On my blog I post a lot of recipes that are healthy and help restore or maintain a balance in your metabolism but also in your hormones. And I believe it’s important to have a little understanding on how our body works with hormones, which I will do my best in explaining here.

When you think of hormones, you often think of the hormones of the reproductive system such as estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone. They make a man a man and a woman a woman. They ensure that we transform from a child to an adult. But our body also produces hormones for other processes in our body. In this post I will mainly focus on the hormones that influence our weight and metabolism.

Hormones are messengers that pass on information to activate or turn off various processes in the body. They are transported from the glands in the bloodstream to tissues and organs. They affect processes such as feeling happy, feeling sad, putting you to sleep, waking up, feeling relaxed, feeling cheerful, activating the immune system, being hungry, feeling full, and so on. Every experience you have in your body is influenced by hormones. When all our hormones are in the right balance, our body works optimally and we can experience good health.

Why eating fewer calories to lose weight doesn’t work

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve probably followed a calorie restricted diet and have been told that to lose weight you need to eat fewer calories and exercise more. Only to eventually come to the conclusion that this is very difficult; you feel constantly hungry and lose little or no weight at all.

The reason the ‘eat fewer calories to lose weight’ approach doesn’t work is this: it doesn’t take into account the endocrine system, especially the fat-burning and fat-storing hormones.

These hormones are activated and turned off by macronutrients and external factors such as lifestyle and exposure to toxins. So to lose weight, we need to adapt our diet AND lifestyle to these hormones so that you can burn fat instead of storing it.

Hormones that store and burn fat

There are 3 hormones that are involved in storing fat:

  • Insulin
  • Cortisol
  • Estrogen


Insulin is one of the most important hormones in weight loss. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and ensures that we have a stable blood sugar level. Insulin acts like a key, opening the body’s cells so that glucose can enter the cells and produce energy. Glucose is raised most by the macronutrient: carbohydrates, and a little by protein. Fats respond minimally to increasing insulin. To keep insulin levels under control, you need a diet low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and high in fat.

When too much glucose enters the blood, by eating (processed) foods high in carbohydrates, the pancreas has to produce a lot of insulin. This causes the cells to become saturated with glucose and shut down to prevent too much glucose from entering the cell. The key (insulin) to open the cell no longer fits on the door (the cell). This is also called insulin resistance. The excess glucose has to go somewhere, and since fat cells have a large storage space, it is stored here. Result: more fat storage and weight gain.


Cortisol or also called our ‘stress hormone‘ is produced by the adrenal gland when we experience stress. When we find ourselves in a situation when we are stressed (and go into fight or flight mode), cortisol causes us to burn stored sugars, raise blood pressure, reduce inflammation, lower reproductive hormones, decrease white blood cells and thus lowers the immune system. And while short-term stress can be beneficial to our bodies, most of us are in a constant mode of stress (chronic stress) from our job, traffic, watching bad news, being overloaded with information on social media, etc. When cortisol levels are chronically too high, other processes (hormone activation) are put on hold and we start storing fat instead of burning it. So it’s important to often have moments of peace and calm, away from stressful situations.


Estrogen is known as a female hormone because it is mainly produced by the ovaries. Men also produce estrogen, but in smaller amounts in the testicles. Estrogen can be divided into 3 different hormones (E2: estradiol, E3: estriol and E4: estrone), each type of estrogen is produced at different age phases (in menopause E4) or when a woman is pregnant (E3). When estrogen is overstimulated, other hormones are lowered and this hormone can dominate. This is sometimes referred to as estrogen dominance. An excess of estrogen is stored in the fat cells.

An overproduction of estrogen can be caused by:

  • Eating foods that contain soy. Soy mimics estrogen in the body.
  • Heating food in plastic with BPA. BPA is a substance that is released when plastic is heated and can end up in the food. BPA also mimics estrogen.
  • Eating meat products from animals that have been injected with hormones.
  • Use of contraceptive pill.
  • Use of harmful beauty products or cleaning products that contain substances that mimic estrogen in the body.

So go for quality food without soy, eat warm food on a glass plate, go for organic grass-fed meat, ask your doctor about other contraceptives that do not affect the hormones and use beauty and cleaning products that contain natural ingredients. Eating cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, etc. also help to balance out estrogen by producing Diindolylmethane (DIM).

After optimizing the hormones that store fat, you can also do some things to optimize the fat-burning hormones.

