Category Archives: Inspiration

Peekaboo! Who’s There? Senza Zucchero!

Hello, all of you awesome people reading this!
I am so excited that so many of you decided to join in on the No Sugar Challenge in your busy lives. Good for you! If you missed the news, you can read about it here and still join us. We start on Monday the 19th.

A couple of things before we get started on Monday. Yes, we call it a challenge and it might be especially challenging for some of you, if you have never done anything like this before. But, it is not a pass or fail! A challenge is supposed to test you, so you can learn more about where you are right now, and where there is room for improvement. So, try to be in the mindset of curiosity and observation. For example, it could look like the following.

Potential incident: After one day of no sugar, your patience is at an all time low, you’re irritated and you just chewed the head off of one of your colleges. “That person had it coming anyway!”

Potential immediate thinking after potential incident: “I can’t do this S**t! This is no fun and I’m not doing this stupid challenge anymore!!!” while reaching for the nearest candy bar or sugary drink.

Better potential immediate thinking – using observation and curiosity: “WOW! Holy S**t. I just turned into the Super Grinch Monster after just a day of no sugar. I didn’t know that not eating sugar would affect me this much. That’s interesting. I wonder why it’s like that? I will have an apple and then apologize to my college (even though that person had it coming!) I guess there’s more room for improvement than I thought.”

Pay attention to patterns and emotions when it comes to sugar. Write down when you have your strongest cravings. Is there a specific pattern? Is it always with [fill in the blank] or after [ x ]? Also writing down your feelings at that time can be a clue. We are such creatures of habit that we might not even realize which patterns that we are in.

"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."
-Alexander Graham Bell

Writing things down for a week, could highlight some habits and give you valuable feedback. Then you can make a plan, and be prepared with healthy snacks for when your strongest craving usually show up.

When in doubt – eat fruit. Roughly 75% of all the packaged food in supermarkets contain added sugar. (1)

Have a sweet weekend!
And for those of you joining, until Monday.

*(hungry+anger) = hangry

Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash
Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

No Sugar Daddy! Are you in for the week?

Last week I was in walking into a local cafe, here in Haarlem, where I saw these postcards. Curiosity made me wonder what it was about. (Well done, marketing team at Boomerang!) “No Sugar Daddy” is just one of many postcards being distributed to promote a National Sugar Challenge here in Holland. It starts on Monday the 19th of November, and finishes one week later, on Sunday the 25th. What an awesome initiative!

Eating too much sugar or refined carbs puts your blood sugar out of whack. When that goes on for a longer time, it puts an extra burden on the pancreas. This in turn paves the road for Type 2 Diabetes.

Did you know that Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes? They changed the name since increasingly younger and younger kids are being diagnosed with it.Β  And, if you read the blog post from two weeks ago you know that the latest research in cancer is showing that sugar plays a huge part..

So, join me in the Sugar Challenge! If you understand Dutch, (or feel handy with google translate), you can sign up for the Sugar Challenge here. Every day that week you will get some handy tips into your mailbox.

You say “Great idea, but I don’t speak Dutch.” No problemo! I will create a similar style of short messages for every day during the Sugar Challenge week. You can join me here by signing up for the newsletter, or simply by sending me an email with the title “Sugar Challenge – add me”.

Let’s learn a bit about the hidden sugars in our foods, how to read a food label, what happens to blood sugar when we eat, better options to drink in the bar, what is really insulin resistance and why should you care?

December is usually a month over-filled with sweets and candy, so why not take a week to re-set our taste buds before it starts. We often think about doing something like “eating healthier”, but rarely do we put it into action. Here is the perfect opportunity! Grab a college, partner and/or a friend, and let’s do this together.

"Where there is sugar, there are ants."
- Indonesian Proverb

If not eating any refined sugar for a week sounds like too big of a jump right now, sign up anyway! Learn some cool stuff and aim to decrease your consumption for that week. Win-win situation.


C’mon sweethearts! It’s just 7 days. Let’s Go!

