If you cannot eat the rainbow, at least eat your veggies.

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Simply cannot get enough of this dish at the moment. So ridiculously simple, so tremendously good. You have seen it all before, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper, leek, courgette, aubergine, sun-dried tomatoes and once finished topped with some low-fat feta cheese. Heavenly good.

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I have spent a good amount of time at the gym today, focusing on legs mainly. It was very busy, which is rather unusual during the summer but it was a ‘nice kind of busy’ if you know what I mean. People were focusing on their training and simply channeling that kind of ‘good’ workout energy. Normally I prefer to train alone, unless its with a Personal Trainer, but I love the company of other gym members. I love to learn from watching the super-fit people, the talented lifters and the splendid runners. They all serve as fabulous inspiration and motivation in my own fitness journey. But I also adore the beginners, the sometimes careful and insecure ones that seem to want to disappear into the walls when the machines make odd noises or when they cannot figure something out. And I love the many seniors, sometimes strong as oxes and more often than not they outrun me on the treadmill without breaking a sweat. I love the gym-family, when it is a good one. And I happen to be a member of a gym that has a lovely down to earth attitude, professional staff that also take the time to get to know you as well as carefully looked after machines and training areas. After all, the gym does serve as my second home, and it is important to me that it is a place where I as well as everyone else who spend time there, feel equally welcome.

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Anyway, post gym, I always want to eat something quick and healthy. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I tend to eat lighter during the day so a vegetable-based lunch is all I need really. I don’t feel the need to add another protein source, except for the feta cheese, as I hit my protein goals just fine every day. However, please note that I cannot be used as a general example of how you should eat, my diet is carefully controlled by my general practitioner due to my Hashimoto. If you struggle with weight loss or if you simply want to know what diet would suit you best, I recommend you to contact a professional (dietician, nutritionist or your GP) for adequate advice.

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It has been a lovely break to write this entry, but time flies and I have to get back to my psychology books for a bit. August is here and my next study year will ‘unofficially’ open up in September so it’s about time to get properly started now. This summer has disappeared in a heartbeat really, but somehow I still feel quite energised and happy and ready to take on another year. My second last one, kind of mind boggling to be honest, halfway there and through plenty of hard work and determination I have managed to get distinctions only up to this point. Hopefully it will be a lasting trend, I would love to finish with a first!

Early morning run.

Woke up at 6 am this morning and could not go back to sleep for some reason, so naturally I went out for a morning run. As you do. Was quite tired in my legs since Sundays run when I pushed both pace and distance further than normal and on top of that I had a rather tough gym and cycle session yesterday. But it is all good, sometimes that ‘drowsy’ feeling in the body is the best start because I believe that I can actually feel how every inch of my body wakes up during the warm up. How the muscles realise that ‘oh right time for that again’ and how the heart and lungs recognise the breathing pattern, adjusting themselves accordingly and pushing me into ‘awake’-mode. There is a beauty in early mornings and slowly waking up your body with a gentle jog, plodding on leaving any worries behind enjoying the moment. I also love early mornings due to the silence of the world, the empty streets and the beauty of the botanical gardens which I have the pleasure to run past. Though today did not turn out to be my fastest run, it actually became my longest one as it was that enjoyable and I didn’t feel like stopping.

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Once back home, I fed the cat (we are taking him to the veterinary today as he’s had a cold for a bit despite being vaccinated so we are very worried about him as he’s getting quite old and also suffers from Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and decided to cook myself a warm breakfast containing mushrooms and sundried tomatoes (obsessed!) so incredibly good and simple. I love anything and everything quick when it comes to food, though I wish that I had more of my fathers skills and patience in the kitchen as I really do not. In my opinion, as long as I have ate my greens, kept within my calculated calories for the day, well then I am one happy little bean really.

Sunday Run-day, beating the pollen!

