Awesome, Nutritious Pancakes

If you’re looking for a more nutritious pancake recipe, try this one!!!! It is delicious, easy and literally takes minutes to prepare. It has every nutrient that you need to start your day, not just insulin spiking, processed carbohydrates and sugar that regular pancakes are famous for.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 ½ cup of kefir, natural flavor
  • teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 2 mushed bananas
  • ½ cup of shredded coconut unsweetend

Put top four ingredients into the blender and blend well.Pour mixture over bananas /coconut and mix well. If you would like them sweeter add a tablespoon of honey and mix it in. Fry on a frying pan in coconut oil. I make them the size of hash brown or latke. This recipe will make 6 or 7 pancakes.

I made different variations. I used milk or buttermilk instead of kefir. I also used shreded apples instead of bananas and coconut flower instead of regular. They all taste great. We eat them with honey, marmolade or nut butters. Whatever we have on hand. They also freeze well so make sure you make double batch for all those busy mornings! Very healthy and nutritious.

Stay Healthy on the Road

Since we’ve made the decision to wander around the world for a while, my biggest concern has been our health and well being. How were we going to deal with sickness on the road? Where were we going to find a good doctor in a new place? What if we had an emergency… Where are we to go? All these questions were spinning through my head until I got dizzy.

There was not much left to do, but to get ready. I got on my favorite websites, visited my naturopath, doctor Evelyn Asher and realized that prevention is the best way to go. I knew that most common diseases start in your gut, so healthy intestines are key in fighting off all kinds of bacteria and viruses. Evelyn assured me that maintaining a healthy, whole, real, made from scratch foods diet was crucial.

At home, it was easy to get all the unprocessed, raw, locally grown, mostly organic foods. But on the road, it was a whole new ball game. Many times we walked out of a store with empty hands, because everything was processed, chemically altered, genetically modified and out of a box. However, thanks to Robert’s love of back roads, we were able to find products at small food stands in the country. It was mostly produce, but also locally grown meats, honey, and raw dairy products.

Along the way, we have been on a constant lookout for “edible” foods, feeling like modern day hunters in the overly processed and plastic world. When we found a good store, I would buy more to keep us going for the next day or so, but not more, since all we had was a portable cooler.

In addition, all of us went on probiotics and fish oil supplements. Not just any. There are a lot of expensive and worthless products, but there are a few good and inexpensive ones too (we use Primal Defense and Nordic Naturals). I put it in smoothies for my children and they never know the difference.

We also packed some essential oils, like oregano and eucalyptus. The first one is a natural antibiotic that you can not develop resistance to, and the second is a great natural and DEET free bug repellent.

You may say, that it is expensive, too much hustle, time consuming… Yes, it is all of those things, but the rewards are tangible. If it was not for the ticks that bit Nadia or a recent 2 day fever for Alex, my kids would have made a year without any kind of health issue. How is that for a saving on copay’s at the doctors offices! Yes a year… That is a great result for a travelling child, sleeping in different places, eating new foods, being exposed to all kinds of germs and regularly going to school in Mexico.

Writing this post, I have probably jinks-ted myself and now we are all going to get sick, 😉 but here it is, I’ve said it. To me it is worth every penny and every minute, it is my long term commitment to let food be my medicine so cheers and let’s raise our glasses… Mine is filled with jugo verde! 🙂

Fitness on the go, how I stay in shape while travelling.

Most of my adult life life I have been working out on my own. I say most, because I divide my life into two eras: „before kids” and „after kids”. „Before kids”, I am not even sure if I was an adult… maybe just on paper :-).

Anyway, belonging to a gym or taking regular classes are pretty darn tough when you have a family. Who has time for that, right!!!! Time gets a totally different meaning, you wonder how much more can you do with 5 minutes and sleeping for prescribed 8 hours is not an option anymore.

I could not get through all that if I did not excercise, I swear. Fitness to me is means of producing energy. Without it I would be sleepy, lethargic, tired and I would certainly not be able to keep up with my kids, who are NEVER EVER tired.

I was wondering, how I was going to fit it into my schedule while driving for few hours every other day, sleeping in tents and not being able to take any props with me (except for my bicycle and strech band).