Photo by Nathalie Visser
Photo by Gem & Lauris RK on Unsplash
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

It’s Time to Look at Cancer Differently

One good thing with being on long flights, is that its perfect for podcasts. I had a couple of them lined up for my New York trip last week. Some podcasts are just good for passing time, but once in a while you get one of those that make you go “holy shit, that’s some eye opening stuff!” The episode on Pursuing Health with Dr. Julie Foucher where she interviews Dr. Thomas Seyfried on cancer treatment is definitely one of those.

In the podcast called “Challenging Conventional Cancer Care” Dr. Thomas definitely will ruffle some old feathers with this new metabolic therapy approach. Based on his research he says that cancer is not a genetic disease, but a metabolic one. That means that if we take away the foods that fuels cancer, we can get rid of it. Now that is changing how we look at this disease altogether! This would also go along with Chris Kesser who says “Genes load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger“.

“The paradigm change has to be, number one, it’s not a genetic disease. Number two, it’s a mitochondrial metabolic disease, and the treatments that you can use can be totally different than the ones used right now”*

According to Dr. Seyfried there are two types of fuel that feeds cancer. Cancer can use either one, or both of them for fuel depending of what type of tumor it is. So, what are the fuels? Glucose (sugars and almost all processed foods) and glutamine (an amino acid mainly found in animal proteins). Therefore by reducing the intake of these foods you are basically starving the cancer. This is why the Ketogenic diet can be very successful as you are restricting glucose, hence lowering your blood sugar levels.

Did you know that the “cancer survival rate” is just 5 years statistically. That means that if a person survives 5 years with cancer, statistically they will always count as a survivor, even if they die after 5 and a half years. I remember how shocked I was when I found this out a couple of years back. I thought that surviving cancer meant being alive more than 5 years! This is good information to have if you are reading up on statistics for a specific treatment.

Is this a controversial topic? You bet! But, I think it needs to be. Almost everyone has someone close to them affected by cancer these days. “…if we have a solution that’s working, why is the obituary page [in the newspaper] full of people dying from cancer?”.** It’s time to open up the conversation and look at other possibilities as well.


Here is the link on i-tunes if you want to download it. If you are short on time and want to skip to the intro of Dr. Seyfried it starts at 05:35, and the actual interview starts at 09:02.


If you think this seems impossible, well… the planet used to be flat at one time, and lobotomies were still performed in the 60’s, so let’s keep an open mind and start a real conversation about this.
I wish you all a round weekend! πŸ˜‰


P.S. I passed both of my Exams last week and am now officially an NTP(Nutritional Therapy Practitioner)! [feelings of happiness and relief are inserted here]

Also, if this blog post interests you, take a look at this previous blog “Eat your brain into better wellth” and this excellent TED talk by William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer?

The book by Dr. Thomas Seyfried, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease
Mentioned in the podcast, book by Travis Christofferson, Tripping Over the Truth
*in the podcast at 1:05:31
**in the podcast at 34:45

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Three Nutritional Seasons in New York City

Hello everyone!
I have just arrived to New York City once again for my Nutritional Studies! The city is showing off its famous backdrop against the beautiful fall colors. I am excited to be back, but I’m also a bit nervous. The reason I am here this time is to take my Final Exams to become an NTP (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner).*

β€œThe doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”
– Thomas Edison

I truly believe that we can heal ourselves from the inside out from almost anything, if we set the right circumstances and provide the body with good nutrients. What I love about that, is that it puts people back into the drivers seat. Rather than just getting tagged along in the pharmaceutical world as a backseat passenger. Don’t get me wrong, there certainly are times when it makes a lot of sense to use medication.

But, I think that nutrition should always be a huge part of the prescription package, if not supersede it. What Tomas Edison and Dr. Norman Walker says makes a lot of sense to me. So lets all keep working on it, however we can!

“Except for accidents, all the repair and regeneration of our body must come from within. ”
– Dr. Norman Walker

I am very excited about the future, and I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge in this field with you. Our bodies are just the coolest thing!
OK, time to go. While I am making the final preparations to be ready for my Exams, I will leave you with some laughter of how NOT to take an Exam.

If you have never seen this before, it’ll be a treat!
Wishing you a relaxed weekend, wherever you are.


