sources in Shanghai would be online groceries like Fields.
At Shanghai Habits we do believe that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step! No need to confine yourself into strict regimes, simply follow a few wise recommendations for your new healthy lifestyle & enjoy 2015 responsibly!Read More
Back from cozy Christmas holiday in Denmark and straight into busy-everyday-working-life in Shanghai. Trying to fit aaaall these hobbies, duties & errands into a tight schedule - and staying healthy at the same time. Not always easy! Though Shanghai has a lot of healthy food options when eating out, I find it so difficult to make healthy choices if I need a quick to-go breakfast on my way to work or if I don't want to eat local noodles for lunch - again.
As my mornings are super busy with yoga classes, getting ready and getting to work in good time (I like being in good time) and as my work is located in a super local neighborhood I often find myself in this situation. In order to not having to rely on lemon water, bananas & lattes to fuel the start of my day and to avoid turning into a noodle (!) I have started to plan my healthy habits a little bit better.
If I want to eat more healthy during a busy working week and on-the-go, I find that weekend-planning for that week is vital. It makes it easier, cheaper & much more enjoyable!
My sister's lentil patties were the first thing that came to my mind when I started thinking about ideas for yummy food that can be cooked, frozen and eaten on the go. In Denmark we always have these portion-packed in our freezer and when attending family dinners where the main course is often meat me and my sister bring lentil patties. These yummy treats are packed with natural protein from lentils & nuts and they go so well with most sides. After they've been frozen they can be eaten cold as a snack or bake them in the oven and serve for dinner as a meat replacement.
This time I made a biiiig portion and I experimented with using my bread forms to make lentil pates - that turned out to be such a good solution! You avoid having to fry so many individual patties - just bake the lentil-pate in a form for approx 1 hour or until golden. Cut out in slices and freeze for later use. I also froze 7 bags of lentil patties after this cooking session. Perfect to have vegan topping for salad, vegan filling for wraps or a quick vegan snack for next week's busyness!
400 g red lentils
2 carrots, grated
2 big onions, grated
50 g nuts, roasted and chopped
Fresh herbs (coriander or basil, dry can be used as well)
3 cloves of garlic
50g of oats
1-2 cubes of vegetable stock
Coconut oil for frying
Cook the red lentils in filtered water for approximately 30 minutes or until they have turned into a thick liquid mass. Pour out excess water and cool down so it's not boiling. Grate carrot, onion and mix with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, I use a blender or food processor. Mix everything together and add oats until the mass is thick and not too wet.
Fry small patties in olive oil at low heat. You need to keep them small to avoid a mess and use heaps of olive oil (natural oil mmmm). If you prefer you can use a kitchen towel to dry the patties from excess oil after frying. Don't worry if they seem too soft and uncoocked when you take them off the pan, they will set when they cool down. And as they are both meat & egg free, there is really nothing to worry about (:
Don't hesitate to customize and add your favorite ingredients like nuts, seeds, herbs and flavors!