Well, when you want something you can become pretty creative. Here is what I did before we got to San Miguel. I woke up an hour before the rest of the crew and went for a run or rode my bike. It was a great experience because we stayed mostely in National Parks, so I got to enjoy the beautiful sceneries and nature. My favourite was Hunting Island beach, the hard sand was perfect for both, running and cycling and the view of the endless ocean was very calming for my mind. Cardio is great but strengh is also escential. I created something that I call playground fitness. I would take my kids to the playground and instead of sitting on a bench just watching them play I would workout… not for long maybe 20 minutes. I started with jogging 5 times around the playground, then I would alternate between pullups on the mankey bars, pushups and tricept dips on a bench. I did few rounds and I was done for the day. The most challenging where pullups, but I started with one and gradually was able to do more. Old school excercises, but they make wonders for your body, mind and the strengh that you gain is unbelivable.

Now in San Miguel de Allende (SMA), I have much more freedom. Since we stay in one place and in a APPARTMENT I got to be much more creative and change it up a little.

I still run in the mornings. I walk my kids to school and then jog back home. It is pretty challenging since most roads here are cobblestones but on the other hand balancing on it sculpts your ass in a way you never thought was possible 🙂 I also have my favorite P90X on my laptop, so I do it 2 or 3 times a week. You need weights for that, so I made my own from gallon water jugs. I also jump rope on the rooftop terrace of our house when I do laundry.

Since we have been staying here for a while, I was able to take some yoga classes, but I am still searching for the perfect one. Either the time, the teacher or the style does not work for me. Today I tried kundalini yoga and I am positive it is not the right fit… too calm for my personality and I do not own an animal fur rug that they used as a mats 🙂

It all would not be possible if I was working full time. I would have to limit my workouts or get up at 4:30 am like Jen H does:-) I am very grateful to be a SaHM (stay at home mom), even on the go, take care of myself and what is even more important set an example for my children.

Tamales, gorditas and jugo verde

I have finally decided to write about the topic that is very close to my heart (or I should rather say – stomach), the Mexican cuisine.

All my friends know how incredibly important food is for me. Not only it has to be tasty, but most importantly, it has to be healthy. I adore, love, crave, am fascinated with whole foods. I am a firm believer, that most diseases start with a poor diet so food is definitely my medicine. That does not mean, that I am one of those health nuts, that will only eat certain foods. I believe in eating everything in moderation and there are only a few things I will stay away from most of the time.

Let me assure you that it is pretty easy to eat healthy in Mexico. They know definitely how to make sure everyone eats a well balanced diet including lots of vegetables, fruits, protein and carb combo.

On pretty much every corner you can buy freshly made juices (jugos) including jugo verde (green juice) blend of fresh squeezed orange juice, spinach, swiss chard and celery. Yes, that is what their children drink on their way to school. They also drink a lot of coconut water, which is so rich in nutrients and minerals that beats 100% all the sports drinks made in the lab.

Their snacks consist of freshly cut fruits and vegetables that you also can buy everywhere, conveniently packed in a small plastic baggies. All you need is a pair of clean hands…:-)

If you like something on the spicy side, boiled peanuts and garbanzos with a little bit of paprika and freshly squeezed lime juice would be your choice. How cool is that, it is all vegetable protein that all of us desperately need!

Delicious, boiled peanuts (Cacahuates) served hot with freshly squized lime juice over.
Delicious, boiled peanuts (Cacahuates) served hot with freshly squized lime juice over.18-Nov-2011 19:59, PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D , 13.0, 200.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 200
Delicious, boiled Garbanzo beans (Garbanzos) served hot with freshly squized lime juice over.
Delicious, boiled Garbanzo beans (Garbanzos) served hot with freshly squized lime juice over.18-Nov-2011 20:00, PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D , 13.0, 200.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 200
Delicious, boiled Garbanzo beans (Garbanzos) and peanuts (Cacahuates) served hot with freshly squized lime juice over.
Delicious, boiled Garbanzo beans (Garbanzos) and peanuts (Cacahuates) served hot with freshly squized lime juice over.18-Nov-2011 19:58, PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D , 3.8, 28.0mm, 0.022 sec, ISO 200
 

As far as main meals are concerned, the day starts with eggs. I have known it for a long time but recently I read a lot of press about how important it is to start you day with protein. It just speeds up you metabolism so you burn more fat. Sounds good to me! Eggs are so versatile, so it is hard to get bored with them.

Lunches and dinners are usually meat or fish based plus lots of veggies and avocado. That is sooooo good for you! The Mexicans mainly eat pork and chicken, since beef here is not very tender.