*As an NTP I have even more skills added to my toolbox, compared to my current NTC (Nutritional Therapy Counselor) diploma.
Photo by Jahsie Ault on Unsplash
Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Failing? -Not Just Yet!

As I am in my 4th Year of Osteopathic Medicine Studies at the same time as I am finishing up my second degree in Nutritional Therapy (to become an NTP – Nutritional Therapy Practitioner) the “seemed like a good idea at the time” feels more like “what the *beep*was I thinking, doing this at the same time?!”

The pressure of passing all the exams, does indeed get to me. Being an A-type personality who feelsΒ  the need to do everything (very) well, it does take its toll. Failing is like the worst case scenario that is just not allowed to happen. Sometimes the pressure builds up so much that I don’t even want to start on a project because I am so worried about failing. Right then it seems better not to do it at all. Does anyone recognize this?

What if there was a way to take down this pressure and anxiety of failing a notch? And, what if, in doing so, we could remove a couple of stones in that barrier of “I will not start because then I cannot fail”.

So, when I came across this TED talk by Carol Dweck, it really resonated with me. What if, instead of just using pass/fail, we could allow ourselves to add in “not yet”.

I really thought about this and played out a couple of scenarios in my mind where I imagined myself getting a big fat FAIL slapped in my face – and then changing it to a NOT YET instead.

It is just a tiny word play, but I could feel how my brain relaxed immediately. “Not yet” has air around it. “Not yet” means that there is plenty of room to improve, to evolve, to work on things. OK, so you were not as awesome as you would have liked to be in this very moment, but you are allowed to work on it. Where as FAIL is just a dead end, on a long one way street. No fun going down that road again, is there.

Did you know that when your brain is in a growth mindset (not yet), there is a tonne of activity going on. Verses almost no activity at all in a fixed mindset (fail). When you are in a growth mindset your neurons are firing up and your brain is developing.(1)

OK, so you were not as awesome as you would have liked to be in this very moment, but you are allowed to work on it. There is air around “not yet”.

Of course it might not be possible to implement this one hundred percent of the time, and that’s not the point. But, I bet you could use this a lot more than you think. I would like to challenge you to use “not just yet” instead of “I’m failing” whenever possible. Do you have a chance to implement this at home, at school or at your work? Why not? No, I’m serious -Why…not?

Check out the video and if it flips a switch for you, your kids, your co-worker, or your partner – how cool would that be?!

Failing? – Not Just Yet!
Wishing you all an amazing weekend!



Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash
Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

Optimal Health Formula for the Future You

Just recently I had the pleasure of holding my presentation “Zoom Out!” for a very engaging audience. It was a motivational talk helping them getting started on their healthy week project in the office. But why do I call my talk “Zoom Out!” ?

Because too often when people want to change things they get too stuck in the smaller details, before even addressing the bigger picture. Or they change too much too quickly, making it too hard to adapt all the new habits – which makes one feel overwhelmed, and as if it is impossible to reach the goal. We then give up, and go back to our old habits. It’s better to take one small step at a time, and continue to build from there.

Zoom Out is all about seeing the big picture, and then doing small changes little by little. Choose one small thing to change, and make it into a habit. For example, instead of having a soda every day with lunch, have it every other day. Then, every third day and so on. Once that doesn’t feel like a big deal, add another smaller challenge. For example, I will stand up at work every day after I come back for lunch. Then slowly but surely try to extend that time until it becomes a habit.

The Optimal Health Formula
1. Give your body the best building blocks that you can.
2. Don't put more junk in your body.
3. Help your body to get rid of the already existing junk.

The beauty of this formula is that you can tailor it to your needs. Just adopt it to where you are right now, and see what you are willing to improve on. Lets take a closer look at what that could mean.

1. Give your body the best building blocks that you can.
Our cells renew themselves every single day! In about 10 years we have renewed all of our cells and built a completely new you. I think this is the coolest thing! So, how strong and healthy the future you will be, largely depends on the building blocks that you are giving it to work with. You cannot build a strong castle out of sugar. So, the nutrients that you put into your body, and how well your digestion functions will determine what kind of building blocks your body has to work with. You are what you absorb, not simply just what you eat. You may not notice big changes from day to day, but the accumulation over a long period of time, will shape the future you.

