You can find me now on http://www.with-an-open-mind.com 🙂
As you might have noticed changes are happening around here. Since this blog is partly a reflection of my life and I am going through a huge change myself right now which doesn’t seem to stop soon, with me going abroad, graduating next year and who knows what will happen then… I considered to start from point zero, tabula rasa and just make a complete switch to a new blog. But I decided myself against it. My love for cooking and passion for healthy living is still there and will remain a part of the blog and furthermore I also made so many good friends, met amazing people, who read and comment and offer an ear when I need it. I feel so blessed due to all of the support you guys offered recently and I was brought to tears experiencing the solidarity of our community. So I won’t completely give up on Health Ninja, just change it to make it a better fit for what will happen in my life that I want to share with you.
Firstly: a new name. I have the feeling that after three years of blogging I’ve outgrown the old one. Renaming the blog to “With An Open Mind” feels like a better title to embrace my move to France, the search for a new job, the creation of a new life. Accordingly the social media accounts are renamed and I’ll get a new .com address in the next days, while also, finally making the jump to self-hosting.
Secondly: my old categories are rearranged to allow a wider range of topics I’d like to talk about. Healthy living, recipes and fitness will surely still be a part of it. So will be intuitive eating, which I will keep writing posts about. But I also want to write more about what happens in my life (back to the roots of blogging, when blogs where used mostly as online diaries), learning a new language, exploring France, Online Marketing, my field of studies, and people who inspire me.
Finally: it’s not a biggy. But Health Ninja Weekly might not be a fitting name for my weekly round up and link up any longer. It is still a thing I’d like to keep around, since it helps people to get a better overview and also spread the love by sharing blogs, posts, pictures, ideas, inspirations… So, any ideas how to rename HNW?
Despite the chaos of changing I hope that you bear with me and stick around. Writing was an outlet for me since I knew how to and blogging gave me the opportunity to publish and share my written words without making writing a profession (aka my moms worst nightmare).
Just a quick pop in guys, since I am crazy-busy with reading papers and books for my master thesis. To lighten things up a bit, until I come back with a damn-delicious fall recipe tomorrow, I thought it would be a good day to share some of Jane’s worldly wisdom and learn something about self-love.
So you two can be fabulous together!
Have a beautiful Friday evening rocking your awesome-self!
It’s Food For Though Tuesday, since I felt like sharing some of this crazy ramble in my head and truth be told, writing it out always helps me to see things clearer, too. The topic is “being reckless” and how afraid we are to hurt people with our decisions, even if they are necessary to be made. Let me give you a few examples from my life.
Number one, a current topic on my mind: quitting my “job” (aka master thesis, which I’ve been writing on behalf of a company). It took me quite some time to make this step, not only because of the work I already put in and the financial safety, but also due to the people involved in this project. My professor, who put me in contact with the company and the two amazing associates, who had the idea for this project and helped me with everything I needed. So would not quitting and finishing my master thesis as planned be the right thing to do? No. First, I would never produce as good results as someone who is passionate about this project and puts all his/her heart into it. And second, I wouldn’t do myself a favor regarding my future job choices in the field I’d like to work. Sometimes you need to be reckless and take a chance.
Number two, a mother taking care of her family and putting them first all the time. My mom is a lot like this and I love her with every inch of my heart. But truth be told, sometimes you just have to put your own needs first, or your own misery will affect those close to you. A few years ago my mom took a big chance in choosing to go back to university, redoing her Russian graduation in teaching and becoming a primary school teacher, again. Was it more work for the rest of the family to take care of themselves and some of the housework? Sure it was? Was it a mistake that she chose to pursue her dreams instead of being a twenty-four-seven mother and wife? No. Though my younger brother once confessed that he missed her being around all the time (and that’s coming from an 18 year old), she needed this for her personal happiness. This job is her call and she enjoys working with those kids every day. I love my mom even more for being this strong person and making it through university again, with the age of 40.