The only thing I would change, is the corn flour that they use tons of. I am not a big fan of it because almost all corn in the world is GMO (genetically modified). Not that we do not eat all those delicious tacos, gorditas (a small, thick tortilla filled with just about anything) or tamales (corn flour dough mixed with minced meat or cheese which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper) made with corn flour…..we just limit our consumption.

To my greatest surprise, I found out that there is an Organic Farmers Market in San Miguel de Allende. That is where I go every Saturday to buy the freshest, tastiest, sun ripened produce, artisan breads, jams made from nopales (cactus) and fruits, that I never knew existed. Then I pack it all on my bicycle and ride home enjoying the smell coming out of my front basket. I have to make it just in time to prepare lunch for my kids coming from the library and trust me they are very, very hungry…:-)

Crabbing

Half way through the week, we’ve realized that seven nights in such a wonderful place as Hunting Island is not enough. The trouble is that it’s difficult to get a spot for any longer. Especially around weekends the park starts to be really busy. And people come here from all over the World. Our direct neighbors were people from as near as Hilton Head, or as far as Wisconsin and Germany. The park has some interpretive programs, not as good or diverse as those in Smith Mountain Lake State Park, but interesting nonetheless. Most people come here mostly because of the beach. We have decided to take advantage of an opportunity to learn to catch crabs. Who knows when it will come in handy during this trip?

On Thursday morning, we’ve met with a few other students at the parks Nature Center. The ranger assigned the responsibility of teaching us was a twenty something kid. After collecting $5 from each of us, he handed us four circular nets suspended on long rolls of string. To encourage the crabs to crawl into the nets, he suggested we should use some meat – preferably boney, to let them chew on it for a bit, as crabbing is apparently just a waiting game. You attach the bait in the net, throw it down from a pier into murky water and wait ten to fifteen minutes before pulling it out again. The theory is that the meat in the net will attract at first some small crabs, then over time it will draw some larger ones. And those we are interested in, of course.

In reality, our kids don’t have the patience to wait that long. Alex was pulling his net out in just a few minutes after throwing it in. Nadia could wait any longer either. The funny thing is though, that both of them pulled out some crabs! They both were females (recognized by red pinchers and a battery-like compartment at the bottom where they store eggs), which means there isn’t much meat in they claws. We decided to keep them anyway.

We all had lots of fun pulling our nets out and chasing the crabs on the pier. You should know that trying to get the creature out of a net and into a bucket is much more exciting than waiting and starring at a piece of string dangling from a pier. Once it’s out of the net, it starts crawling towards the edge of the boardwalk and if successful jumps right back into the ocean. If you’re quick and brave enough, you will step on it and pick it up by its back side. If you’re slow and clumsy, or if you hesitate for even just a fraction of a second, the crab will pinch you. It is said that, the bigger the crab, the more ferocious it is. It is definitely true, and let me just add that they fight for they dear life like crazy.

We’ve spent the entire morning at the pier dancing around and jumping over crabs, letting the females back into the ocean and risking life trying not to let the males escape. After a few hours in the unforgiving sun and heat, we had just enough crabs to fill one of our bicycle baskets. Our kids wanted to continue, but I assessed that we’ve caught just enough for lunch and to justify the $20 we’ve spent on it.

When we got back to the campsite, the challenge was to get the beasts out of the basket and into a pot with boiling water at its bottom. I have to admit, this part was the most difficult for me. During the countless duels I had with those little dudes, I started to respect them for their intelligence and fearlessness. I think the same is true for Nadia and Alex. The three of us refused to eat their meat, and cooked sausages with sweet potatoes instead. Agnieszka had a great lunch!

Kimchi

Kimchi
Kimchi
A jar of Kimchi

Today I invite you to try Kimchi. It is Korean marinated cabbage, comes in hot or mild version.

As I mentioned earlier I had a terrible stomach bug which left me very weak and tired. I need to regain all my energy and strength so Kimchi is going to help big time. You ask how? It is “power food” loaded with millions of probiotics. Yes, It is going to rebuilt my intestinal flora in no time so that I could get back to my normal now life of a world wanderer.

I ate it just by itself but you might as well put it on a sandwich or a burger if you prefer.  That is the secret! That’s what keeps the Asians so healthy and thin. It all starts in your gut………………….I have learned my lesson painfully!