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Big post-run belated breakfast (mushrooms, spinach, 2 eggs – easy, quick, delicious!), couldn’t decide if it was a good idea to head out this morning or not which resulted in waiting a tad too long. My body is quite used to waiting for at least an hour with breakfast due to taking my thyroid medication in the morning and being advised by my doctor to wait an hour or so until I consume any food. But running on empty is not my favourite thing to do, everyone is different when it comes to this but I like to have at least a little something in my belly. However despite lack of food in my body and pollen reports indicating ‘strong grass pollen‘ my greatest nemesis, I decided to at least try. Figured I could always head off back home if need be, most of the time I tend to feel quite quickly if its going to trigger an attack or not. So I packed my rucksack which I always wear during running (except for the occasions when my boyfriend tags along on his mountainbike, then he’s a gentleman and carries it) since I always have to bring my asthma inhaler (triggered by the pollen unfortunately other than that I have next to none asthmatic problems) and my EpiPen in case I get unlucky and end up having an allergic/anaphylactic shock. I know what you may be thinking now, why do I even bother to run outdoors when I can go to the gym instead? The answer is quite simple, where I currently live there is no air-condition in the gym which means that everyone opens the windows (would be unbearably warm in the gym if not so I don’t blame them!) which means that theres just as much pollen inside as its outdoors. So this means that I may be one of the few that sit around each evening before my next-day run and wish for an abundance of rain! Anyway, went out today despite a few pollen-fears and made it just fine, the utter happiness! Difficult to explain, but the post-run high is simply tremendous.

Vegetarians, meat-eaters and my reason for eating seafood.

Finally Friday and though I didn’t get to go to Prague this weekend it’s still lovely to have some time off along with everyone else. I started my day with a gym session which was lovely, I definitely enjoy hanging out in the gym working on and focusing on strength training. I have however switched from rather heavy weights to lower weights and more repetitions. I don’t know if its the right way to go or not but a lot of people with Hashimoto (whom are trying to lose weight) argue that its more beneficial so I figured I should at least try it out. Additionally, it was a good change as well since I am, at the moment, mainly focusing on improving my cardio fitness and not so much lifting weights. I guess its difficult to miss that I have such a ‘runners-mentality’ at the moment and I can barely wait to get back out there between my sessions.

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Todays lunch was not vegetarian, but perfectly yummy nonetheless! As you can see in the photos, its a gorgeous mix of yellow bell-pepper (about 40 gram), leek (20 gram), cherry tomatoes (40 gram), spinach (40 gram) and some prawns (about 60 gram). Quick and easy as I simply fry it all up together, starting with the prawns first to get them just right and then adding the veggies. While frying I also add half a lemon (the juice) since lemon is yet another of my favourites in the kitchen. Not only because it has a fabulous yellow colour (💛) mainly due to its delightful flavour and ahhmazing health benefits.

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I do try to keep most of my meals vegetarian, but since I cannot eat nuts and many other important sources of nutrition due to allergy, I will forever remain somewhat of a vegetarian. Many people find this hilarious, and I constantly have to explain my reasons for not always eating vegetarian food. Sometimes its a bit annoying how the modern world has this constant need to position everyone in certain categories. My reasons are many, mainly due to allergies but also because of my Swedish heritage and growing up by the coast, being on sailing- and fishing boats since I could walk, and watching my grandparents catching and preparing fresh fish is linked to most loved memories of mine.

I know this is controversial to some, but the way I see it is like this; I do not eat anything that I would not have the heart, ability and knowledge to catch and prepare myself. Simple as that.

There are huge differences between having the knowledge of how to catch and prepare your own food, and the many people walking the isles of supermarkets having no idea how the food ended up there, and even worse, find it morally acceptable to eat the meat once its packed up nicely but could not for the love of their life catch, hunt and prepare the food themselves. There’s no honor in that, and theres little understanding of the many negative effects our excessive meat- and fishing industry have on our earth as such. We have to be extremely mindful of what we eat, not only because it’s meant to fuel our bodies but also because its easy to become a hypocrite arguing one point and at the same time leading a completely different life.

Banana-pancakes and a bit of a Hashimoto rant.

