This happened to me when I first started seeing Caroline's pictures on Instagram. Apart from her amazing yoga skills, what got me about her was the aura that she had. There was just something about her that made me want to know more about her. Her vibrancy literally jumped off the screen and yelled out that there was something more about this girl.
In a world of superficiality and sometimes make believe, Caroline's authenticity really drew me.
So, being the inquisitive being that I am, I decided to approach Caroline and asked her to share her story.
Here she is, in all her sunny splendour and in her own words.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m originally from Denmark in the Northern Hemisphere but decided to take a leap of faith to further progress in my career and move to Australia when I was 20. Almost 4 years later I’m still here and proud to call this my home. I specialise in Digital Marketing/E-commerce helping both new and well-established business find their feet in the Digital Jungle by creating innovative & sustainable strategies.
On the sideline – where you may know me from – I practise yoga, train and I’m a BIG (mostly Vegan) foodie. It changed my life when I was diagnosed with cancer as 22 year old and have used the past few years battling this disease and kickin’ its butt! I believe the reason I recovered was because of my lifestyle change into eating raw, vegan, nutritious food and practising mindful yoga every single day.
What is your eating philosophy?
I try to eat completely vegan 90% of the time. I believe in eating what my body feels like, and I don’t limit myself by counting calories. As I’ve made the transition into a healthier lifestyle I don’t have many cravings any longer, but if I crave something sweet I’ll normally have one of my vegan, raw treats that are waiting in the fridge to be eaten :)
When and why did you decide to start eating this way?
When I was diagnosed with cancer in mid-April 2012 my life was turned upside-down in more ways than one.
However, it wasn’t until January 2013 I really turned my life around and became a healthy foodie.
The reason? A few months earlier someone broke me inside. So very badly. I’ve never felt pain like that before. Pain in my heart, my body and my mind. Mix this negative, depressed and sad state of mind with chemo, lots of medicine and not a lot of food you have a bomb that’s bound to go off.
When I went into cardiac arrest in hospital in December 2012 (I still thank the Universe every day for bringing me back to life) and waking up in ICU to my loving friends I knew something had to change. If I wanted to live and beat cancer, beat anything that would come at me I needed to change everything. Nutrition, exercise, mind-set and much more.
And so I made my way through the jungle of different approaches to healthy, clean, raw eating, lost 20 kg’s and have finally found my way to become 90% vegan. Beating cancer and being in remission from January 2014 was the best thing to happen to me in my life and to this day I still believe I owe it all to my nutrition, yoga, positive thinking and the amazing souls that fill my life with joy. Your mind is so much stronger than what you think it is!
Have you noticed any difference since changing your eating philosophy (if any)?
Absolutely. The biggest difference that most people can/could see was probably when I dropped 20 kilo’s. My skin started clearing up, I sleep better, my energy is always on a high, I recover quicker when I train, I feel happy and positive about life.
Have you met any barriers to eating this way, if so, how did you overcome them?
I had a lot of people in my life disagreeing on the lifestyle and eating philosophy changes I incorporated. A lot of people thought I did this to lose weight and just to look good – a lot of people thought I took it too far, because I think they didn’t fully understand the extent of my mission. They liked life the way it was & was scared of changes – even if it wasn’t their own life who was going through a change. However I knew I ultimately did this to save myself from being beaten by cancer. And to live life.
What is your favourite dish to make?
I LOVE to make my vegan, raw, sugar-free treats. They’re so tasty and there’s nothing better than seeing the look on people’s faces when they try one and say: “So, you’re saying this is healthy? This is good for me? How is that possible? It’s SO tasty!”
Unfortunately a lot of people are very narrow minded when it comes to living a vegan, healthy lifestyle. They basically think you eat carrot & sellery-sticks and nothing else.
What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?
My fridge and pantry are always fully stocked – that also helps me to make the best decisions when it comes to eating healthy and if you’re in a rush. My fridge is always full of fresh veggies, fruits & berries from the markets along with almond & coconut milk, herbs to add spice to my dishes and of course cold water.
In my pantry I always keep stables like canned beans, coconut oil, grains, dried spices, flours, dates and raw cacao.
Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?
I prefer smoothies much over juices. I’ve never really been on the ‘juice-bandwagon’, however this doesn’t mean I won’t ever have a juice – I do. But I believe in eating food in their most natural way and this means keeping the ‘meat’ of the fruit instead of just consuming the juices.
My favourite smoothie is a Banana & Blueberry smoothie with Vanilla Vegan Protein from BodyScience. YUM!
Sweet or savoury?