There are 6 fat burning hormones:

  • Human growth hormone (hGH)
  • Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1)
  • Thyroid Hormones (T3 & T4)
  • Adrenaline
  • Glucagon
  • Testosterone

Human Growth Hormone (hGH)

Human growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland in the brain and ensures that cells are made. It mainly helps us to grow from a baby to an adult, the creation and repair of new and old cells, influences body composition and metabolism. People with low growth hormone store more fat than they burn. The amount of growth hormone we produce decreases with age, which means that most people become overweight later in life.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to boost growth hormone:

Intermittent fasting

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting stimulates the production of growth hormone.

Maintain stable blood sugar / low insulin

Stable blood sugar is the result of optimal insulin action. Optimal blood sugar levels are between 70mg/dl – 100mg/dl.

High Intensity Training

Growth hormone is stimulated when doing an intense sports session where all muscles are used and after the session you can say “Wow, that was an intense workout”. Be especially careful not to overtrain.

A good sleep pattern

Growth hormone is mainly produced during sleep, when the body starts to recover, since growth hormone repairs and produces old and new cells. Sufficient sleep is therefore crucial in optimizing growth hormone.

Insulin-Like Growth Factor

Insulin-like growth factor is produced by growth hormone from the pituitary gland and is forwarded to the liver, where it is converted to insulin-like growth factor by the liver. This hormone is therefore an extension of growth hormone. It helps determine whether your body will use fat for energy or sugar (glucose). When insulin is high, this hormone is turned off and the body starts burning sugar instead of fat. When the insulin is low, through a ketogenic diet for example, this hormone is activated and the body starts to burn fat.

Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid hormones are produced in the thyroid gland located in the neck. The thyroid hormones play a role in metabolism, regulating body temperature, energy production and mood. There are two different types of thyroid hormones. T4, the inactive form and T3 the active form. T4 is first produced and later converted to T3 by the liver, kidney and gallbladder. When these hormones are out of balance, the body will store fat instead of burning it and vice versa. The thyroid gland can be overactive or too slow. Iodine helps create T3 and can be found in a seaweed supplement. If your gallbladder has been removed, a supplement such as digestive enzymes and ox bile can help in the production of T3.


This is a hormone you’ve probably heard of. It is stimulated by intensity training, anxiety and stress. Adrenaline causes the fat cells to produce energy and you are alert. When this hormone is produced, cortisol is also produced, which in turn can store fat. It is therefore important to find the right balance between intense sports or a short-term stress situation and recovery, relaxation of longer duration in order to optimize these hormones.


Testosterone is also a hormone that is more well known. When you think of testosterone, you probably picture a lot of muscular macho men, and it’s also the hormone that makes a man a man. Testosterone is produced in large amounts in the testicles in men, and in much smaller amounts in the ovaries in women. The adrenal glands can also produce small amounts of testosterone.

Testosterone is responsible for building muscle, strong bones, deep voice and male hair growth. Low amounts of testosterone can lead to bone loss, muscle loss and fat storage.

Testosterone is naturally produced during strength training, sufficient vitamin D, zinc, sufficient sleep and little stress


Glucagon sounds pretty much the same as glucose, but it isn’t. It is produced by the pancreas, does the opposite of what insulin does and is activated during intense exercise that uses all muscles. This mainly concerns exercises that increase the heart rate, such as aerobics, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), spinning, etc. Be careful not to go too far with this. It’s about balance, and excessive exercise can suppress this hormone again. So you can do a high effort workout of 20 minutes a few times a week but leave enough room for your body to recover.


When it comes to fat burning and weight loss, it’s not just about calories, it’s about stable blood sugars and an optimal balance of hormones. The hormones are influenced by what we eat and a calorie is not just any calorie. 500 calories in carbohydrates will raise blood sugar a lot more than 500 calories in healthy fats. This will determine whether we are going to burn or store fat.

Not only what you eat has an influence on your hormones and determines whether you will store or burn fat, but your lifestyle also plays a major role. When you live in constant stress and are surrounded by hormone disrupting chemicals, it will be difficult to get your body into fat-burning mode.

I have done hours of research on this topic but keep in mind that I’m not a doctor, so don’t use this post as a diagnosis or treatment.

This post is informational and helped me greatly in how I work with my body and nutrition, so I hope this post also helped you in any way of understanding a bit of how you can optimize your body to create happy hormones.

Want to avoid nasty chemical that may disturb your hormones while cleaning? Then check out my non-toxic cleaning formulas.

I can’t believe it’s already Halloween next week. But, of course, when you say Halloween, I immediately think of candy, trick or treating, and scary movies. And if you are a health-conscious parent like me, then these healthy Halloween treats might be perfect for your kiddo, their friends, and even the adults.

Last year we stayed home for Halloween, and we did a little trick or treating at home. We dressed up as skeletons. I decorated our hallway with Christmas lights, bats, and spider webs and put some treats in each house room. Olivia then had to go and knock on every door and find the treats with the help of tiny electric candlelight. She loved it! And ever since, she has been crazy about Halloween and the pleasures that come with it.

