All posts by Nathalie

Ready to detox? Let’s prepare first.

So you feel a bit guilty about having over indulged on food and drinks in the last few weeks. You have decided to jump into a detox program to give your body a break. That can both be good and bad, depending on your current health and energy. Jumping into the deep end of a detox from a state of overindulging, can be very hard for your body. Therefore it is better to prepare the body first before starting a detox.

In essence, you want to stop putting junk into your body, and you want to help the body to get rid of the junk that is already there. The main key organ working in detoxing is the liver.

With stop putting junk into your body, I mean limit as much as possible or avoid completely processed foods, fried processed foods, hydrogenated oils, sugar, cigarettes, snus, aspirin and ibuprofen (unless prescribed by Dr.), all alcohol, and caffeine. Why is caffeine included? Because the liver has to break down caffeine before it can leave the body, and that adds another burden to the liver. We want to leave the liver as much energy as possible for detoxing. I would also exclude dairy, unless it is a fermented, probiotic product, like kefir and natural yogurt without added sugar.

You can help the body with giving it good nutrients, so that it has all the building blocks that it needs to break down all the junk and get rid of it. Did you know that you need 42 molecules of magnesium in order to help break down 1 molecule of sugar in the liver…wow!(1)

It is easy to give he body what it needs by eating an organic nutrient dense whole food diet. The liver needs plenty of protein to do its job, so do your best to eat good quality, organic protein that you can get your hands on, at this time. Make sure that you are properly hydrated as well. If not, your body will have a much harder time getting the toxins out of your body, and you will feel a lot worse during this time.

So what are some of the type of toxins that we are trying to get rid of? We get toxins accumulating in our bodies from air and water pollution, radiation, chemicals, stress, cellular/metabolic wastes, poorly digested foods, heavy metal exposure, bacterial/parasitic/fungal overgrowth. Drugs, food additives and allergens can also cause toxic elements in the body. Basically, any substance that creates irritating and/or harmful effects in the body is a toxin.

Going to the sauna, taking an epsom salt bath, and getting a deep tissue massage are also things that you can do to help your body detoxify. Adding movement into your day is also a great idea. Your lymphatic system works like a “pre-filter” for the liver, but it is a passive system. That means you have to move in order to move fluid through it. Optimal would be to jump on a rebounder every day. It does not have to be heavy exercise though, any kind of movement will help. This is also a reason why it is helpful to work at a standing desk opposed to a sitting one.

Remember, these are what some of the healing reactions may look like. I would say, the stronger you feel that these reactions are, the longer you need to stay on the preparation phase, before going into a full detox. Fatigue, headaches, bad smelling body odor, sleeping problems, bad breath, itchy skin and irritability.

Depending on your current and recent lifestyle, you might want to stay on the preparation detox schedule from anything for a week to  quite a few. Also, some people might opt for just doing the preparation phase for a while without detoxing, and that is fine too. You will do your body a lot of good by just sticking to the preparation phase. If you want to learn more there are plenty of books out there that can help you further. I like the 7-Day Detox Miracle by Bennet, Barrie and Faye.

Good preparation is key, so stay with it, and let the body adjust with time 😉


(1) Lecture on detox, Nutritional Therapy Association

7-Day Detox Miracle by Bennet, Barrie and Faye

Photo by  Alexandra GornBrooke Lark, Tim Mossholder, and Asdrubal Iuna on Unsplash

Feeling worse with a detox? It’s a healing reaction

December is typically a month of over indulgence in terms of food and drinks. A common reaction to this, or New Years Resolution, is to have a couple of weeks of “clean” eating. Some may even go a bit further and decide to do a detox program.

The body feels and perform its best when it’s in balance. After the holiday season you may feel a bit worn out from the over indulgences, which has gotten your body out of balance, and drained any extra energy. Going hardcore into a detox program from this state may work for some, but it can be a very rough ride. The change is usually to much too quickly, and I wouldn’t recommend it. It is better to prepare the body first, and start gently. Remember, with the body there are no quick fixes, rather long lasting effects of the lifestyle choices you make. The following are some indicators that your body could do with a detox.

