Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Health 2 slimming

Health program week 2

The assignment for the second week of my health program is to avoid (stop)  eating white bread and also to eat less bread. This will probably be more difficult than the assignment for the first week, which was to avoid added sugar. I like to have a few slices of bread with some cheese with my morning coffee. I found a linseed wholemeal bread at my grocer's, which works quite well. I will miss the baguettes though! Well, I suppose you can sin now and then and skip the regime at festive events.

Today we are celebrating my son's birthday. I found a recipe on a cake without any wheat flour and no sugar. I hope it will taste OK. It looked nice anyway. I will post a picture of it and the recipe, if it tastes as good as it looks on the picture.

The reason for avoiding wheat flour is the same as the reason to avoid added sugar namely to stabilize blood sugar levels.  So far I think that it has worked quite well. I rarely feel hungry and I feel more energetic. I can see some effect on the scales as well  -2 kg in 10 days. Not bad, even if most of the reduced weight loss will be due to less water being retained in the body. Carbs make you swell!

Spring has arrived in Stockholm, very much earlier than normal. The sun is shining so I do feel like taking a walk in the sunshine.
We have still to wait a month or two for the spring flowers to emerge and the forest anemones to cover the ground. But we now see snowdrops and crocuses budding.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

ART 2 Stockholm

Moderna Museet Stockholm

Stockholm has got several really good art galleries and museums. The permanent collections are of very high quality and some temporary exhibitions have been really awesome. Today we were a bit short of time to view the exhibition as the line-up for tickets were terribly long. We had to settle for only having  lunch at the Modern Art Museum Restaurant.
At the moment the work of Louise Bourgeois is being shown and at least we had time to have  a look   at one of her mother spiders "Maman".  

Hopefully we will have time to return to see more.



Actually another version of this spider is placed outside the Ottawa National Art Gallery.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Week 1 -inspiration



Actually everything is fine. Keeping the rule not to eat sugar has not been hard at all and I have even been able to tighten my belt a little bit. And why not indulge in some delicious fruit or berries for sweetness. For lunch today we had salmon, potatoes and lots of vegetables and strawberries for dessert. Yummy

N.B. If you want to minimize climate gas emissions from transports you should probably exchange the strawberries with an apple  at this time of year. I will need to better myself.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Health program Week 1

Who doesn't want to be healthier and more energetic?

No one, I assume. Well the other day I got a book written by a Norwegian M.D. Berit Nordstrand lining out a 12 weeks program, that would change your Lifestyle into a healthier one. The idea is to take small steps, changing  your habits into better ones gradually and without much effort. That sounded good, I thought, so why not have a go?

The task for the first week is to stop eating added sugar and products containing added sugar. Fruits of course contain sugar naturally, so it is not considered an added sugar. But all normal sugar, caster sugar, icing sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup should be avoided. That means no cookies, cakes,, buns, ketchup, pickles etc

The reason for avoiding sugar intake is to stabilize your blood sugar levels, 
Improved blood sugar levels  lower their risk for health issues such as heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, and vision problems.  Big swings in blood sugar levels increases the secretion of the stress hormone Cortisol, which in its turn increases your belly fat. So there are quite a few aspects of reducing your sugar intake that are motivating and inspiring.

You are advised to eat quite frequently, every 3-4 hours, so you will not get too hungry.

Results so far:
It has been no trouble at all to follow the recommendations. The only thing I missed once was some ketchup I usually put on top of my grilled cheese sandwiches, but this recipe worked fine as an alternative:
1. Fry  mushrooms and sliced garlic and put on top of a buttered piece of bread.

2. Place a thin slice of ham on top.
4. Slice a sweet paprika and a chunk of a leek in thin slices. Place on top of the ham. The paprika adds natural sweetness.
3. Add a generous amount of cheese on top and put it in a hot oven and leave until the cheese gets some colour.


It is even better with a salad on side

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Mr Middleton in Dublin

Spring was in the air in Dublin and Mr Middleton's shop had lots of plants on display in one of the main shopping streets. Colourful Primroses and different kinds o shrubs.  I passed several times, but in the end I gave in and went inside. The shop was packed with bulbs and seed packages. It was terribly tempting to leave the shop with a bag full of seed packages, but I restrained myself and chose Coriander, cylindrical beetroot, courgette and celeriac seeds.
I was particularly happy to find the celeriac as I have failed finding these in Canada. Celeriac is one of my favourite vegetables that you can use in many different ways. One is to just roast chunks of celeriac together with carrots, parsnips and yellow onions in the oven. Put Rosemary, Garlic and sprinkle with some olive or canola oil on top. Season with salt and pepper and let cook until well done. Serve with any meat like steak, chicken, pork chops, hamburgers.... Delicious!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


We are now back from a little trip to Dublin, where we  experienced spring, some art exhibitions and a lot of pubs. Dublin must have the highest density of pubs in the world. I haven't consulted the Guiness' book of Records, but it appeared to be the case. We did visit the Guiness Brewery though and its panorama Bar, where you got an amazing view over the city. Below the Brazen Head, oldest pub in Ireland.

We also saw pigs all over the place.This was not a result of excessive drinking, but  Pigs on Parade is a public arts initiative presenting 100 unique pieces of art in the form of painted and decorated life-size fiberglass Pigs designed by leading artists and designers  on display in public accessible areas around Dublin City. Here you find one sample.