Whether you feel crafty and feel like spending a nice amount of time making these treats. Or you’re on a specific diet; there’s a treat for everyone on this list.


healthy halloween treats

1. Pumpkin Tangerines


These pumpkin tangerines are an excellent idea to give them a nice Halloween look, and they are super easy to prepare. You just peel a tangerine and place a little piece of celery in the middle, and you have yourself a cute little pumpkin.

You’ll need:
– Celery stick

2. Spooky bananas


My 4-year-old loves bananas, and when she saw these little ghosts, she freaked out. Not that she was scared, she was super excited and loved they had a face. To make these, you just peel a banana, cut them in half, and use some melted chocolate to make a face with the help of a piping bag. Then, place them in the fridge so the chocolate can harden. If you’re not into melted chocolate, you can also just use some dark chocolate chips to use as two eyes and an open mouth.

You’ll need:
– Bananas
Dark chocolate or chocolate chips
Lollipop sticks or Popsicle sticks

healthy halloween treats
healthy halloween treats

3. Dripping apple lollipops


These dripping lollipops were another big hit my daughter went wild with, and they look so lovely. Just slice an apple into 1-inch slices, pinch them on a skewer and dip them in melted dark chocolate. Next, cut up some hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans and sprinkle them on the chocolate. Place them in a glass and let them harden out in the fridge.

You’ll need:
– Apples
Dark chocolate
Hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans

4. Keto Almond butter cups


Peanut buttercups are the signature candy on Halloween, so they couldn’t be excluded from this list, of course. However, I made these cups with almonds instead of peanuts, and they taste simply amazing! Find the recipe here.

You’ll need:
– 2 bars sugar-free dark chocolate (3.5 oz or 100g in total)
– 3 tablespoons coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons almond butter

– 1 tablespoon powdered erythritol
– Pinch of salt
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

healthy halloween treats
healthy halloween treats

5. Angry cheese sticks


These angry cheese sticks are perfect for when you’re in a rush because they’re the easiest thing to create to add to the Halloween theme. All you need is a cheese stick and a permanent marker, draw some angry or supprised face on them, and you have yourself a Halloween-proof treat.

You’ll need:
– Cheese sticks
Permanent marker

How I handle my daughter’s Holiday candy intake

All these treats are healthy, natural, and without any preservatives or harmful colorants found in most store-bought candy, unfortunately. As a parent, it’s not always easy to keep our little ones away from sweets or treats on festivities like these. With my daughter, I try to limit her candy intake as much as possible. However, I do allow her to have an occasional treat once in a while when we’re out because it’s the reality we live in today. I feel like if I denied her everything, it would backfire in the long run, and maybe she would go on a path of having all the processed foods later when she’s a teenager because she was never allowed to have them. This way, she can learn how to balance her lifestyle.

We don’t keep any unhealthy processed foods at home. This way, she can’t be persuaded to have them, and it’s extra special if she does have them outside our house.

I hope you have a great Halloween; however you’re celebrating this year, with these 5 healthy Halloween treats, it can’t go wrong!

Happy Halloween!

Our Halloween picture from last year, when we dressed up as skeletons and did the trick or treat in our hallway.

Before you go, I would love it if you’d let me know in the comments which one of these healthy Halloween treats is your favorite!

This spaghetti squash bolognese recipe is one you’ll want to try this Fall. There are many alternatives to regular spaghetti made from flour, such as zucchini noodles or konjac noodles and Spaghetti squash is one you can add to the list of gluten-free options.

This recipe is not specifically tied to a paleolithic or ketogenic diet (one portion has a total of 37 net carbs). Although you could make this paleo if you leave out the mozzarella cheese and just top it off with some almond flour instead. If I’d have to tie it to a specific diet, it would be a healthy gluten-free diet recipe.

I’m a metabolically flexible person, so I can get away with this meal and still stay in ketosis. I share more on this in my stories on my Instagram account. So make sure to follow me there if you want to know more.

Portion size

Depending on how big your spaghetti squash is, the number of calories and macro’s may vary. The one I used was rather of large size, and I couldn’t completely finish one portion but my husband did. So this recipe can serve 2-4 people, depending on your appetite.

For the ingredients

The spaghetti squash: I used an organic spaghetti squash from my local market.

The seasoning: To season the spaghetti squash I used plain salt and pepper, as well as olive oil, which also adds some flavor. In the bolognese sauce, I used salt, pepper, paprika powder, Italian seasoning, and a pinch of cayenne pepper to give it a little extra spice. You can add in whichever seasoning you’d like, but I always love the combination of paprika with tomato. I used mainly dried spices but you can also choose to use fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or oregano to bring in some more Italian flavors.