Smelly body odor and/or breath, stinky feet, dark puffy circles under the eyes, foul smelling stool and/or urine, skin problems, acne flaring up, headaches, shoulder and neck stiffness, and pain around the lower ribs on the right side.

When you decide to give the body a break from poor habits, or do a detox, you are helping the  body to get rid of its “trash”, the toxins. It can be very smelly when deep cleaning your house, before gathering and getting rid of all the trash, and it’s the same in your body. It is good to know about some of the possible reactions that may show up. Sometimes it will get worse before it gets better.

These cleaning up reactions, aka healing reactions, will often intensify during detox and the healing process. It is because you are digging up  stored away toxins and bringing it up to the surface. You may experience flu-like symptoms, headaches, acne flaring up, diarrhea, and nausea. Knowing this in advance can make a huge difference in being able to deal with these reactions. The symptoms will go away once the body has gone through the cleaning and healing process. Depending on how well your body is doing overall, will indicate how well your body will deal with a detox.

On one side of the spectrum I know of people who have only had a slight headache for a day or two during their detox. And on the other side I know of people that got so nauseous that they had to throw up, and had to stay in bed for a couple of days.

Therefore, choose your time wisely for doing a detox program, so that you can easier navigate any healing reactions that may occur. Also, the better prepared the body is before starting a detox, the milder the reactions tend to be. I will discuss this more in next weeks post.

Don’t want to wait until next week to get started? OK, here are a few tips. Reduce as much as possible your intake of sugar, processed foods and caffeine. Completely avoid any kind of alcohol. Eat a whole food, organic, nutrient dense diet and make sure that you are well hydrated at all times.

I wish you all a clean start to this year! 😉


Dangerous Über-Motivated New Years Resolutions

Frequently I get asked if there are particular times of the year where my work is extra busy. There sure are, and one of them is just about to come up. It is the same, year after year, and it typically starts around the third week of January and runs through February. What could be the reason for this injury season?

Maybe you think it is because of all the skiing holidays? Sure, they add up as well, but no that’s not it. It is because of all the New Years Resolutions. What do I mean by that?

Typically we completely overestimate our body’s ability to adapt to new changes when it comes to fitness. Often we are not realistic about where our current fitness level is. We tend to focus on strength and speed and forget about any other component, like the importance of flexibility, and having full range of movement. You may have been the superstar athlete back in school, and that is awesome! But, if you haven’t continuously taken care of your body during the last 10 or 20 years, you cannot expect to jump right back into your old work out routines. And if you do, you should not be surprised if (when) you get injured.

Let’s  use “Sarah” as an example of what it typically looks like. Sarah is in her late 30’s, has a desk job, used to be really sporty but has completely gotten out of her routine in the last year(s). She makes a New Years Resolution to get fit again, and to get back into a routine. She is super motivated and starts with running 5 times a week between 30-60minutes, even though she hasn’t really been running in the last year. She doesn’t warm up or cool down, because she doesn’t have time for that. Besides you get warm while running, right?! The same goes for mobility work. It’s only running, right? It’s not like she she going to do gymnastics or anything, so it cannot be that important.

Towards the end of January Sarah shows up at my practice. She tells me that she has been taking ibuprofen and that helped her through last weeks training sessions, but now it’s not enough to help her with the pain. She has low back pain, her left knee is sore when she runs and she thinks she might have heel-spurs, as her feet are painful. Upon examination it is very clear that her hipflexors, quads, and calves are super tight, and she does not have proper range of motion in several joints.

I will talk to her about the importance of slowly increasing the intensity and duration of a training program. And also the importance of a warm up, cool down, mobility work, nutrition and hydration.This typically goes in one of two ways.