Number three, is a hard one. A friend of mine just started a new relationship and she is walking on clouds. I am overly happy for her. She deserves this so much and went through a lot of bad and destructive relationships before. Nevertheless, I pointed out something I consider a mistake at the beginning of a relationship, since I did the same thing a few years ago when I started dating Jay: Spending all of your time with this person at cost of friends, family and study/work. When we fall in love and it happens that the other one reciprocates our feelings, suddenly nothing else seems to matter than being together with this person. But we do also have other people close to our hearts we’d like to spend time with and we have duties, that will not wait. What to do, if the decision to spend some time on these things disappoints our new partner? Shall we give in and forget everything else that our life consists of? No. The rose-colored glasses will clear up again and when the relationship evolves it’s important to not be sorry for the things you lost in the beginning: a group of friends, the close relationship with a family member, a great job opportunity. Of course friends and family will be supportive if they see how happy you are. But if this phase lasts for months and months, even the most understanding of them will feel a bit left behind. I for myself lost a lot of friends in the beginning of my relationship with Jay. And if I could relive it, I would consider spending some more weekends with my friends instead of always joining him and his circle of friends.
Here you have them: three situations in which being reckless is kind of a necessity according to my opinion.
What are your thoughts and experiences on making decisions that might not be the best for all parties concerned?
Today I’d like to share a story with you, which I saw recently in a cabaret of the German comedian and former clinician Eckart von Hirschhausen. A big hug to Sina, who showed me this clip. It made me reconsider an important decision regarding my studies – but more on this at the end of the post.
Here’s the story retold in my words, since sadly the clip is only available in German language:
A few years ago Dr. Hirschhausen traveled on a cruiser ship to Norway. Relieved to have solid ground under his feet again, he decided to take a walk and visited a Zoo. In this Norwegian Zoo he noticed a penguin, staying on a rock. And he thought: “Look at this poor thing – such small wings, stocky size and somehow the Maker also forgot it’s knees. Misconstruction, for sure!” But suddenly the penguin jumped into the water and Hirschhausen watched him swimming round and round slack-jawed. Penguins are amazing swimmers. With the energy from 1 liter gas they are able to swim 2.000 km. That is better than anything ever constructed by mankind. And just seconds ago he assumed this stunning animal to be a misconstruction. The penguin reminded him of two things: A) how fast he jumps to conclusions and how wrong those can be if you don’t know a person well enough and B) how important the setting is to bring out your strengths. People cannot change completely and fundamentally: if you were born as a penguin even 7 years of psychotherapy will not turn you into a giraffe. Thus, a good therapist will not start talking to you about why you think having a long neck is so important or what this has to do with your childhood; instead he is going to ask Who are you? What can you do? What do you want to do? Where do your strengths lie?. Strengthening your strengths is so much more useful than meddling with your weaknesses. And if you are one of those people who always think But I should be more like other people, here’s a little comfort: There are already enough other people in this world. Everything we need to do is to determine if the setting is right for us. And if you are a penguin and your are sitting in the desert, it is not your fault if it isn’t working out. You need to pitter-patter towards your water, jump… and then you know how it feels to be completely in your element.
(for the few German followers)
After watching the short (3:30 min) clip I sat there stunned and impressed. My first thought: this needs to be featured on the blog this week. With other posts in line, it did wait in my subconscious and had quite an influence. I mentioned before that I am currently writing my master thesis. I wasn’t sure about a topic when I visited my supervising professor in July. Everything I was passionate about, like non profit, health and social economy, social media marketing, seemed not to hold water for a master thesis, especially considering that jobs in the non-profit marketing sector aren’t a dime a dozen. So when my professor forwarded an offering a company made to her recently, suggesting that I write about a more practical topic and that it would be great for my resume if I created an added value for a company, I was easily convinced and signed the contract a few days later.
Now comes the not so fun part, the topic itself: Customer expectations in the German fiscal advice market. And the company I was writing the thesis for is a big international auditing and fiscal advice firm. At first I thought, fine it’s out of my comfort zone, I will proof to everyone that I can do it and afterwards it will look superb on my resume. But with the weeks flying by my bellyache got worse every time I started to think about the thesis, my motivation shrunk more and more and I became jealous of every other person telling me about his or her exciting bachelor or master thesis. The final push came when I started to look out for jobs. Since I will get my masters degree around next May, I need to start seriously applying by the end of December. Researching which job opportunities are out there, that fit my preferences, strengths and believes, I noticed that my master thesis would do me no favor, since it really doesn’t reflect any of them and most jobs I’d like to apply to ask for skills in fields I merely worked in or studied. Thus I am not only wasting time torturing myself with a topic I’m not passionate about, I also would need to put a lot of extra effort in picking up skills for what I actually wanted to do with my life.
