Wednesday 29 February 2012

Have you decided on dinner for tonight?

Why not try this on, it’s very nice easy to make.
Let me know what you think

Salmon Lasagna

Ingredients (serves 5)

  • 500g smoked salmon
  • 1 big bunch dill
  • Enough lasagna noodles to make four layers in a baking pan
Béchamel Sauce

·         2 cups milk                                                                      
·         ¼ cup unsalted butter
·         ¼ cup unbleached flour
·         ½  cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
·         ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkle on top


Béchamel sauce

1.    Melt the unsalted butter with the flour over low heat.  Stir rapidly. Cook this for 1 minute and remove from heat.

2.    Slowly add the milk to the mixture, constantly stirring into a thick sauce.

3.      Season with some sea salt, and continue stirring until the right consistency has developed. Remove from heat and add parmesan.

Preheat oven to 225C. Cover the bottom of the dish with salmon, and cover the salmon with dill, then a third of the béchamel sauce.  Put a layer of lasagna down. Repeat two more times. Top with a final layer lasagna sheets of and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Yours in Health & Fitness,Birgitta

Monday 27 February 2012

Sitting all day can be a killer

Sitting all day might significantly boost the risk of lifestyle-related disease even if one adds a regular dose of moderate or vigorous exercise, scientists said today.

The health benefits of pulse-quickening physical activity are beyond dispute - it helps ward off cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, among other problems.

But recent scientific findings also suggest that prolonged bouts of immobility while resting on one's rear end might be independently linked to these same conditions.

"Sedentary time should be defined as muscular inactivity rather than the absence of exercise," a team of Swedish researchers concluded.

"We need to consider that we are dealing with two distinct behaviours and their effects," they reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Led by Elin Ekblom-Bak of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the scientists proposed a new "paradigm of inactivity physiology", and urged fellow researchers to rethink the definition of a sedentary lifestyle.

They point to a recent study of Australian adults showing that each daily one-hour increase in sitting time while watching television upped the rate of metabolic syndrome in women by 26 per cent - regardless of the amount of moderate-to-intensive exercise performed.

Thirty minutes of daily physical exercise decreased the risk by about the same percentage, suggesting that being a can cancel out the benefits of hitting treadmill or biking, for example.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of three or more factors including high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high cholesterol or insulin resistance.

New research is required to see if there is a causal link between being sedentary and these conditions and, if so, how it works, the researchers said.

One candidate is lipoprotein lipase, or LPL, an enzyme that plays a crucial role in breaking down fat within the body into useable forms.

Recent research has shown that LPL activity was significantly lower in rats with restrained muscle activity - as low as one-10th of the levels of rats allowed to walk about.

The LPL level during such activity "was not significantly different from that of rats exposed to higher levels of exercise", the scientists reported.

"This stresses the importance of local muscle contraction per se, rather than the intensity of the contraction."

These studies suggest that people should not only exercise frequently, but avoid sitting in one place for too long, they said.

Climbing stairs rather than using an elevator, taking five-minute breaks from a desk job, and walking when possible to do errands rather than driving were all recommended.

So every time the phone rings get your bottom for the chair and answer the phone standing up, and while you are getting more active add my 5-minute work-out as a routine before your lunch break and before your afternoon tea.

We need to be kind to our body, no one else will!

Yours in Health & Fitness,Birgitta

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Add a bit more “I can” to your life 

Is there an age too young to start exercise or an age to old? The simple answer is NO.

Is there an age limit to tying on running shoes? If there is, it may be older than you think. Annie Crawford is a fitness instructor who’s used to coaching people in their 40s, 50s and older who once thought they couldn’t run  - and now know the buzz of crossing a finishing line in a nine kilometer run or a tougher 21.1 kilometer half marathon, know that there is no limits - only benefits.
Research from Stanford University in the US suggests that the reward from sticking with running might be better health in the later years too.  A 2008 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine following 500 runners for more than 20 years found that the runners – by then in their 70s and 80s - had less disability, less heart disease and less neurological disease compared to a similar group of non-runners.
People think that when you run you have to run really fast – and that’s what makes them give up. But you start out slowly until you’re fitter – you can be running at the pace of brisk walk until you fitness improves. In the beginning you jog/walk for 15-30 minutes and gradually increase the pace to a slow jog after a couple of weeks. People gradually get faster without realizing it.