#1. Sarah actually listens, makes the needed adjustments, and starts with a less intense training program after 10 days of active recovery and mobility work. She took a look at her nutrition and hydration. She added some strength training, is working on her running technique and does daily mobility work. I see Sarah about once a month for preventative work, and am happy to hear that she has registered for a half marathon in 5 months time. She is using the Nike Run App to help her prepare correctly.

Scenario #2. After the treatment Sarah feels better and decides to “test her body” on a long run to make sure everything is alright. Towards the end of the run she is in pain again. She goes to the Doctor and gets anti-inflammatory drugs and is not allowed to run for at least 14 days. On the 15th day she goes out to “test her body” again, but is not able to finish her run as the pain is back. She goes back to the Doctor, who gives her another round of anti-inflammatory drugs, and says that if this continues she will need injections and potentially surgery. After a few weeks on this roller coaster Sarah gives up on sports and concludes that she is just too old, unlucky, and there is nothing she can do about it.

This is just one example, but I see it all the time. We all think that we are immune to injury until it happens to us. This year, why not be smart about your New Years Resolutions. Get yourself a good coach who can help you, or use Apps like Nike Run and Nike Training to help you out at YOUR CURRENT level. Be honest with yourself here! Make a plan for the long run and slowly increase your training. Make sure that you add all the other components to being a great athlete, like warming up, mobility, hydration etc. Be kind to your body and give it a chance to adapt.

If you are interested in some serious goal setting, then check out this video with Coach Ben Bergeron.


I wish you all an excellent start to the New Year 😉


Photo by Stas Ovsky on Unsplash



From me to all of you – Happy Holidays!

“We cannot all do great things in life, but we can do small things with great love.”
-Mother Teresa


Whether or not this is your favorite or most crazy time of the year, why not take a deep breath and stop for just a moment.  Hug someone you care about, and let’s be thankful for all the things we already have.
Among many things, I am very thankful for all of you who make the time in your busy lives to read my blog. It means a lot to me, so thank you!
I wish you a holiday season well spent, no matter how long or short, with people you care about.

Big Holiday Hugs all around!  😉



Photo by, Denys Nevozhai, Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Holding your breath to keep your mind from exploding?

Are you holding your breath again? It is that time of the year where everyone is trying to wrap up all of those loose ends and finish the year with some amazing accomplishments. At least so that it looks like it on paper, am I right? That together with very busy holiday plans tend to push a lot of people into high stress mode. Staying in this stressed mode, where the sympathetic nervous system is in charge (fight or flight) creates a lot of tension. If you don’t have a method for relieving some of that inner tension, you may feel like the pressure is about to make you explode.

In order to relieve some pressure and get out of the fight and flight mode, we need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest and digest system. A really easy way to do that is to use your breath. By something as simple as taking 3 deep breaths, you can calm your over active nervous system and get it to relax. Breathe in through your nose, let your lungs fill up completely, and then slowly breathe out through your mouth.

Someone I know uses this technique every time she has to stop at a red light while driving. Instead of getting worked up about “loosing time” she uses it as an opportunity to work on her breath. It is such a simple thing to do, but it really can make a huge change to your day.

If you have a little more time, (maybe you are standing in line waiting to pay for your groceries), try to see if you can make it all the way up to 10 breaths, and then count backwards with each breath until you get back to 0. In my head it would sound something like this “one, I breathe in – one, I breathe out, two…”. You get the picture. Again, it is very simple, but oh so effective. This can be a great technique to try as well if you have problems falling asleep.

If you feel like trying a 2 minute super easy meditation, then check out this video with Andy Puddicombe.


I am also a big fan of meditation and this is one of my favorite apps. You can check out my previous blog about meditation right here.

In terms of nutrition you can help your nervous system by keeping your blood sugar as steady as possible. For example, when you eat sugar, quick carbs and drink caffeine, these things all stimulate your nervous system to be in the fight and flight mode. That makes it so much harder for us to relax. So, if you feel the pressure building up try to stay away from these processed sugary types of foods as much as possible, and focus on whole nutrient dense foods instead.