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Banana-pancakes because…its Wednesday and I bloody well deserve it! I am having a great training week so far, but unfortunately not a so great Hashimoto (💀) week. Thus I have to head back to my doctor again and ‘force’ him to take a second look at my lab results (and take new ones) because something is not right. I do realise that I am very fortunate (so far) with only a few symptoms, but the ones that do happen are awful such as horrendous migraine esque headaches and the non existent weight-loss (due to an extremely sleepy thyroid) no matter how often or hard I train or how careful I am with my diet. And trust me I am not one to cheat, not a chance! I follow my recommended diet (and calories per day) to a tee! Mainly because I know that one cheat meal would ruin a lot more than that meal only. My sleepy thyroid does not burn anything and its a constant balance act to eat enough to cover vitamins, minerals etc but not so much that my thyroid will start collecting and storing. Trust me, it is very annoying! But really, the main reason to why I never cheat is because I respect myself, my body and the goals that I have put up for myself to achieve. Despite this, it is of course very dis-heartening when I over and over have to battle and try to accept the non existent results of my hard work. But I refuse to give up, so back to the doctors office I go…laboratory rat should be my first name really. They have taken so much blood from me by now that I most likely could donate to the entire population of Germany soon!

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Anyway, back to the pancakes right! I love banana-pancakes, they are free of guilt (and no, I don’t mean in the ‘sick’ way I mean guilt free as in no bloating stomach, fully calculated within my daily calorie intake and not bad for my Hashimoto!) and they are easy-peasy to make. Put two peeled bananas in the blender, let it blend till its rather smooth, add four eggs a bit (1 table spoon ish) of ecological vanilla powder and blend again. Heat up the frying pan and start frying. One difference that I have observed when it comes to ‘banana pancakes’ compared to ‘traditional pancakes’ is that they don’t need to fry as long. So keep an eye out and get practising on your ‘flip ’em over’ skills, I love doing that! Whenever I make banana-pancakes I usually make a batch which I can re-heat later in the week if I would like, but in all honesty, most of the time whatever I don’t eat usually end up in my boyfriends tummy. Sharing is caring eh!

Sunday vegetarian lunch.

When it comes to food I tend to stick to what I like to a great extent, this sometimes means that I repeat the same meal a few times during the week. I know that its not everyones cup of tea but I really don’t mind repetition as long as its healthy and something that I enjoy cooking and eating. I prefer meals that are quick, easy and based on raw products. As I’m not very skilled in the kitchen I don’t like complicated meals that take long to cook and may not end up tasting particular nice because you missed a small detail somewhere in the midst of things. Lastly, the meals that end up on my plate and subsequently in my body highly depends on what my local vegetable shop can offer at the moment.

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This week I purchased a massive bag of gorgeous spinach so that has naturally been a part of my daily intake, bell peppers (in various colours) and lovely tomatoes are always a part (hello glowing skin! 💫) of my regular food routine. For todays Sunday lunch I decided to leave out a heavier protein source such as quorn or soy products and instead cook a familiar and much enjoyed mix of leek, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers and a few sun-dried tomatoes filled with feta cheese. Seriously yummy and for us on a weight-loss regime, very lean and low in calories too!

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I have had such a lovely start to my Sunday, as my boyfriend is home from bouldering today due to a healing finger injury (climbing related) and as such we decided to start our morning with some gentle yoga. And what a fabulous way to start a morning that is! However, I did get a reality check on how much more I need to work on my different poses and flexibility but its okay I haven’t done much yoga in my life and we all have to start somewhere. I mainly want to increase flexibility but of course also gain strength that will benefit my running and help me avoid potential problems in the future. So this is a new routine that we have decided to incorporate into our weekly training schedules. Its also a lot of fun to be able to do something together as a couple since we for the most part train separately.

Morning run and vegan lunch.

It was raining all night, perfect for a morning run due to less amount of pollen and quite cool air which I prefer. Since I cannot run in the forest during pollen season I stick to the streets which I find very different to the soft tracks in the forest. Though I used to be a good runner back in the days, at this point in my life I most definitely qualify as somewhat of a beginner. As such I much prefer the shelter of the forest where I bump into less people and can focus on my breathing and form a lot more instead of keeping an eye on traffic (not to mention annoyingly slow traffic lights), pedestrians, cyclists and every now and then bumping into people that I know that would like a chat. Let’s just say that ‘street running’ is a completely different game than the solitude in the forest. However, not much I can do about it at the moment, since I can’t risk getting a nasty asthma attack in the forest due to the pollen. So not worth it! I just need to figure out a good ‘street route’ since the area where I live is extremely hilly (as in; hills that your worst nightmares are made of sort of hills) and I am not fit enough to take them on just yet. Not all of them anyway and it is difficult to go anywhere in this area without having to battle a couple of them.

