We are still lucky enough to be in the season where we have fresh asparagus. I really like this vegetable! Not only does it make any dish a little extra fancy, but it also packs an amazing punch nutrient wise. Asparagus is also very easy to prepare, so what’s not to like?!
Cut off about 1 cm (1/2" for my metrically challenged friends) when you get home from shopping. Put the Asparagus in water, just as if they were flowers. No matter what shape they were in when you bought them, they will recover really well, and they will also last longer.
This way you could cook them a few days after buying them, and they will just be as fresh as if you had just gotten them that day.
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) have great nutritional value and especially contains a lot of Vitamin K. For these reasons it is often recommended in Detox programs. As with most vegetables, it is also high in fiber which helps with good digestion.
One of the ways I like to eat Asparagus is like this: Slice them up in fine pieces, throw them in a medium to hot pan with a bit of apple cider vinegar, together with some onion and mushrooms. Cover with a lid until the right tenderness is achieved. Add a bit of olive oil, some fresh ground pepper and you’re done!
It is summer season with lots of light and warm weather. Because of that nature starts offering us a lot of amazing fruits. Fresh, sun-ripened and bursting with flavor, this is a good time for all things fruit. Fruits are very high in nutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants. This makes them a great addition to any kind of diet.
Is there evera bad time to eat fruit? Well actually, yes! Fruits are very easily broken down by our digestive system, and so they pass through our gut very quickly. This is a good thing, because it makes all the nutrients that they contain very easily available for our body. But, because they are broken down into their smaller parts so quickly, what happens if there is a big roadblock in the way?
What do I mean by that? Because fruits contain a lot of fruit sugar, it is good that they can go through our system swiftly and get absorbed into our bloodstream. (Think of an athlete eating a banana during a match for instance. It is quick fuel.) Things that take a long time for our digestive system to break down are proteins(in particular animal) and fats. (I bet you have never seen an athlete gulf down a heavy burger with extra sauce and fries during a game!) This means that if you just had a heavier meal with lots of meat and/or fat, like at a BBQ for instance, your digestive system will be working very hard to process all of it. This type of meal will take a lot longer to process than something like fruit or vegetables.
The best way is to eat fruit on their own, or with some vegetables. Eat them as a snack or perhaps 20-30min before eating something else. That is usually how long it takes for the fruit to pass through your stomach. Fruit usually mix very well with vegetables as they are also fairly easy to digest. So, if you want to add some fruit to a salad or in your smoothie, go for it. It should not be a problem.
But back to the roadblock question. Imagine you have just been to a BBQ and you had quite a heavy meal. Because fruits are delicious and in season, you think you are doing something good for your health by finishing the meal with a fruit salad. A short while after you are not really feeling very well, and your tummy might swell up a little or a lot.
That bloating of your gut comes from the fruit sugar not being able to pass through the stomach as quickly as it usually does. This is because all of the protein and fat have not been digested yet and are “in the way”. As the fruit hangs out in your warm body for much longer than it should, containing all that fruit sugar, it simply starts to ferment. That fermentation produces gas, and this is what makes your stomach feel bloated and swollen.
Because of this it is not ideal to have a heavier meal and then finishing it off with fruit. The exception to the rule would be pineapple, because it contains a lot of cool enzymes that actually helps with digestion. However, if you ask me, I would still not have a whole lot of pineapple at the end of a larger meal. But, as always, try it out for yourself and pay attention to how you feel.
I like to snack on fruit, like an apple, while I’m preparing lunch or dinner. (Choose organic as much as you can.) That way you have 20-30 min between the fruit and the meal. It’s an easy way to set yourself up for good digestion.
Choose the ripe time to eat your fruit, and enjoy the weekend! 😉
Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas, MD
A couple of moths ago I was asked to be a guest host on the Swedish Podcast“Cykelpratarna”, roughly translated to “The bike talkers”. Cykelpratarna is made by Anders Adamson and Tomas Jennebo, and it has been really fun to work with them and creating this podcast. I also have a new found respect for all the great podcasters out there. It is definitely not as easy as it sounds!
For those of you who know me a little bit better you know that my life has been multi faceted to say the least. I have lived in many different countries and I have had many different “lives” from Scuba Diving Instructor in Bali, to working in a private bank to working as I do now. In one of my other “lives” it was all about cycling. First on my own competing, and then working for some of the best pro teams in the World.