SWEET! I do have a massive sweet tooth, so I’m happy I’ve got a lot of vegan, raw, sugar-free treats up my sleeves ;)
Can you share a fave recipe with us?
Absolutely.One of my favourite treats are my Raw Peanut-butter & Coconut cups. They are vegan, raw, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free.
Almond Base layer:
1 cup almonds
6 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp rice malt syrup
Pinch of rock salt
Peanut & Coconut Butter layer:
1/3 cup raw peanuts (unsalted)
1 tsp rice malt syrup
1/2 tsp rock salt
6-8 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
1 tsp desiccated coconut
1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 tbsp rice malt syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
8 medjool dates
Pinch of rock salt
To make the Almond Base Layer: Combine almonds, coconut oil, vanilla bean, salt & rice malt syrup and blend until you can make a dough that’ll easily stick together when you handle it with the hands. If too dry, add a tiny bit more coconut oil.
Take a muffin-form with place for 6 and add the dough, pressing down firmly. Let it sit in the freezer.
To make the Peanut & Coconut Layer: Combine peanuts, rice malt syrup, salt, coconut oil and desiccated coconut to a blender and keep blending for 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides until a paste This peanut butter will have a thicker consistency. Add more coconut oil to make it more runny if you wish.
Grab your almond-base layer from the freezer and roll a small ball out of the peanut butter, adding one to each cup of the muffin-form and pressing them down on top of the almond-layer slightly so they squeeze out to a flat ‘pancake’.
To make the Chocolate Later: Combine coconut oil, raw cacao powder, rice malt syrup, vanilla bean, dates and salt in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
Take your muffin-form and spoon over the chocolate on each cup. Put them back in the freezer and let them set for 30 min – 1 hour.
Can you describe your day on a plate?
8am: I will start off my day with either gluten-free oatmeal with fresh fruits & vegan protein from BodyScience or a kale & tofu scramble.
10am: by this time I’ll be starving, so I’ll have a handful of raw nuts and a cup of peppermint or ginger/lemon tea – perhaps with a piece of fruit too.
12.30pm: LUNCH-TIME! Any time I can eat is a good time :) I normally have a big raw salad with lentils or chickpeas for protein and added nuts/seeds for crunch dressed with fresh lemon juice and S&P.
3pm: For a snack I’ll have carrot & red capsicum sticks with some homemade hummus or roasted pumpkin dip and another cup of tea.
7pm: For dinner I normally like to keep it light – I won’t have that many carbs for dinner so it’ll be another load of fresh veggies, normally steamed as I like a ‘hot’ dinner. When it’s winter I like to whip up a little carrot & pumpkin mash to go with my veggies. It’s so delicious and easy!
9pm: I’ll normally have a bit of fruit or one of my vegan, sweet treats to curb my cravings :)
How do you stay fit?
I train 6-7 days a week. I train weights for 1 – 1 1/2 hour every morning + yoga afterwards or in the afternoon. I don’t do much cardio at all – my body doesn’t respond to it anymore after having played handball for 14 years.
If you had limited time and space, what would be a kick-ass work out that you would do?
I would do a combination of my arm & legs workout you can find on my Instagram and mix it up with skipping in between every other set. You’ll be sure to get your heart rate pumping and sweat on your forehead!
Seeing your yoga pictures is such a treat and you have inspired me to take up yoga, thank you for that! But how did you get so bendy?
A lot of people ask me this & I’m still not quite sure what to answer. I always thought I was rather flexible however when I took up yoga 9 months ago I was proven very wrong!
I’m the type of person who doesn’t have a bone of patience within me – if I want something I keep going at it until I have it or can do it. It’s been a lot like that with yoga too. It’s so addictive because it changed me as a person. It changed my mindset and my body. And so when something you love to do and makes you feel so good every single day it’s hard to not keep at it. I strive for progression not perfection though. Give your body time to get used to the poses. You may look back at yesterday and thinking nothing has changed however when you look back at the weeks and months you can see the progression so clearly.
If you could give someone a piece of advice regarding adopting a healthier lifestyle, what would it be?
Life is too short not to nurture and value your body for what it is. You only have one body and it has to last you an entire lifetime. Don’t be scared to adopt a healthier and more positive lifestyle – take one step at a time and make small changes if you’re scared of turning your life upside down instantly. We, as human beings, are creatures of habits – keep at it and soon your lifestyle change won’t be something you think about so much – it’ll be just what it is; your lifestyle.
If you want to see more of Caroline, please head over to her blog www.greenresolutions.com and also find her on FB: www.facebook.com/greenerresolutions and Instagram: carolinehgroth
Keep inspiring Caroline!
Peas, love and mungbeans