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Moving on, and I have just prepared todays vegan lunch, since I had somewhat of a sturdy breakfast I quite enjoy a lighter lunch. I usually end up eating a bit ‘heavier’ tea, still mainly based on vegetables though, since that is the only meal that I share with my boyfriend whom isn’t following the same (for obvious reasons, since he does not have an under-functional thyroid) food regime as I do. So, on the lunch menu for today was this lovely mix of 20 gram delightful leek (check out the health benefits of this beauty!), 40 gram of fresh spinach, 50 gram of eggplant and 100 gram of chunky chopped cherry tomatoes.

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Once the vegetables are chopped in desired shapes and forms, I simply pop it all into the frying pan for a couple of minutes until its warm and casually blended. The smell from the leek in particular is divine, I am slightly obsessed with this vegetable, haha! Lastly, when the vegetables are just right I add about 100 gram sliced courgette (I use the potato peeler, which works perfectly fine if you do not have a proper slicer) and let it heat up till its texture has soften just nicely.

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Et voilà! Lovely, healthy and vegan. It may not look like the most filling meal but trust me it is a lot more satisfying than it may appear. Of course, this all depends on how active I have been during the day and what I have planned to eat during the rest of the day. But it is a lovely meal and rather quick, highly recommended! 

Vegetarian lunch and Hashimoto thoughts.

Sunny day and I have just enjoyed a lovely and quite light lunch. I suppose that it is no secret anymore that I adore spinach and try to eat it as often as I possibly can. However, as most Hashimoto sufferers I have to be a tad careful since it may cause the thyroid to act up and that is definitely very bad. A much annoying thing about having an underactive thyroid (and Hashimotos) is that there seem to be one million different advice to be found, and not many are based on scientific evidence and as such it is impossible to know which ones to trust. Therefore I tend to pick and mix the information as I please, I love spinach and I eat it within moderation and most of the time I cook it (it is supposed to decrease the negative effect on the thyroid) instead of eating it raw. I do envy everyone that does not have to think about all these things when cooking and eating, but these are the cards I have been dealt and I have decided that I am going to beat this thing. And by beating it, I mean making my body work with me again instead of against me, and I believe the path to achieve this balance is by healthy and fabulous food.

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Sometimes I eat this for breakfast as well as I quite enjoy warm lasting food in the morning. However, as most people know, when you base most part of your meal on vegetables and fruit the calorie numbers remain very low (I still count, since my thyroid isn’t under control yet) and you are free to indulge in food more often during the day and yet never get that ‘heavy’ feeling in your stomach. Saying this I also feel compelled to mention that ‘portion size’ of course need to be within reason no matter what. Because even if this kind of food isn’t calorie dense, the portion size still effects your physical body (stomach size) as well as psychological factors such as behavioural patterns and triggers to ‘over eat’. I believe that finding and remaining within the correct portion-size for yourself, is very much a modern day problem. Many people, including normal weight individuals, have lost much of the ability to recognise genuine feelings of hunger and the notion to stop eating when feeling sated and not full, i.e knowing your portion size.

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Anyway, back to this gorgeous lunch of mine! So, I start with washing the fresh spinach (about 110 gram) thoroughly, this is important because even though I shop from a local fruit and vegetable shop that solely deal with local farmers, it is still safe to assume that the veggies I purchase have been handled by quite a few people before it ends up in my kitchen. Additionally, washing raw spinach is also recommended when you are dealing with fresh spinach because I guarantee that there will be a bit of gritty sand and occasionally some happy caterpillars, don’t fret this is a good sign really(!), but you may want to set the little beasties free instead of making them a part of your meal.