Thursday morning I decided to stop this nonsense. Since then a lot happened: I asked for advice from people who are close to my heart and/or have experiences in this field. The answer was unanimous: change the topic. I asked my professor for a phone conversation, which we had yesterday. Of course, she wasn’t keen about it, but she understood and said that it was my choice in the end. I researched on the topic I’d like to write about: Online Marketing. I got a few e-books and a reference book. I reserved a huge list of literature in the library. I wrote an outline with my ideas for the thesis. And now the only thing left to do is also the hardest one: Talking to the two amazing associates who hired me and telling them that I will quit the thesis. I hope that Tuesday afternoon I will finally get rid of this constant belly ache and worrying and can start to enjoy being back in my “water”.
Props if you made it through this wordy post. I hope you liked this more serious topic and like always I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!
First, this is post will not describe the next new eating trend, it is not about the paleo movement nor any other ancestral diet. I’d like to share some thoughts and inspire a discussion. But beforehand I want to be clear about that I don’t condemn any way of eating or diet, some stuff works for some people, other works for others. I am also not a dietitian or doctor or anything and these are just my personal thoughts and ideas without any scientific background. Phew, enough of the disclaimer already!
The whole idea came into my mind when I met my friend in Cologne on Saturday and we chatted over a cup of Starbucks cappuccino. I had mine with soy milk, a remaining of my vegan time, that I still prefer over the Starbucks cappuccino with regular milk. My friend mentioned how she would have never thought that I would go back from eating vegan one day. She remembered how happy and convinced I was and how I enjoyed all the healthy, delicious meals. And she isn’t wrong. When I think about the first months or even 3/4 year of eating vegan I was enjoying it and felt all right. I never had experienced the sudden rush of energy, or thriving on the vegan diet like others described it, but I enjoyed the food and didn’t feel deprived. It took some time for the first cravings to creep in: Christmas candy bars, cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream and eggs. I didn’t mind not having meat… until I stayed in the hospital, due to my appendix, and the doctor discovered that I was anemic – not only did I lack iron, it went so far that I had anemia. Thus I started supplementing to get enough iron and though I hadn’t noticed any symptoms of anemia before, with the time I became more and more lethargic, unfit and started losing a lot of hair. From that point on I decided that my body was definitely asking for red meat and I ultimately broke up with my vegan diet by going for steak dinner with Sina.
Somehow our chitter chatter ended with an interesting thought: since our ancestors adopted evolutionary to live of animal as well as plant based foods, my body was probably just not able to handle such a drastic change in diet. As I might have already mentioned at some point, I was born in central Russia and both, my mum and biological dad, were Russians. Some of you sure know that Russia isn’t famous for a pleasant climate and you do not get fresh fruits and vegetables year round. Russian people mastered the art of fermenting their vegetables (you’d probably tasted Russian dill pickles before) to make them durable. They also cook a lot of jam out of summer berries. But dairy, meat and eggs as well as potatoes and grains where necessary to make it through the winter months. So is it possible that this heritage influences the way I eat today?
About a year ago I started to re-introduce meat into my diet and I feel healthy and happy eating animal products as well as a variation of fruits and vegetables. I do also love to eat soups, which is something I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner when I was little, since this was an affordable meal which kept us full, like my mum told me. And think about my oatmeal breakfast love: in Russia porridge is a classic breakfast food for children and adults. Dairy is another topic: I don’t know a country which eats as much dairy as Russia. Salads are usually mayonnaise based, a common meal is tvorog with cream, my favorite ice cream Plombir is an ode to dairy.
Another phenomenon that my mum noticed is that she always looses a few pounds when she’s visiting relatives in Russia for some weeks. And it’s not like she is eating especially healthy or less than usual. She is always invited for huge meals and beautiful cakes, since in Russia every celebration needs a cake (as well as a vodka, but that’s another story). My mum gained a lot of weight in the years she lived in Germany and I assumed that this was mostly due to all the deprivation she experienced living in Russia and being poor. But could it be that she just thrives eating the way she was used too and her body doesn’t cope well with all these new foods she wasn’t raised on?