My parents are 85 and they make sure to keep their aerobics training up. My dad still does his jogging, even though he thinks it is too slow now days, but doing his 1,5km in a slow jogging pace really keeps him young and healthy. My mum can't keep up her jogging any more, but she uses the exercises bike to keep her fitness up. 

Exercising as you get older can be very rewarding, and you will also have the feeling of how muchyou can I do.

Yours in Health & Fitness,Birgitta

Monday 20 February 2012

I made soft-shelled fish tacos for dinner last night, and it was really nice. With 32 grams of protein and 7 grams of total fat it makes it a great dinner. I even had some left-overs to for lunch.
Soft-shelled fish tacos
1 mango, diced
2 limes
bunch coriander, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
720g firm fish fillets
1 small iceberg lettuce
80g baby spinach
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, sliced
1 chilli (optional)
Serves 4
Combine mango and juice of a lime with a tablespoon of coriander and the onion. Add chopped chilli if desired. Cook fish for three minutes a side until cooked through. Squeeze a little lime juice over the fish, sprinkle with coriander and remove from the heat. Plunge iceberg lettuce into cold water - this helps separate the lettuce as you remove each leaf. Stuff leaves with spinach, tomato, avocado, fish and mango salsa.


Yours in Health & Fitness,

Thursday 16 February 2012

In the head of a Personal Trainer

 People often tell me – It’s easy for you to exercise because you have always done it and you have those genes. Yes, I was born in an active family where exercise was a natural part of life. But I exercise because I have made it part of my life, I feel good when I’m fit and my body doesn’t struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

I have a wonderful job where I’m giving the opportunity to help people to a fitter and healthy life, but at the same time it is sad to see how unfit our societies have become.

How can we say that 70 is the new middle age when we have twenty years old with age related diseases due to bad eating habits and an inactive lifestyle?

 Our bodies deserve a long healthy, fit and happy life.

You hear a lot about living a healthy lifestyle, but what does that mean? In general, a healthy person doesn't smoke, is at a healthy weight, eats healthy and exercises. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
The trick to healthy living is making small changes...taking more steps, adding fruit to your cereal, having an extra glass of water...these are just a few ways you can start living healthy without drastic changes.
Despite the enormous expenditure on health, which is crippling many economies today, the incidence of the two great diseases, cancer and heart disease continues to rise.
So if there are simple changes which you and your family can make which could greatly reduce the risk of developing crippling illnesses or prevent an early death, then don’t you want to try them?

One of the biggest problems in world today is lack of activity. We know it's good for us but avoid it like the plague either because we're used to being sedentary or afraid that exercise has to be vigorous to be worth our time. The truth is, movement is movement and the more you do, the healthier you'll be. Even moderate activities like chores, gardening and walking can make a difference.
You can start the process of a fitter body now by adding a little more activity to your life. If you're not ready for a structured program, start small. Every little bit counts and it all adds up to burning more calories.

·         Turn off the TV. Once a week, turn off the TV and do something a little more physical with your family. Play games, take a walk...almost anything will be more active than sitting on the couch.
·         Walk more. Look for small ways to walk more. When you get the mail, take a walk around the block, take the dog for an extra outing each day or walk on your treadmill for 5 minutes before getting ready for work.

·         Do some chores. Working in the garden, raking leaves, sweeping the floor...these kinds of activities may not be 'vigorous' exercise, but they can keep you moving while getting your house in order.

·         Pace while you talk. When you're on the phone, pace around or even do some cleaning while gabbing. This is a great way to stay moving while doing something you enjoy.

·         Be aware. Make a list of all the physical activities you do on a typical day. If you find that the bulk of your time is spent sitting, make another list of all the ways you could move more--getting up each hour to stretch or walk, walk the stairs at work, etc.