I know I talk a lot about hydration but it cannot be emphasized enough! Make sure that you properly hydrate, especially between all the extra holiday drinks. Your liver and body will thank you.

Doing some exercise is also a great idea. If you don’t have time for a full session, try to get some simple movement into your day, like walking. It doesn’t always have to be strenuous to be doing you some good.

Do what you can, when you can. Every little piece helps. Have a great weekend! 😉


Photo by Gabriel Matula, Ben White, Afonso Coutinho and Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

A Hamstring Quickie – Test, Smash and Stretch

It is winter time and for most of us that means a lot more time spent indoors. That usually means that we are sitting a lot more, and moving less. This can lead to tight hamstrings, which in turn can lead to back pain. Christmas also brings along a lot of traveling for plenty of people, so now is a good time to start some prevention work. Especially if you have a ski holiday coming up. Here are three very short videos on how you can test, smash and stretch your hamstrings. Your hamstring is a common name which includes these three muscles m.semimenbranosus, m.semitendinosus and m.biceps femoris.

What to think about when you do the hamstring test:
The leg that is on the ground should stay straight and in contact with the floor the whole time. The leg you are raising up should be straight at all times, no bending of the knee. When things are good you should get to at least 90 degrees without any problem. If not you have got some work to do.
Is there a big difference in flexibility in the two legs? Make sure you put in some extra work on the side that is less flexible. Asymmetry is harder for the body to deal with, as the side that moves a bit better has to compensate for the side that does not move well. The guys from MoveU are a little bit crazy, but they are energetic and to the point, and that I like!
*Unfortunately the videos from MoveU are currently not available on YouTube. I have added three different ones instead. As soon as the original ones are back I will post them here.


What to think about when you smash the hamstring:
The automatic reaction from the muscles when you try this is usually to tense up a bit. Therefore you may not “feel any tightness” right away. If this is so, take a couple of deep breaths and really let your leg sink into the ball. Once a bit more relaxed, start moving the leg in search of those tight spots. If you find yourself tensing up again, just go back to taking a few deep breaths, and then try again.


What to think about when you stretch the hamstring:
Try to keep the movement dynamic. Meaning, slowly move the leg from one position to the next (bend and straight the leg). From my experience the body seems to adapt quicker when we do it this way, and there is a lesser chance of overdoing it, rather than just holding a static stretch and pulling on the muscle.

Finish with a re-test to make sure that you did a good job, and have improved the flexibility of your hamstrings. If you do not have someone who can help measure your improvement, putting up some temporary marks on the wall with tape, can be a great visual.

If you are a runner, or on your way to your ski holiday, it is extra important to pay attention to a proper warm-up. Going straight from sitting into doing sports in cold weather will take a lot of extra effort from your body. This can be a killer for already tight hamstrings, as it takes longer for the body to heat up. A good warm up will significantly decrease your chances of getting injured. Here is a reminder of what a quick, good warm-up looks like.

Take care of your hamstrings, and they will take care of you.
Enjoy your weekend! 😉


Photo by Osman Rana, Asogqetti and  Natia Rukhadze on Unsplash

It’s 2am. Do you know what your liver is up to?

There is a rhythm to almost everything in life, and especially in our bodies. Knowing the rhythms of certain things can give us a lot of information. If we know what to look for that is. If we look closer at Traditional Chinese Medicine we find the Organ Clock, and it can help us getting some useful information.

Although the Organ Clock is not used in western medicine, “[Joseph] Takahashi and colleagues stated in a 2013 article that “almost every cell in the body contains a circadian clock. For example, these clocks, called peripheral oscillators, have been found in the adrenal gland, oesophagus, lungs, liver, pancreas, spleen, thymus, and skin.”[1]

So, what does the Organ Clock tell us? It shows us when different organs in the body are very active. For instance, a lot of organs are doing their “house cleaning” during the night when we are asleep. It’s the only time they are not frantically trying to accommodate our demands, and so they have some time to clean house and prepare for the next day. OK, so how can this help us?