I always thought I knew it all better – the way I was raised was unhealthy and I got fed with all the wrong foods. But actually with me it was the same as with my mum: I had a normal weight before we moved to Germany and I became chubby during my childhood here. So was restricting myself from all the foods I ate throughout my early childhood just plain stupid? Not that I am thinking that you cannot gain weight on a diet that you were raised on. Emotional eating and other factors that lead to weight gain still exist.
Anyway, this post wasn’t intended to be about weight, but more about food intolerance and what our body uses best to get the energy and nutrients it needs. As I mentioned in the beginning I became anemic on a vegan diet, but I know a lot of people who are healthy vegans and need nothing more but a B12 supplement (a vitamin that you merely can get naturally on a vegan diet). Could it be that due to genetics my body is worse in making use of plant based iron than others?
Pelmeni (minced meat filled dumplings) with sour cream and the only vegetable in sight are the sprinkled herbs on top.
Or my favorite Russian food, which I could eat for lunch, breakfast and dinner:
Blini, very thin Russian pancakes, either served sweet with jam, sweetened condensed milk (drool), curd and honey or savory with minced meat, cabbage or fish – just to name a few variations.
White flour was something I tried to avoid since I turned 16. It was quite hard to accept that white flour isn’t the enemy and my body handles it well. I am also definitely not gluten intolerant. And it’s hard to believe that gluten isn’t a bad thing as long as you are not intolerant, with all the diet media out there claiming gluten to be the new foe, working together with the villains dairy and fatty meats. Fatty fish on the other hand was acquitted of charge and made it from villain to superhero overnight. We could go on with this story, but let me refocus on what I initially wanted to say: for me it seams to be naturally to thrive on grains, dairy, all kinds of meat and fish (you won’t believe how many different fish species you can get in Russia, they think it’s funny that we have just one name for “salmon”) as well as a lot of different vegetables during summer time, pickled in winter and also berries and fruits. And that is how I eat today, after years of depriving myself, condemning a lot of these foods as unhealthy and feeling miserable not having them. Could it be that what I eat and how I eat is despite everything I thought and believed determined by my genes?
What do you think? I’d really like to hear some opinions on this topics and your own experience!
There are blackberries growing all over my neighborhood. Yay, for free food! So while picking blackberries yesterday evening I notice how philosophical my thoughts become. So, I’d like to share with you some of my “blackberry picking wisdom” and some beautiful pictures.
we always long for what is not in our reach
if it’s not ready for picking, let it grow
take as muchas you need and leave the remaining for others or later
close observation is better than grabbing mindlessly
there will be some thorns on the way
there are enough berries for everyone
Hope you enjoyed this slightly different Tuesday post.
What activities lead you to philosophize about life?
Today was date
night day and Jay and I enjoyed our Sunday eating pancakes, chilling in my bed watching movies and going out for dinner (more on that tomorrow).
Thus I decided it would be a good day to share some of the strange search engine terms that lead people to my blog:
“heaven with a hole in it” – no comment necessary
i am a 12 years old girl taller than my brothers pics – I bet that is a cool thing, though I didn’t quite understand what you mean by that and I really don’t know how my blog could help with it
dirty cereal bowl breakfast – do I have a recipe for that? If so, please link it up in the comments I’d love to have this for breakfast tomorrow.
bethenny frankel naturally thin ate too many cookies – seriously? I highly doubt that Bethenny had a decent cookie in the last 40 years of her life and if you read her book or my review on that term, you will notice that there is nothing natural about her being so damn skinny.
sample for 60 year old cupcakes Urghs. Who wants to have that?
what will porridge cinnamon and ginger do for me Your math homework, clean up your room, fly you to the moon and back, probably – but I am sure that it fills your tummy till the next meal.
man in coma after juicing for a week – sounds quite shocking, now I need to start googleing – thank you very much.
ninja smoking when making cookie dough – tell me, WHAT?!
is carrot cake good to eat when detoxing – sure, so are chocolate pralines pasta Alfredo and margaritas – I call it the “undiet detox” which leads to inner peace and happiness, you should give it a try!
coffee and chocolate sure make my day – Amen! Finally someone who I am sure found the right blog! Hello, welcome in Health Ninja land, take a seat, grab a cup of coffee, let me offer you some chocolate and let’s have a fabulous time together!