·         Enjoy exercise. Incorporate whatever you like doing into your fitness routine. Do you like nature? Do a bush walk. Do you like raising money for charity? Enter a charity run. Do you want to spend more time with friends? Go for a walk with them or play a game of tennis together. Why not have Saturday morning as a set time for husband and wife to go for a walk or a run.
This was my day today; 6.30 am woke up and had a cup of hot water with lemon. Did my training session, today it was a session in the gym doing back, bicep, legs and core. Then it was time for breakfast, oats, sunflower seeds, linseeds, cinnamon, sultanas, and almonds, a bit of Special K and blueberries and strawberries with milk and a cup of tea.

I always have a glass of water after breakfast; it is a good routine to make sure that you have plenty of water in the morning. You are dehydrated after a long night and you need to get the balance right in the body again.

Time for clients.

Lunch, I had left over red lentils soup, perfect for a rain day. After a cup of green tea mix with rooibos tea, our dog knows it is time for her walk.

I didn’t have any clients in the afternoon, but I met up with the physiotherapist that I’m working with. It’s a 15 minutes’ walk to where we are meeting, so I took the opportunity to get some extra steps in and walked there.

Back home, and was already time to prepared dinner.

As you can see; I haven’t done any extreme amount of exercise, but I have used daily activities to be active. And that’s what it is all about making you daily life more active, and making sure we feed our bodies with healthy energy. 

Our bodies deserve a long healthy, fit and happy life.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Sunday 12 February 2012

50 years young! - Age is just a numer 20,30,40........
What is it that makes us old? The longer time I spend in the health and fitness industry, the surer I’m that we make ourselves old.

Of course we have a biological part of it that we can’t do anything about, but unfortunately I think our thoughts do more damage and aging to our body than actual biological aging does. If we think “I can’t do this because I’m old” or “This is how I look because I’m old”, of course we are going to look and act old.

My observation is that as we age two different body types occur, soft with excess body fat, or thin with no muscle mass. Why not have a fit and tones body and feel strong and full of life?

The key to a great body is to maintain muscle mass. I’m not talking about a muscle mountain, just nice and firm to stop wobbly arms and muffin tops.

After the age of 30 there is a loss of approximately 3.5% of muscle mass per decade. Metabolism slows down and weight increases. Metabolism is the energy expenditure (calories) it is hard work to run the vital functions of your body (heart, lungs, nervous system etc.) when at rest. Weight training can raise a person’s metabolic rate for as long as 24 hours after exercising.

A weight training program can do wonders for your body shape, health and wellbeing. Research has shown that significant improvement can be made at any age, so it’s never too late to start. The American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM) states that; “weight training is the only type of exercise that can slow down and even reverse the decline in muscle mass, bone density and strength that was once considered inevitable consequences of aging.”

So if we keep thinking “I’m too old to lift weight, or there is no point in doing weight because I’m old and this is how an old body looks”, then we will definitively look old and act old. Until we begin to think and act like the person we aspire to be, we will never attract the life we seek.

There are many people how are on a diet or a training routine today that will never have a chance to lose the weight or change their body because they’re still the same person that gained that weight or lost control of their body to start with. Healthy and fit people don’t think and act the way they do because they are healthy and fit. They are healthy and fit because they think and act like a healthy and fit person.

To get what we want, we need to change who we are. To change who we are, we simply need to change the way we think and act.

Are you telling yourself how good you feel when you have a healthy light meal? Or are you focusing on how much you miss you chips and hamburgers? Are you telling yourself how strong you feel and how good you look when you do your weight training sessions? Or do you focus on how impossible it is to get the flat stomach and toned arms? When you integrate the power of your mind and thoughts into your workouts, or anything else for that matter, what you can achieve is boundless.

So join me in the wonderful journey of looking after the most prized possession, our body, and be proud of your body you live in! We can always do renovations, but we need to have a picture of the outcome and really look forward to live in that!!!!!!!  

Yours in Health & Fitness,


Thursday 9 February 2012

Three days mini cleanse

I don’t believe in depriving yourself of certain foods, but I do believe we all need every once in awhile some quiet time to give our self and our bodies some good food and fresh energy.

This is short “reenergize” and “refocus” journey. Plan three days when you know you can be mostly free, and focus on looking after your body.

Remember to drink plenty of water during the three days, but you will also so have a special “cleanse-drink” that you will drink through-out the three days.

Try to avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol during the three days.


Squeeze one lemon into one liter water.

Add 5 whole cloves and 5 tsp of maple syrup.