Let’s take a look at the liver. According to the Organ Clock it is the most busy during 1-3am at night. (Assuming you go to bed around 10-11pm.) If things are running smooth in the liver, you will never notice that it is working at all. However, if the liver is a bit backed up from too much stuff it has to detox, (ex:pesticides, pollution, medication, hormones, alcohol) the cleaning process will not be smooth. You might wake up during this time at night and feel very warm, and not feel very well. The liver can raise body temperature quite a bit as it is trying to burn through our garbage. Maybe you know the feeling of having been out partying and waking up really hot and sweaty in the middle of the night. It most likely is your liver trying to get rid of all that alcohol.

So, if you find yourself waking up often at the same time at night, check out what the Organ Clock says. Which organ is the most busy at that time, and how do you think this could relate to you and your lifestyle? Start taking some notes, and see what you can learn from the information gathered. It is of course no precise medicine, but I have found it a very useful indicator on many occasions.

It’s 2 am. I know what my liver is up to. Do you know what yours is up to?

P.S. Also, a BIG thanks to all of you who came and listened to my talk “Walk of Health”. It was a blast! For those of you who signed up, you will have the keynotes from the talk within the next few days.



Photo by Michael Discenza, Adi Goldstein and Jan Kahánek on Unsplash 

Hunger Pains? It’s more likely Thirst or a Food Sensitivity

-I’m hungry!
-Well, how do you know?
-I can feel it in my stomach.
-How can you be sure it’s hunger, and not pain from thirst or a food sensitivity?
-Say, what?

Certain types of signals are very closely related in how they feel  and it is very hard for us to tell the difference. Who has time to really figure out what the body is trying to tell us anyway, right? We would much rather just take an aspirin or ibuprofen and get on with it. Pain from hunger, thirst and food sensitivities all have very different meanings for the body, yet we are not tuned in enough to tell the difference.

From the movie Remember the Titans
“Pain is only bread in french”

If your body is telling you that you need more water, but you think that you are “hungry” and need more food, you are setting yourself up for failure. Why? The body needs about 10 liters of water in order to have proper digestion. Some of it will come from the food we just ingested but most of it will come from recycled sources of water from other areas of our body. If we were already a bit dehydrated from the beginning, we will be even more dehydrated after we have eaten. Now other areas of your body will have even less water for its functions, because its all needed in digestion. This is a very costly operation for your body, and it doesn’t like it. Did you know that as little as a 2% dehydration can give you these symptoms:

Fatigue, Anxiety, Irritability, Depression, Cravings, Cramps and Headaches.

So before you start snacking away, thinking that you are starving, ask yourself “does it seem reasonable that I should be this hungry at this time”? If not, have a big glass of water with a pinch of sea salt first and wait and see what happens to that “hunger” feeling. If it goes away it means your body is in need of more water.

A time to start suspecting that you may have some food intolerance or sensitivity is when it goes something like this: You have just had a plate of food, but your stomach “is telling you” that you are “still starving”, and you dig into another big plate. When you “feel hunger” midway through a meal it is possible that it is actually a pain signal from the gut. It is trying to tell you that it is sensitive to something in the food you are eating. For your gut it is like you are eating stinging jellyfish. Ouch!

Ask yourself, does it seem reasonable that I am feeling “this hungry” even though I already had a plate of food? Why not note down what you ate, and if it was at a restaurant, which one. With this information, see if you can compile a pattern of when you get “hunger pains” like this. It can give you some very valuable clues as to what could be irritating and hurting your gut. These are the most common offenders:

Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Corn, Soy, Nitrates, Peanuts, Sesame, Sulfites, Fish/Shellfish, Tree Nuts.

If it seems to you that you are “feeling hungry” too often, check out your hydration situation and make sure you have figured out your own Hydration Formula. If the hunger pains happens during a meal, be very suspect of food sensitivities and start your detective work to figure out what it can be.