2. Do not put more junk into your body.
We already have so much pollution around us, in the air, in our drinking water, heavy metals, pesticides, and additives in our food. Our body is constantly working to get rid of the junk. It is not an easy job, and the liver and kidneys take a big hit here. Help your body by not adding any more junk. Choose organic produce, and look out for the dirty dozen. Choose the best quality, organic meat that you can afford. Learn about hidden sugars, bad oils and stay away from processed food as much as possible. Choose organic coffee instead of the standard heavily sprayed one. Maybe this could be a great health initiative for your office to take on?

3. Help your body to get rid of the already existing junk.
Help your liver and kidneys so they can do their work. Staying well hydrated, eating vegetables and fiber is key to moving this junk out of our bodies. Standing up at work, moving and sweating also helps a lot. You could start with something simple such as making sure you are properly hydrated, or going into the sauna. Or if you are ready for a much bigger challenge, you could do a full flexed detox program for a week or two. Choose your own level.

These three pieces are really the corner stones to our health, I think. And depending on how much you are asking of your body, and how you want it to feel, you need to be more diligent with your choices.

I would also like to add two more things that I think adds to a positive healthy you. Try to be outside, preferably in nature or a park, even if it is only for a short period of time, every single day. Also, having a positive community around you makes a huge difference. So, it’s a great idea to team up with a friend, college or partner.

It does not have to be super difficult to be a healthier you. Just start where you are right now, and take one small step at a time. Your cells will be delighted with their new building blocks, and over time build a stronger and healthier you.

Let’s all zoom out a bit, and take one step at a time.
Enjoy the weekend!



Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash
*If your office needs an inspirational talk for your next event, send me an email!

Laird Hamilton – the Waterman Icon

When I lived in Santa Cruz in California, it didn’t take long before I learned a lot about surfing. I even had classmates who choose their class schedule depending on when the best surf was. Imagine that! Living in flip-flops and with all this surf talk around me, I soon heard about Laird Hamilton, the most accomplished big wave surfer in the world. Even though I am not surfer (just being on a surf board does not a surfer make!) I have always been amazed at all his accomplishments and the way he has chosen to live his life.

The Ready State with Kelly and Julie Starrett is a great podcast to follow. They recently posted an episode with Laird that I just listened to last week. Since he is someone I respect a great deal and as he was also a part of last weeks blog, it seemed like a good idea to share this episode with you guys. Here it is on I-tunes.

Part from being one of the most iconic and innovative surfers in the world, Laird has had to overcome a lot of treacherous injuries. He has had over 1000 stitches and countless broken bones. The Reef is no gentle place to be crashing into when you fall off the surf board. Having a jet ski crashing into you is also not in your favor…ever.

Through his injuries he has learned to be smart in order to come back strong in the shortest amount of time. Nutrition and movement is certainly two of the keys to that, but they talk about a lot of other topics as well.

This podcast focuses on his way of dealing with injuries and what you can do to prepare your body to be resilient and performing at your highest level. If you haven’t heard of Laird before, check out the video below to get an idea of who he is.

Enjoy the podcast and have a great weekend!



Force of Nature by Laird Hamilton

Cold therapy will help joint pain and arthritis.

Last week we talked about the good effects on sleep by taking a cold shower or an ice-bath before bed. Let’s take a deep dive into the science behind cold therapy. Below are some of the main points discussed in the podcast with Joe Rogan and Dr. Rhonda Patrick.

Cold therapy inhibits an enzyme (collagenase) that breaks down collagen. You need collagen in all of your body, but especially in your joints. When there is a dis-balance in the body, with too much of this enzyme around, too much collagen gets broken down. This causes a lot of pain in your joints, especially noticeable in your hands in arthritis. Because cold therapy helps inhibiting this enzyme, people who have arthritis find this a great help.