Day 1

7.30am          Start the day with a glass of cleanse-drink and then do a short    yoga session

9.00am          Breakfast – oatmeal porridge with 1 tsp maple syrup, 4 chopped walnuts,

4 chopped almonds, same cinnamon and a handful of blueberries

10.00am        45 minutes good pace walk

11.00am        Snack; handful raspberries and same almonds  

1.00pm          Lunch – Quinoa (cook 1 dl) with season vegetables 

3.00pm          One hour good pace walk

4.00pm          Fruit smoothie


1cm fresh ginger

                   1 lemon

                   1 orange

                   2tbsp maple syrup

                   A little bit of cardamom

                   A little bit of cinnamon

                   A little bit of cloves

                   1 tsp crushed linseed

                   1 dl water (if you need)

6.00pm          Dinner – Spinach soup

8.00pm          Snack – Herbal tea and handful almonds

Day 2

7.30am          Start the day with a glass of cleanse-drink and then do a short yoga session, or go for a short walk

9.00am          Breakfast - oatmeal porridge with 1 tsp maple syrup, 4 chopped walnuts,

                   4 chopped almonds, same cinnamon and a handful of blueberries

11.00am        Green smoothie

Squeeze one green apple, mix that with a handful spinach leaves and one banana add one deciliter of water

12.00am        One hour good pace walk

1.00pm          Lunch – Carrot & Lentil Soup

                   Serves 2


1 tsp olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
200g (7oz) carrots, chopped
650ml (1 pint 2fl oz) vegetable stock or water
30g (1oz) green lentils, picked over & rinsed
juice of ½ small orange or 1 mandarin
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
salt & pepper

Warm the oil in a heavy pan, add the chopped red onion and cook gently, allowing it to brown a little, for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes before adding the stock or water and the lentils. Cook for 20 minutes and then add the orange or mandarin juice.

Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs and drop them into the soup (reserve some for later). Cook for 5 minutes and add some black pepper. Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little and then blend, adding more liquid if you prefer a thinner soup. Reheat gently, check the seasoning and serve, garnished with the reserved thyme leaves.    

2.00pm          Yoga session

4.00pm          Snack - Fruit smoothie

6.00pm          Dinner – Bean Salad

                   Serves 1


20g (2/3 oz) dried haricot beans
20g (2/3 oz) dried black-eye beans
40g (1½ oz) dried chickpeas
1 small red onion, chopped
6 olives, chopped
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
salad leaves eg. rocket, corriander & flat-leaved parsley
a handful of small

For the dressing:

1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
black pepper
½ tsp wholegrain mustard
½ tsp clear honey

Soak the haricots, black-eye beans and chickpeas overnight, keeping the haricots separate. Drain and rinse all of them, and put the haricots into a small pan with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently. When they are beginning to soften, add the chickpeas and continue cooking until tender.
Put the black-eye beans in another pan, cover with fresh water and boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender.

Make the dressing:
Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, mustard and honey in a jar, close tightly and then shake well.

Drain the cooked beans and rinse with fresh water. Put all the beans in a bowl and add half the dressing. Then add the chopped onions, olives and tomatoes, and mix well. Check the seasoning.

Mix the salad leaves and dandelion greens in another bowl and pour the other half of the dressing over them. Toss and then arrange on a plate, leaving a gap in the middle for the beans. After the beans have been added, serve.
8.00pm          Snack – Herbal tea with handful of walnuts

Day 3

9.00am            Breakfast - oatmeal porridge with 1 tsp maple syrup, 4 chopped walnuts,

                   4 chopped almonds, same cinnamon and a handful of blueberries

11.00am        Green smoothie

1.00pm          Lunch – Vegetable soup

4.00pm          Snack – Fruit salad, kiwi, banana, orange, apple, raspberries and chopped nuts

5.00pm          A short yoga session

6.00pm          Dinner - Quinoa with roosted vegetables, seasoned with garlic, cayenne pepper and ginger

8.00pm          Snack – Herbal tea

Enjoy the wonderful feeling of a relaxed, calm and re-energized body! 
Yours in Health & Fitness,




Tuesday 7 February 2012

A different salad for dinner, go Swedish!