This Podcast focuses on my background in cycling, but I talk about other things as well, and what I am up to at the moment. So, you do not need to be a cycling expert to be able to tag along. If you want to find out more about me, and listen to some of my favorite songs, then you can either stream the podcast here, or just download it below. At the moment it is only available in Swedish, however if you are interested in getting an English version, send me an email titled “podcast in English” and we’ll take it from there.
I have also attached some pictures from back in the days. Some of them are mentioned in the podcast with an accompanying story of course.
The famous BUTTON in Fabian’s white shirt! Here we are celebrating Fabian Cancellara’s win of Paris-Roubaix with the Team, which Marcus Ljungqvist was also a part of. Fun times!
Competing on cobbles somewhere in Belgium 2003.
Always a laugh with these two! Sport director Tristan Hoffman, and rider Kurt Asle-Arvesen. A usual afternoon for me, working on the Team.
The famous Survival camp with the Team. Here I am getting on a sail boat in the middle of the night during winter in Denmark. It was the start of three long, cold, wet days with hardly any sleep or food, and lots of hard work. A very interesting experience!
Just another day at work, here during the Giro d’Italia with Bjarne Riis. Below at the World Championships in Madrid.
Spring training camp in Italy, here with Aussie rider Luke Roberts.
Working on the WTA Pro Tour Tennis circuit and at the WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
Finally all of the matches have finished for the “day” at 11pm, and we can go for dinner!
With Chair Umpire Isabell during a WTA Tournament. Remember have fun and… never take yourself too seriously! 🙂 Until next time
There is so much to choose from in this busy city, that it is sometimes hard to know where to begin. I got some great recommendations for when I was there last week, and the following places that I tried were really great! A special shout out to my classmate Andrea for all the great recommendations! If you happen to be heading to NYC anytime soon, I hope this list will help you getting started.
Restaurants Hu’s Kitchen – This place is awesome! A great variety of warm food and plenty of tasty salads to choose from. Organic food. It’s more of a fast food restaurant inside so it’s best suited for a short stop or for picking up food. On 5th Avenue. Sunday in Brooklyn – What a great restaurant this is! Definitely worth a detour to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Innovative and excellent quality. The food, atmosphere and service was spot on! I highly recommend it! Foragers – In Chelsea this restaurant is combined with a market. Great food, and good food shopping in the market. In Brooklyn there is also a restaurant in the food court, underneath Target, on Flatbush Avenue. Gran Electrica – If you like tacos that takes it to the next level and Mexican food, this place is awesome! It’s in Dumbo, right next to one of the most famous pizza places in Brooklyn called Grimaldis. We didn’t make it there though.
Minetta Tavern – If you want a real old school feeling and some excellent food then this place is for you. Make a reservation, or try your luck for a seat at the bar where you can eat as well. The Butcher’s Daughter – A plant based restaurant with plenty of fun and tasty options in the Nolita area.
Bone broth, juice and sweets! Bone broth is a thing in NYC and you can even get yours in a cup to go. Brodo in East Village was my favorite, but Springbone Kitchen in West Village was great too. They also had some other food options. Both are tiny places, and more of a quick stop, unless you can score a window seat at Springbone Kitchen. Juice Press – I love this place! Great quality and taste. Go here for green juices, smoothies and healthy snacks. Try their E3Live Algae. Billy’s Bakery – One should only eat sweets on rare occasions. But, if it happens to be a special occasion, then this is your place! Yum!
If you are close to Central Park, head over to the Plaza Food Hall underneath the Plaza hotel between 5th and 6th avenue.
Supermarkets with organic food:
Perelandra Natural Foods in Brooklyn. Try their Cocoyo yogurt, it’s the best ever!
Amish market in the Financial District, a block away from Whole Foods.
Other things to try:
Organic Cold Brewed Coffee (a lot less acidic than regular coffee). I like Chameleon Espresso and Lucky Jack Old School.
Try Kombucha in a bottle, or find it in some local cafes on tap. It’s great for your gut flora. TodayTix – app for Broadway shows and Comedy acts. You can also use this for London. Very user friendly.
Uber, Lyft, and Via are great car sharing apps The Guggenheim museum – amazing building by Central Park, and great if you want a smaller exhibition.
Have fun exploring in New York City, and let me know what your favorites are! 🙂
Our body is made up of different complex systems. Therefore, you shouldn’t necessarily single out and look at the importance of just the one organ. But, in this case I believe we can.