I Desire You, I Want You

Ho Voglia Di Te

While in Opole yesterday, I had to go the City Center to find an ATM. It wasn’t far, so I took a walk rather then driving. Turns out it was an excellent idea. Despite a really terrible weather forecast, it was still very warm, a little muggy, but it wasn’t raining. To get to the commercial part of town from the German Consulate, I had to cross the Młynówka river using an old, beautiful, green bridge called “Most Groszowy” (Penny Bridge) or “Most Westchnień” (Bridge of Sighs). I’m usually not the type of guy to notice that, but the bridge surroundings were quite nice –  birds singing in the nearby trees and bushes, the quiet river underneath. I can see how on a starry night, with the soothing sound of water and under moonlight, this can be quite a romantic place.

A local tradition - many locks on the foot bridge over the Odra river.I’m not the most observant person, but crossing the bridge for the second time, on my way back to the Consulate, I’ve noticed a few padlocks hanging on the painted green cast iron fencing of the bridge. I decided that with a right angle, this could be an interesting picture. Without thinking, I aimed, shot and I was back on my way. Only later I started asking myself, what’s the meaning of those locks…?

After getting back home I researched the subject on the internet. Few years ago, local students in an attempt to create a new tradition, adapted an Italian custom. Apparently, the practice was first described by Federico Moccia, an Italian writer. In his love story novel called Ho Voglia DI TE (I Desire You, I Want You), the main characters close a padlock on with their names engraved on it on a bridge, than kiss and throw the key into the Tiber river, near Rome. Today, one can find similar bridges in Paris, Florence, Venice and Moscow.

While researching the subject, I found that Federico Moccia is very popular among especially young readers across Europe. Ho Voglia DI TE (I Desire You, I Want You) is a continuation to Tre metri sopra il cielo (Three Steps Over Heaven). They tell a story of Babi, a girl from a so-called “good home”, a great student and exemplary daughter, who as a result of a coincident meets Step, an aggressive hooligan, whose life consists of exercises in the gym, races on a motorcycle and senseless fighting. Despite the radically different characters they fall in love, and… so on, and so on. I’m not going to spoil it for you. There’s also a movie version of the “Ho Voglia Di Te” for those who don’t like or have no time reading.

Obviously, I didn’t read those books, just the teasers I’ve found in the internet. Sounds like a great read for my wife and something I want my daughter never to put her hands on!

What Motivates Us

Daniel H. Pink

When I first published the news about our Sabbatical, we’ve received a lot of feedback. Some of it as comments in this blog, even more on Facebook and other social media. Most of them very personal, but some people also commented on the professional reasons that drove us into the decision. Specifically, the motivation in the work place.

Daniel H. PinkI was surprised to read that my ideas expressed in that post have resemblance to theories build by Daniel H. Pink in his Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Intrigued, in such comparison I decided to explore that subject.

According to Daniel H. Pink, everything we know about motivation is wrong. In the traditional model, adopted by the corporate world, people are driven by fear of loss and hope of gain, or the anecdotal stick and carrot. However, according to latest studies, this is not only inaccurate, it’s flat out wrong. In a nutshell, bonus plans and performance evaluations are counter productive in any kind of work environments. Especially for professionals, they reduce our ability to produce creative solutions to problems. It’s not the carrot and the stick anymore. Apparently, after we meet our basic needs, what motivates us today is our ability to grow and develop our potential.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t realize or are not ready to admit those new scientific studies and continue to feed us carrots and beat us with a stick. There are a few exceptions though, pioneers who experiment with different approaches:

  • Employees creativity thrives in Google’s legendary work environment. One day a week, engineers at the internet giant are free to work on projects of their choosing.
  • Few years ago, Best Buy introduced a concept called ROWE – Results Only Work Environment, in which employees are free to work when- and where- ever they want, as long as they reach agreed objectives.

It’s true that I’ve read about the above examples already before, which may explain why my ideas appeared similar to those expressed by Daniel H. Pink in his latest book. I read about ROWE couple of years ago and wondered at that time if a similar concept would work at my company. In theory, assuming mature organization and strong management, we have an almost perfect environment to implement ROWE. Except for the manufacturing area, results only work environment could be adapted in all other parts of the business. After all, we are a projects based engineering company and we pay professionals to be creative and not to push papers around, don’t we…? Those that (used) to work with me know the answer to that question… I think it also applies to many other businesses in the modern world. We have twenty first century technology and nineteenth century mentality, when it comes to what motivates people in the work place…

Pink, in his book doesn’t only talk about motivation in the work place, even though this seems to be his area of focus. He also gives pointers on how to adapt this new studies in your day-to-day life and in appendices you’ll find tips on applying it to fitness, children, etc…

If you’re interested, you can get your own copy of the Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us at Amazon for under USD $10.