Monday, 16 February 2015


Spring - not really

More snow than ever in Nova Scotia this February and the temperatures are low. It would be a challenge to even get out through the door. Hopefully southerly warm winds will melt the snow away as I plan to return shortly. I don't think I would manage to clear this driveway.

Photo Brian Sabean

Saturday, 14 February 2015


Z├ęphirine Drouhin rose

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, 13 February 2015


A new buzz word

A couple of days ago I met a former colleague at a party and she mentioned a new buzz word used when discussing strategies for a sustainable development.
The word is nudging. So I thought I would give you an update. I was told that a research report was published as late as December 2014 and I have just glanced through the report*.

Nudging is not about changing people's values but it's about arranging the choice situation in a way that makes the desirable outcome the easiest and most attractive option. It is applied to help people bridge the gap between good intentions and good deeds.

Sounds sensible. It is well in line with the motto I (we) had working on sustainable consumption – make it easy for the consumer to act in an environmentally safe way.

One example could be to simplify and frame complex information making key information more salient – e.g energy labeling and displays.
Change the physical setting – layouts and functions in order to make it more convenient for people, show good examples with clear steps and reminders etc.

Of course nudging is not enough to change our life styles into sustainable ones, but in combination with other policy tools, it could be useful.


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Rosa Rugosa Alba

White Rugosa roses flower primarily in spring, but also have sporadic flowers until autumn. The flowers have a lovely fragrance. It is extremely cold-hardy & very sun-hardy. Its ideal is temperate coastal maritime conditions, thus it thrives in my garden. The shrub reflowers over a long period, the hips are ripening serially early summer until mid-autumn. I usually leave the hips on the shrub as they are very decorative, but ripe they can be harvested for jellies or other uses.

As with a regular pink rugosa, white rugosa roses sucker & spread into thick six-foot-tall & wide ground cover. They can be restrained with regular removal of suckers, but left to their own devices can sometimes spread quite rapidly, forming impenetrable walls of stickery canes.

I usually get rid of the suckers with the help of my mower, but last summer I dug up one and transplanted it into a new small border. My plan is to create a border with just white flowers. Hopefully the new plant will survive the winter. I am most eager to see the result, and will post a picture when spring has arrived.

The shrub needs to be pruned once a year to keep the shrub in shape. This should preferable be just before spring.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


It does definitely not feel like spring right now, but the days are getting longer and soon....

Maybe we can start up the season with sowing some seeds into little pots indoors? Tomatoes and peppers does need quite some time to grow big enough plants to place in the greenhouse, when it gets warmer.

Some seeds should absolutely not be sown now. I did that mistake with broccoli and kale last year and they germinated right away and grew into very tall useless plants, due to the lack of light. They had to be thrown away. When sown at the right time later, they turned into excellent plants.

My little cat Molly is very interested in gardening.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Maud Lewis

Maud Lewis (1903-1970) is a well known Nova Scotian artist. She was an autodidact who lived with her husband in a tiny little house in Digby. This little house she decorated meticulously, almost every inch she covered with her painted ornaments. It has after her death been moved to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. The exhibition of Marie Lewis' paintings and her restored house is well worth a visit.


Maud Lewis is a popular artist and her naive paintings are well loved and copied. Below to the right you find an attempt on my part together with two pictures that I made from the waterfront in Port Lorne; one in acrylic and one in water colour.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Mary Rose

Mary Rose is a beautiful rose that my sister gave to me a few years ago.  It is a hardy reliable garden shrub of medium size with well-shaped, twiggy growth and nice foliage. It is a David Austin Rose, and the fragrance is described by his company as follows: The delicious fragrance is of Old Rose character with a hint of honey and almond blossom.  Size 4 x 4ft.

It is lovely rose and I often cut a few off and put them in a vase so I can enjoy its fragrance  and beauty also indoors. They keep for several days

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Arts & Crafts

In our area there are several talented artists and the environment does inspire  your creativity. In our little village we have both a crafts group and a painting group. Not far away in Annapolis Royal you find the ARTsPlace  with art exhibitions, interesting lectures and workshops.

Betty's cat Rascal painted by Charlotte Klofver

Arts & Crafts Charlotte Klofver

Monday, 2 February 2015


Did you know this about singing?

Music brings about dramatic effects on your brain according to Dr Gunnar Bjursell, professor at Karoliska Institutet (Stockholm Medical University)
We earlier believed that damages on the brain were permanent, but today we know that the brain can be influenced by the proper stimuli and has the ability to repair and rebuild itself. Music is a strong power giving relief from pain and angst. Study after study has found that singing relieves anxiety and contributes to quality of life
Singing together in a group (or choir) has a calming yet energising effect on people. It is like an infusion of the perfect tranquiliser, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.
The elation may come from endorphins, a hormone released by singing, which is associated with feelings of pleasure. Or it might be from oxytocin hormone released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why still more studies have found that singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness. Singers have been found to have lower levels of cortisol, also indicating lower stress.

So what's stopping you from joining a choir, going to a Church with lots of music, a music jam or a sing-along event?? A cure with no negative side effects. Perfect