Our amazing liver has more than 500 different functions in the body! If the liver is not able to work as it should, all of the functions that it is involved with will suffer. Other organs will try to pick up the slack for a while, but ultimately they will fail. This over time can make our bodies completely exhausted and sick.
I believe that it’s hard to take good care of something that we don’t understand. So, why not get a little better familiar with our super hero the liver? This short video gives an excellent summary of what’s going on. And if you are new to this blog, you can read a bit more about the liver here and here.
Let’s keep on learning to better understand our body! 😉
Certain foods can really benefit from some quick preparation, such as soaking. It makes the food (such as legumes and grains) much easier to digest, gets rid of the stuff we don’t want and enhances our absorption of their nutrients. It only takes about 2 minutes and a little bit of planning ahead, and that’s it!
So, why is soaking so beneficial? What would you do if all of a sudden out in the distance you saw a big wolf coming charging at you? I bet you would run away as fast as you could and take cover. Phew! That was scary, but now you are safe.
Well, what do you do if you are a plant? As the plant does not have the ability to run away to avoid the predator, it has to choose a different method. Chemical warfare! When plants are being eaten or attacked, lets say by insects, it changes its chemical structure around the area that was just bitten into to protect itself. It will taste more bitter to the animal, and maybe after a few bites the animal will leave the plant alone.
This is also why a fresh vegetable that hasn’t been damaged in transportation, will taste so much sweeter than a vegetable that has been banged up in transport. The vegetable is simply trying to protect itself. One year we had brussel sprouts in our garden, and a friend of mine liked eating them so much she decided to buy some at the store later that week. Unfortunately though, she told me that they had tasted so bitter that she really didn’t like them. That is how big of a difference plant chemical warfare can make.
Plants also protect their seeds with a layer of phytic acid. For us humans the phytate can irritate the lining of the gut, and also prevent the absorption of some minerals. All legumes, seeds, nuts and grains have this natural protective layer. We can usually handle a small amount of phytic acid, but not a lot. This is why some people experience a lot of extra gas or abdominal discomfort after having eaten beans for instance. The digestive system has a hard time with the phytic acid and so the beans do not get digested very well. When the beans enter the lower intestine the oligosaccharides (sugar) start to ferment there. Hence all the discomfort and gas.
Enter soaking! I will use lentils in this example. When we soak lentils in water before cooking them, the phytic acid gets broken down, and so it is much easier for us to digest. If you add a splash of apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice to the water you will enhance the process of breaking down the phytic acid even further.
An added bonus to this is that it is actually very inexpensive to buy organic dry lentils, and they will double in volume after soaking. It is also very easy to store them at home, so you could buy them in bulk to save even more. Lentils are also very nutrient dense and full of protein so it is a great addition to any diet. Having soaked the lentils also cuts down on the cooking time, so you will be even more efficient in the kitchen.
Soaking – what’s not to like?!
How to prepare the lentils The night before: Rinse your lentils well, and cover with plenty of water, and a dash of apple cider vinegar. The lentils will double in size so make sure you use a large bowl/pot. You could of course also start in the morning and cook them at night. Try to get at least +8h of soaking time.
The next morning: Pour out the old water and give the lentils a quick rinse with clean water. Put the lentils in a pot and cover them with plenty of water. *Exp.level; Add Kombu.
Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the lentils are tender. You want tender and not mushy. This takes approximately 10 min, depending a bit on which type of lentil you are using. Red and yellow lentils are usually very quick to cook (5min), and green/brown takes about 10min.
*Expert level: Add a piece of kombu to the lentils. Kombu is a large seaweed that has an amazing ability to neutralize some of the gas-producing compounds in the lentils. This is especially good when cooking beans, as beans have a tougher shell than the lentils. The Kombu will also expand in size, so a small piece will go a long way. Discard after cooking.
If you are using it with beans, take it out after about 45min of cooking otherwise it will be all mushy and hard to separate from the beans.
This Instagram post by Coach Ben Bergeron is just too good not to share. It just sums up so much in one picture. I really don’t think that I have to add anything to it. Hopefully this will provoke some good head-work, and help you to evaluate your own situation, whether in sports, relationships or work.
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”
“We cannot all do great things in life, but we can do small things with great love.”
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 freestocks.org, Denys Nevozhai, Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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