Have a great weekend!


For those of you in Luxembourg, I hope to see you on Tuesday evening at 19:00! We will continue to look at the different messages our body is sending us, and how to interpret them.


Cure Your Child With Food by Kelly Dorfman


Your Body’s Many Cries For Water by F.Batmanghelidj

The Symptoms Of A Potential Food Intolerance

Photo by Jordan Whitt, Jonathan Perez, Sam Burriss, and Sam Burriss on Unsplash

The benefits of heat. Get in the Sauna! – Part 2.

Very recently I wrote about the benefits to the Nervous System of using the Sauna. I just came across this podcast with more reasons of why getting into the Sauna is really beneficial for you.

How about improving cardiovascular disease, or positively impacting depression for up to 6 weeks with just one sauna session? Read about that study here.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick Ph.D. who is an expert on nutritional health, brain, cancer and aging has done a podcast on the theme, and I find the information in it very interesting.  You can download it and listen to it here or watch it below.

Enjoy your weekend and hopefully a session in the Sauna 😉

Are you chewing your Omega-3 capsules?

Has anybody ever asked you this question before? They should have, because it is a question that is very important. If you are not chewing your Omega-3 capsules you had better start right away. But first, let’s back up a little. Why do we need omega-3 in the first place?

Essential Fatty Acids or EFA’s, are fats that are essential to our body, and that we are not able to make ourselves from other nutrients. That means that we have to eat them.  One of the most important functions of EFA’s in the body is to make sure that the cell-membranes are strong and can correctly do its job. We need fatty acids all the time since we are constantly building new cells, especially when we are still growing. When the cell-membrane is weak all sorts of things will go wrong, because the cells are the building blocks for everything. Depending on what type of cell has been weakened, for instance a nerve cell or immune cell, it will show up in different ways.

Musculoskeletal issues
Endocrine issues
Cardiovascular issues
Immune issues
Allergies, Skin problems

Because we are typically eating too many processed “bad fats” and not enough of the good ones (olive oil, coconut oil, butter, seed oil), we are currently in a state of deficiency. Even though we have so much food in the the western societies “Healthy Fatty Acid deficiency is an epidemic”. [1]

Linoleic Acid, known as Omega-6, and Alpha-Linoleic Acid, known as Omega-3 are essential to us. Typically we will have higher levels of Omega-6 in our bodies as they are more common in our diet, but we tend to be low on the Omega-3, hence the supplementation. For a whole food source of Omega-3, you can use Flaxseed, Flaxseed oil, Hemp seed and Walnuts.

A sign that you have very low levels of Fatty Acid’s in your body, is a permanent dry, scaly and bumpy skin, like chicken skin, usually starting on the back of your upper arms.[2]

Now, if you swallow a capsule whole, chances are very big that the capsule will not open in the stomach where it needs to open. Instead, it will continue into the small intestine and open up there. This is a problem, because the small intestine does not have the tools to take care of large fat molecules. The acid in the stomach is supposed to start that process. So, now we have large fat molecules hanging out in the small intestine. This irritates the lining of the intestine and can lead to leaky gut. And because the fat isn’t broken down properly in the right place, we will miss out on all the nutrients we are trying to add.

So, it is possible that you could have been supplementing with fatty acids for a really long time, but still not seeing any results. Talk about throwing your money in the gutter!

The solution is simple. If you are taking capsules, make sure you chew them open before swallowing. That way the stomach acid can do its job and break down the fat into tiny molecules. The taste isn’t always amazing…I suggest taking a sip of water and then just eat a bite of food right away. That way it should be no big deal.


Give digestion a chance to do its thing – chew your Omega-3 capsules!



[1] NTA, NTC, Education Module 6, Fatty Acids
[2] Cure Your Child With Food, Kelly Dorfman, Chapter 6, A Case of Chicken Skin.
Photo by Alex Guillaume and Mira Bozhko on Unsplash