The meat: In this recipe, I used ground beef. You can choose any ground meat of your liking.

The tomato sauce: I like to use passata when I make tomato sauces because it doesn’t have any additives. You can use any of the tomato sauces you prefer to make this recipe.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that help keep this content free.

Spaghetti squash bolognese recipe

2-4 servings


– 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
Salt and pepper to taste
– 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
– 1 tablespoon ghee
– 1 medium-sized onion (cut in pieces)
– 2 cloves garlic (minced)
– 26 oz. / 750 grams ground beef
– 1 1/2 cup passata
Salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tablespoon paprika powder
– 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
– Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
– 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
– Some spring onion (optional to finish off)


  1. Start by preparing the spaghetti squash. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit or 190 degrees celsius. Line out a parchment paper on a sheet pan.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in two and deseed. Season both sides with salt and pepper and cover in Olive oil with the help of a brush.
  3. Put both halves on the sheet pan and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the bolognese sauce.
  5. In a large pot, melt the ghee (or other cooking fat) at medium-high heat.
  6. When the ghee is melted, add the onion and garlic. Stir until they start to glaze.
  7. Add the ground beef and mix with a wooden spoon to break up the meat.
  8. Lower the heat and add the passata, salt, pepper, paprika powder, Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper. Mix and let simmer on low heat.
  9. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven. Using a fork, scrape flesh from squash into “noodles”.
  10. Cover the noodles with the bolognese sauce and shredded mozzarella.
  11. Bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes at 400 Fahrenheit or 200 Celsius, until the mozzarella starts to brown.


Serving: Half a spaghetti squash | Calories: 1273 kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 103g | Fat: 78g | Fiber: 8g

Casseroles are such a perfect cozy way to share a nice dinner with the family. This keto beef casserole has a total of 6g net carbs per portion and fits perfectly into a ketogenic lifestyle.

I wanted to make a dish with a basic white sauce, and the conventional casseroles my mother used to make were always made with a mixture of flour combined with butter (also known as béchamel). So to replace this, I made a sauce out of cauliflower and it tastes just as nice.

The ingredients

The vegetables: In this keto beef casserole I used brocolli, cauliflower and carrots. On the conventional keto diet, carrots are ‘not allowed’, but this full recipe only has 2 carrots so that cuts down the amount of carbs you will be eating and it gives it that extra natural sweetness to this dish.

The meat: I used grass-fed grass finished ground beef, I buy from my local farmer. You can also use another ground meat such as chicken, pork or lamb.

The spices: In this recipe I used salt and black pepper, paprika powder and turmeric powder to season the beef. You can add in some extra spices you prefer to season up the beef.
For the cauliflower sauce I used garlic powder, salt, black pepper and ground nutmeg.

The dairy: I’ve used ghee to cook the ground beef with, but you can also use another type of cooking fat such as coconut oil, butter or duck fat. In the cauliflower sauce I used sour cream and shredded mozzarella to make it extra creamy. If you don’t have sour cream, you can use cream cheese. To top off the casserole I used shredded mozzarella.


8 servings


– 2 cups broccoli
– 2 carrots, peeled and cut in slices
– 1 medium sized cauliflower head, cut into florets
– 1 tablespoon ghee
– 1 onion, cut in pieces
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1.6 lbs / 750 grams ground beef
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1 teaspoon paprika powder
– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
– 2 tablespoons sour cream
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Start by steaming the vegetables. In a steamer that has 2 tiers, add the broccoli and carrot slices in one tier, and the cauliflower florets in the other tier. Steam until the vegetables are well cooked (around 20-30 minutes). If you don’t have a steamer, you can cook the vegetables in 2 separate pots. Add water to the pot and cook the vegetables until they are done.
  2. In the meantime prepare the ground beef. In a large pan, melt the ghee on medium to high heat. Fry the onion and garlic until they start to brown.
  3. Add the ground beef and mince until it start to brown. Turn down the heat.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees celsius.
  5. Prepare the cauliflower sauce: Add the steamed/cooked cauliflower to a large pot and add garlic powder, salt and pepper, nutmeg and sour cream. Mix with an immersion blender(or blender) until you have a creamy sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella and stir it into the sauce with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add the prepared ground beef, steamed broccoli and carrots to the sauce and mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
  7. Transfer the mixture into a large oven dish (I used a 13 inch oval one) and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top.
  8. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the top starts to brown.


Serving: 1/8 of casserole | Calories: 291 kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.1g | Protein: 28.2g | Fat: 16.4g | Fiber: 3.1g

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links which helps keep this content free.