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After I have washed the spinach I usually chop off the longer stems as I find that they tend to get a bit to stringy and I don’t enjoy that much. Personal preference, really – once that is done, I start frying the spinach and after a couple of minutes I add some fresh chunky chopped cherry tomatoes (about 40 gram). What is not shown in these photos is that I also add some raw broccoli (left over from yesterdays tea, about 60 gram) which have been lightly blended, heated and seasoned with half a lemon, gorgeous! And lastly I added two eggs for some protein, this can of course be exchanged for tofu or any other protein source if you would like to keep the meal vegan instead of vegetarian.

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Lastly, the finished product, perhaps not the most lovely looking meal of them all – but to me, this tastes like a little bit of heaven. I love how the raw somewhat ‘harsh’ and fresh taste of the lemony broccoli beautifully complements the much sweeter taste of the cherry tomatoes. I usually add a few raw (cold) tomatoes too as they bring out the flavours even more. I don’t tend to use any additional spices or so for this meal as I like the raw taste, but I am sure that it could be tweaked in many ways. I am by no means a master chef, quite the opposite, I have only just begun my adventures in the kitchen. So feel free to leave a comment below if you have suggestions or ideas.

Healthy Saturday Salad.

Dear hearts, it’s finally weekend and I have celebrated this beautiful Saturday with a 7 km walk along the fields with my sweetheart. We are currently enjoying 33 degrees (91.4F) and even though it is indeed lovely with sunny summer days the sudden heat wave is a tad unbearable and in particular when you are overweight. Last night when it was very warm as well I was trying to do my weekly jog but it was simply too warm and I got overheated quickly which resulted in lack of energy, not fun. I do tend to beat myself up a bit when I fail even though I know that there is a natural explanation for it. Anyway, new day today and I have been in a far better mood, I think our lovely walk in the sun sorted out the bad experience of yesterdays jog quite nicely.

So I was thinking of showing you all how I make one of my favourite salads, which is both quick and easy to make. I have come to realise that I tend to change cravings during the summer, the hot weather seem to make my body ache for lighter and more “watery” based food. Of course the natural explanation is that I sweat a lot more and therefore also need more hydration and that is probably one of the reasons, but I usually (even during colder periods) prefer the more tasty cold salad instead of warm carbohydrate source. No matter what, here is my contribution to a healthy Saturday salad, enjoy!

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I buy locally farmed and fresh spinach from a small vegetable shop nearby (I also buy all our eggs from there because they are true free range eggs in the sense that the birds actually do roam free and can behave as chickens do most, I love it!) and it’s simply lovely. Of course if you don’t care much for spinach you could always exchange it for fresh broccoli or some rocket salad. Personally though I totally love spinach and could most likely eat it every day if it wasn’t for the fact that I do enjoy some variety in my food too.

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Since spinach leaves are pretty huge I usually chop them up into smaller pieces, easier and nicer for a salad and in particular if there are people (such as my boyfriend) who doesn’t normally like spinach but doesn’t mind it when its all mixed up with the rest of the vegetables in a salad. Good stuff!

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Good to Know Facts About Spinach!

✩ low amounts of calories and fat ✩ contains soluable dietary fiber ✩ plenty of iron ✩ fresh leaves are rich source of vitamin A, C and beta-carotene ✩ excellent source of vitamin K which among other things helps to strenghten bone mass ✩ good amount of minerals such as potassium, manganese, magnesium and zinc folate which among other things support red blood cell production, allows nerves to function properly, help prevent dementias  last but not least its also rich in omega-3 fatty acids – ding ding jackpot is what I say about all these health benefits! 

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When its really hot outside (our current 33 degrees is really hot for a Scandinavian polar bear like myself) I try to add quite a few vegetables that are high in water content such as cucumber and lettuce (both around 94-96%). A fun fact is that even spinach with all its health benefits actually qualifies as a vegetable with a high water content landing around a whopping 92%. I know that a lot of health fanatics frown upon these vegetables due to this, but honestly, I love it – and in particular during the summer when we all could do with a bit more hydration in our diet. Saying that, it is usually during the colder seasons that most people tend to forget to keep themselves hydrated properly so stop frowning whenever a high water content is mentioned. I think that a lot of people are put off by the thought of a vegetable containing so much water, but what often is forgotten is that these vegetables also have other extremely useful health benefits as well as water. I mean, just look at spinach (and the rest of the vegetables in this salad) what a marvellous little thing that is despite its high water content!