TNF-alpha is a signalling molecule that alerts the immune cells in your body to deal with a threat (like a bacteria). However, in arthritis this molecule has gone crazy and keeps screaming “red alert, red alert – there is an infection, fix it now!!!” all the time. The immune cells do not know what kind of threat that they are responding too. They only know that when TNF-alpha says attack, “they shall attack”, whether there is areal threat or not. This creates a situation of chronic inflammation in the body.

What is so cool about cold-therapy is that it inhibits the activity of TNF-alpha. That means that there will be a less amount of inflammation in the body. This has been shown clinically in blood tests by measuring inflammation markers with cold exposure.

Glutathion is a strong antioxidant that can help the body to heal. Just taking the glutathion in a supplement form may not be as beneficial as you think though. Why is that? Imagine you have some damage to a brick wall in your house and you want to fix it. You order a whole bunch of bricks that gets delivered to your house. However, if you do not have a special worker, a brick layer, that will come and rebuild your wall, all you have is a bunch of extra bricks laying on the floor. In terms of glutathion, that is what the bricks are.Β  The brick layer is a special enzyme that you need in order to use the bricks and rebuild your wall. Cold therapy activates this enzyme!

YouΒ  produce a lot more norepinephrine (noradrenaline) when you immerse yourself in the cold, and this is something that all the scientist do agree on. Norepinephrine makes you feel good, it can help your brain to stay sharp and learn more easily and it is also a strong anti-inflammatory.

Using cold immersion also activates your body to make more mitochondria (the energy producing structure inside your cells), which means that you will be able to burn more fat. A side effect of cold immersion that a lot of people like.

Listen to the excellent talk for all the details in this video clip.


Dr. Andy Galpin has a lot of knowledge in this field, and below is a short video where they talk about the effects of cold therapy. Depending on what kind of adaptation you are going for you may want to take your ice bath at different times during the day. Most people with knowledge in this field seems to agree that if you want to build muscle mass, you want to wait an hour after a strength training session before taking an ice bath.


Laird Hamilton is an amazing athlete and an absolute icon in the surf and water world. He has battled a lot of different injuries through his career, and working with cold therapy is something that has helped him a lot. He and his wife Gabby Reece also uses ice bath and sauna as a way to make the body adapt to stress. This can be a great way to add “training” without actually having to go to the gym. You can read more about the benefits of going to the sauna here and here.


If you are close to the ocean, jump in!
It’s the best form of cold therapy that there is.
Have a splashing weekend!

TNF-alpha inhibitor

Quick Tip – Asparagus

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?!

Quick Tip!

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!



Enjoy your bouquet of fresh asparagus!



Photo by Nathalie Visser
Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas, MD

Surgery ahead? You need a strong strategy!

Recently a couple of my friends have been needing surgery. One had torn ligaments in her knee, another one had a damaged disc in the lower back, and the third one crashed on his bike and broke his collarbone. This brought upon a discussion of “can you do anything to make things easier before and after having surgery?”Β  Well, YES!

Anytime you need surgery, whether you are having a smaller problem dealt with, like dental surgery, or something larger like a knee replacement, preparing the body for what is about to come will have a huge impact on your recovery.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
-Benjamin Franklin

No matter how good the surgeon is, having surgery will always be a very traumatic and unnatural event for the body. This is not the time to slack off, lying on the couch all day, feeling sorry for oneself and eating crappy food. Think of this as your mini Olympics. The stronger and better prepared you are for the event, the better you will do.


MobilityWOD has done a really cool and easy to follow infographic on the subject. I strongly suggest you check it out, and also, why not share it with your friends. You never know when you might need it.

Of course, you never plan to have an accident. Especially not one that requires surgery. In this case you probably will not have any time to prepare for the surgery. However, you can still do the most with your rehab, post surgery. MobilityWOD has another great infographic for that as well. You can check it out here.

Another thing to keep in mind (see what I did there) that is very powerful, is using visualization or meditation. Do not underestimate the power of your mind. Think about what you want to happen, and visualize a great result. Do this preferably in short increments during many times of the day, to set the stage for the outcome that you want. If you are not familiar with any of these techniques, I think the app Headspace is a great way to start. You can read more about it here.

I hope you will not need any of these strategies, but that you will find them useful in case you ever do.
Take care of yourselves, and have a great weekend!