Ever wondered if you go to fast? If all those things you heap on to your shoulders might get to heavy at some point? If stress is a constant state in your life? You probably should. I have always been a person who functions great under pressure. I tend to learn better, fulfill tasks more efficiently, get things done that I would usually postpone, but just recently I started wondering if this is something to be proud of or something to avoid. After a semester full of workload from classes, papers, exams, part-time job, charity work, organisational stuff, networking… I feel like being on vacation now that I merely have any tasks left: writing a master thesis, working two days a week, charity work and a marketing related youth organisation. If I read it like that it seems like still enough on my plate, but somehow it all feels so much easier now that I actually have time to blog regularly, visit friends, read a book, take a walk, spent some me-time, wonder what I really like to do with my future. Slowing down feels good to me and is something that I can just recommend to everyone.
Today I would love to share a few tips how to slow down your everyday life and get this vacation feeling in:
- get up an hour earlier and do some yoga – start your day on a good note
- take the train instead of the car – does not only save money and cause less air pollution, but also makes time for reading, letting your mind go round, watch people, talk to friends
- prepare your meals and make them look beautiful – also take time to sit down at a table and enjoy every bite, since nothing tastes good if it is gulped down in a hurry
- keep your work where it belongs: in the office
- take real breaks: for lunch break get up from your desk and move somewhere else
- walk to the stores to get your groceries
- find what you love doing – get passionate about it
- spent time with those you love, they make your life richer
- shut everything down one hour before bedtime and read – calm your mind before falling asleep
- Savor the moment.
How do you slow down?
The time has come to finally talk with you about one of my passions since third grade. I was 9 years old when I set foot in my first library. Books over books over books all containing different exciting stories, smelling like adventures and discoveries – I was hooked. Always been the kind of child who pesters everybody with questions and wants to know it all, I found my own nirvana. I got my first library card and started borrowing books like a mad (wo)man. Ten in a months was not unusual these days. I wasn’t into playing outside, I prefered bringing a book with me, climbing a tree (or a haystack) and read for hours. Some things have changed since then a) I do enjoy to go out an play (=socialize) nowadays and b) with the beginning of my studies I suddenly needed to spent my free time reading books for study purpose, not out of fascination. Some things haven’t: I still love to read, I just needed to learn how to make time for it.
Today I’d like to start a blog series in which I share some of my recent / favorite reads and you can add yours in the comment section. I love new reading inspiration!
Book number one on today’s list was actually a bloggers recommendation: Jenna from ELR mentioned it in one of her posts and I ordered it straight away. This is exactly the kind of book written for a food blogger. Beautiful poetry, a fascinating life story and heart warming recipes. Why aren’t all novels constructed like this one? If you need the story of a novel to be thrilling, this book is probably not for you. But if you are like me and enjoy the beauty of words and thoughts and french cuisine, you should give it a try. Oh, and if you like it, you should probably also consider reading Jennas book, since it has a quite similar style.
Book number two is no newby here on HN. I’ve mentioned before that Michael Pollans food philosophy does a good job in pointing out what is wrong with todays nutrition and how to do it right without putting yourself on a constant diet. Some quotes to show what I mean: “Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” and “Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot.” and “Pay more, eat less.” I think everybody should try to follow his recommendations when it comes to our everyday diet. When all those new dietary studies start to confuse me, I just flip it open and read a few pages and everything is clear again.
What a strange translation. The original title “El Mago” means “the magician” and equals the German translation. I don’t really like the English interpretation of the title, but I bet it has some marketing strategic reasoning. My boyfriend gave me this biography as a present for my birthday in April. It was the best surprise since Paolo Coelho has been one of my favorite authors for years and I did not even know that there was a biography published. The best thing about the book? You don’t need to read it all at once – it is fine to be read chapter by chapter and digested for a while. I have still 2/3 to got, but hey it took Coelho 60 years to live through all this life condensed in the book, I guess it is alright if it takes me a few months to read it.
Oh and so you know what will be comming your way in the next post: Here are the books I am starting to read now (yes, I do read several books at the same time; but I have just started the first of these):
- Sean Pidgeon – Finding Camlann
- Hanif Kureishi – Something to Tell You
- Carlos Ruiz Zafón – Marina
So tell me about your favorite books and what you have been reading currently!