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Good to Know Facts about Cucumber & Lettuce!

loaded with vitamin C the peel of the cucumber contains vitamin K so by all means keep the peel on! contains potassium a mineral that aids in metabolic functions, development of muscle tissue and protects from high blood pressure high in water content which helps you (and your skin) to keep properly hydrated

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At this point the salad is very green (see below), which of course is nice but to add a bit more color and a few more fibers I usually put in pepper, tomato and carrots as well.

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I try to buy mostly organic/ecological vegetables that are produced by the local farms in the area where I live, but sometimes I cannot and then that’s ok too. I don’t think that there is a point in being too snobby about these things even though if you can afford and are able to purchase the better alternative then of course I would always recommend it. Below (sorry about the picture quality, the colours did not come out the way I was hoping) some of the more colour popping vegetables of the salad. I usually settle for one pepper but sometimes I throw in red, green and yellow just for the fun of it. Normally I stick to 1 carrot as they tend to go a long way but of course each to their own, if your greatest vegetable love is carrots by all means grate a few and add it to your salad. There are no rules, only yummy enjoyment!

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I used to love tomatoes a couple of years ago and then all of a sudden I couldn’t stand them, I have no idea why but I suppose some of my taste buds must have changed (they do that every now and then during your life) so I have had to re-train myself to like them again. I mean, I think they are an absolutely beautiful fruit (cause yep it is actually a fruit and not a vegetable) but it has taken a while to get back into the swing of eating and enjoying them. However the health benefits of tomatoes are far too important to ignore or leave out of your diet.

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Good to Know Facts about Tomato, Carrot & Yellow Pepper

 the outer skin and the seeds of the tomato contain insoluble fiber which stay intact during digestion and push waste, easing constipation  tomatoes are also loaded with antioxidants like C and beta-carotene which helps lessen the risk of damage from free radicals the inner flesh of the tomato contain soluble fiber which when reaching your small intestine binds with water, creating a thick gel, slowing digestion and allows nutrients to fully absorb. Soluble fiber also picks up some of the excess cholesterol in your body helping to lower your blood cholesterol levels soluble fibers additionally slows sugar absorption, resulting in more stable blood sugar levels carrots are excellent source of vitamin A, C, Calcium and iron carrots also contain fiber, vitamin K, potassium, folate, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc yellow bell peppers (which I used today) contain niacin, which is a B vitamin that helps to keep your skin healthy,  help the nerves work normally and keep your digestive system working properly the right niacin levels also help your body to turn the food you eat into useable energy  yellow pepper also contains vitamin C and just like spinach, yellow bell peppers contains Folate

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Since I prefer a salad with a bit more interesting taste I usually add another favourite of mine, namely the fantastic vegetable leek! Its not only a beautiful vegetable (I mean just look at natures own ability to create one of the latest trends in interior decoration, dip dye, amazing!) it is of course also very, very (ridiculously so) good for you but that is probably not surprising to read at this point I suppose!

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Good to Know Facts about Leek

Leeks contain important amounts of the flavonoid kaempferol, which in research has shown to help protect blood vessel linings from damage contain important concentration of the B vitamin Folate which is supporting our cardiovascular system by keeping our levels of homocysteine (excessively high levels of homocysteine are a risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases) in balance  also present in leeks are impressive concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols which play a direct role in protecting our blood vessels and blood cells from oxidative damage current research (which unfortunately mostly have been focused on onion & garlic = fellow allium vegetables) expect to see leek providing measurable amounts of protection against several different types of cancer

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The finished product, I don’t know about you – but to me this looks super yummy! Some days I have this quick and easy salad instead of another source of carbs and only add a protein source such as a quorn sausage or vegetarian gyros or the like. I am not on a no-carb diet or anything along those lines, but I do believe that I used to eat far too much high carb food before my lifestyle change. It is so very easy to let the carbs run away with you without you even noticing it, well not until its too late anyway. That is why this salad is amazing, because it is filling, healthy and yummy at the same time and it is most definitely one of my greatest vegetable loves!