This such a nice salad to serve with meat, chicken or fish. It last in the refrigerates for about four days so you can use it for either lunch or dinner for a few days.
The Swedish Super Salad

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • ½ cabbage head  
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion, red or yellow
  • 250 g fresh spinach
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, roasted and chopped
  • 1 fresh squeezed lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp gourmet salt
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper


Shred cabbage and carrots finely. Mix with spinach and hazelnuts,
and squeeze lemon over.
Mix the dressing by steering garlic with little of the olive oil and egg.
Add a bit of the olive oil at the time mixing it into a mayo looking
mixture.  Add all the spices and mix together. Pour the dressing over
the vegetables, cover and leave it in the refrigerates over night
to make the taste really settle. Enjoy!
You can leave it in the refrigerates for four days.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Saturday 4 February 2012

The amazing power of exercise

For the last 6 months I have been studying and reading about the amazing power of exercise on the brain. I have been reading Dr John Ratey’s articles and books, and I would like to share with you some of the fantastic research he has done.

John J Ratey, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Research Synthesizer, Speaker, and Author, as well a Clinical Psychiatrist maintaining a private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has lectured and published 60 peer reviewed articles on the topics of Aggression, Autism, ADHD, and other issues in neuropsychiatry.

Dr. Ratey expressed openly his passion about the benefits of even moderate exercise; one doesn't have to run 5 miles a day to see improvements in attention, energy levels and mood. Even brisk walks around the block can help.

 Dr. Ratey, "Exercise is the single most popular tool we have to optimize our brain function....exercise not only makes us smarter; it also makes us less stressed, depressed and anxious." In fact, his books and articles isn't only about exercise and how it improves ADHD, stress, depression and anxiety symptoms; they also include information on addiction, hormonal changes and aging.

Dr. Ratey heard about a Physical Education project in Naperville, IL schools where all students were exercising daily, in an attempt to improve NAP scores and health and fitness of the students. In studying these children, Dr. Ratey found something interesting- the exercise was improving the student's ability to learn. Until then, most research on the benefits of exercise focused on seniors' health. Dr Ratey started to use exercise as part of his treatment for all his patients. Now, it became clear that exercise helped not only children, but people of all ages who struggled with more than just weight and obvious health issues; but with psychiatric and other challenges.

Some of the things Dr. Ratey discovered:
  • Exercise increases brain-cell production in the hippocampus; the brain's center for memory and learning. Thus, it improves cognition.
  • Exercise combats stress hormones and helps in the production of antioxidants.
  • Exercise improves anxiety, panic and worry almost as fast as medications.
  • If you move your body, it tricks the brain into coming out of hibernation and reduces symptoms of depression.
  • Exercise boosts norepinephrine and dopamine, which is exactly what ADHD medications target.
  • Exercise staves off addiction cravings. For smokers trying to quit, 5 minutes can help with the associated irritability.
  • Women report significant improvement of PMS symptoms.
  • Those over 60 who exercise regularly at 60 to 70 percent of their maximum heart rate led to a size increase of the brain's cortex.

Many find starting an exercise routine to be nearly impossible. But for those with ADHD, it's imperative. Dr. Ratey states that for those with ADHD, exercise will increase focus and decrease impulsivity; there is less of a need to fidget and move; and there is increased mental clarity and focus.

Dr. Ratey explains that if you miss a few days or even a week or so, your brain will respond again quickly- as soon as the second day back on track.

Dr. Ratey discuss how the latest research is clear about how lifestyle influences the mental hazards that coming with aging, and how the same things that kill the body kill the brain. Running to lower our blood pressure and strengthen our heart also keeps the capillaries in the brain from collapsing or corroding and causing a stroke. Lifting weights to prevent osteoporosis from devouring our bones releases growth factors the make dendrites bloom.

Getting older is unavoidable, but falling apart is not. Exercise is one of the few ways of counter the process of aging because it slows down the natural decline of the stress threshold. Exercise is preventive medicine as well as antidote. Age happens. There’s nothing you can do about the why, but you can definitely do something about the how and the when. And the sooner you start the better chance you have to body and brain fit and healthy.

Whatever time or type of exercise you choose, there's one main thing to remember. As Nike so smart expresses it, "just do it."

Yours in Health & Fitness,