Category Archives: Urban Health

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?”  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!

😉

 

 

 



https://www.mobilitywod.com/infographic/presurgery_checklist/
https://www.mobilitywod.com/infographic/surgery-rehab-checklist/

I’m guest hosting this Podcast. Have a listen!

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.

Download the Podcast Episode Here

 

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

 

 

Should Athletes Use Supplements? A Comprehensive Study

When we are trying to perform at our very best as a pro athlete or as an amateur, taking supplements seems to be the thing to do. But, is that the best way to go? And, what is that really based on? The British Journal of Sports Medicine just published a super comprehensive study regarding all things about supplementation and the high-performance athlete.

If you are currently using supplements whether you are an athlete or not, I suggest you read the full study. It also contains some great graphs and specific supplementation information.

My personal view is that you should always start with a whole foods nutrient dense diet, and base your nutritional intake on that. In case you feel the need for a supplementation, do your very best in finding out where that company is sourcing its ingredients, so that you really get what you are after, and not a bunch of bad for you add-ins.

If you don’t have time to read the complete study right now, below are some excerpts to keep in mind from the study.

"Performance-enhancing supplements should be considered only where a strong evidence base supports their use as safe, legal and effective, and ideally after adequacy of sports nutrition dietary practices is ensured."

“Athletes are not immune to the inadequate eating practices or the increased nutrient loss/requirements found in some members of the general population and may even be at greater risk of deficiencies because of increased nutrient turnover or increased losses.”

“Adverse effects from the use of supplements may arise from a number of factors, including the safety and composition of the product per se and inappropriate patterns of use by athletes. Poor practices by athletes include the indiscriminate mixing and matching of many products without regard to total doses of some ingredients or problematic interactions between ingredients.”

Athletes and members of their support team should be aware of the regulations that govern the manufacture and marketing of supplements. According to the 1994 DSHEA (https://ods.od.nih.gov/About/DSHEA_Wording.aspx) passed by US Congress, nutritional supplements sold in the USA that do not claim to diagnose, prevent or cure disease are not subject to regulation by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). Similar regulations apply in most other countries, where supplements are regulated in the same way as food ingredients and are therefore not subject to the stringent regulations that are applied to the pharmaceutical industry. This means that there is no requirement to prove claimed benefits, no requirement to show safety with acute or chronic administration, no quality assurance of content, and liberal labelling requirements.”

“The biggest concern for athletes who compete under an antidoping code (usually the World Anti-Doping Code, as published by WADA) is that supplements can contain prohibited substances that result in an antidoping rule violation (ADRV). Athletes—and their support teams—may be at risk for an ADRV if there is evidence that they have used or attempted to use products containing ingredients on the Prohibited List (www.wada.ama.org). A common problem is the recording of an adverse analytical finding (AAF) of a prohibited substance in a urine sample (‘positive drug test’) as a result of supplement use.”

“For these athletes in particular, even if the ingestion of the prohibited substance was unintentional, the rules of strict liability within the World Anti-Doping Code mean that an AAF will be recorded, and may mean the loss of medals won or records set, and financial sanctions as well as temporary or permanent suspension from competition. It also damages the athlete’s reputation and may lead to loss of employment and income through failed sponsorship opportunities.”

“In deciding whether to use a supplement, athletes should consider all aspects of their maturation in, and preparation for, their event to ensure that the supplement under consideration provides an advantage that no other strategy can address. “

Conclusion

“Dietary supplements can play a small role in an athlete’s sports nutrition plan, with products that include essential micronutrients, sports foods, performance supplements and health supplements all potentially providing benefits. Some supplements, when used appropriately, may help athletes to meet sports nutrition goals, train hard, and stay healthy and injury-free. A few supplements can directly enhance competition performance. However, it takes considerable effort and expert knowledge to identify which products are appropriate, how to integrate them into the athlete’s sports nutrition plan, and how to ensure that any benefits outweigh the possible negative side effects, including the potential for an ADRV. A strict risk-benefit analysis involving a decision tree approach to the effectiveness, safety and risks should identify the small number of products that may benefit the athlete. Such an analysis requires the input of a well-informed sports nutrition professional.”

I hope that this article has given you some food for thought  😉
Have an amazing weekend!

 

 

 

 



http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/7/439.long

http://www.informed-sport.com/news/australian-supplements-survey-highlights-need-testing

https://www.wada-ama.org/en/media/news/2017-09/wada-publishes-2018-list-of-prohibited-substances-and-methods

 

Protect Your Internal Rain Forest This Way (2)

Last week we talked about the importance of protecting your internal rain forest – the microbiome. Below you will find some more specific examples on how to do that. But, isn’t it enough if I just take some probiotic tablets? Doesn’t that take care of things?

Introducing more of the good bacteria into your system aka probiotics, can be a very beneficial thing. However, these probiotics have a very short life span, so it’s not enough just to take a capsule with probiotics. You want to make sure that they survive, and that they can multiply. How do you do that? Feed them the right food, aka prebiotics.

The following are some amazing prebiotics. Try to include as many of them as you can daily and weekly, as they help your good bacteria to live well and do their work.
Tomatoes, Radishes, Leeks, Onions, Asparagus, Carrots, Garlic, Jerusalem artichoke

 

Remove, or avoid as much as possible the following, as they feed the bad bacteria and create an imbalance and inflammation in your gut.
Processed and Packaged foods
Hydrogenated and Trans fats (especially fried foods)
All sugars

 

If you want to read more about this topic, I recommend reading “The Microbiome Diet” by Raphael Kellman. It is a great book, with plenty of background as to why, without making it a “heavy” read.

There are no quick fixes for optimal health. Just do your best daily, and with time even small implementations will have a great impact.
😉


The Microbiome Diet by Raphael Kellman, MD
Photo Nathalie Visser
Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Is Your Internal Rain Forest Collapsing? (1)

No matter what kind of health problem that you may be dealing with, chances are that your internal rain forest, the microbiome, is a major root cause. The microbes in our gut does not only help us with good digestion, they also have a very fast connection to our brain via the Vagus Nerve. This influences how we feel, happy or depressed.

 1. the microorganisms in a particular environment (including the body or a part of the body).
“we depend on a vast army of microbes to stay alive: a microbiome that protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins”
2. the combined genetic material of the microorganisms in a particular environment.
“understanding the microbiome—human, animal, and environmental—is as important as the human genome”

Serotonin, the feel good chemical in our body, is to 90% produced in our gut, not in our brain. Bad microbes can give us bad food cravings as they love sugar. These cravings are often so strong they are beyond your self control. No wonder the gut is also being called our second brain.

Unfortunately our own internal microbiome is collapsing more and more. This is due to more pollution around us and poor food choices that does not contain any healthy pro or pre biotics. The worst offenders to stay away from is any kind of hydrogenated oil, fried food, processed food and sugar. These all feed the bad bacteria in the gut and creates a very negative feedback loop.

Instead focus on whole foods, especially fermented foods and raw vegetables. These help to create a healthy microbiome or “rain forest”. Below is a very interesting talk about how the microbiome works and how it can influence us. I hope that you will find it interesting.

Wishing you all a great weekend!  😉

 

 



Photo by Savs on Unsplash
Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

An Easy Jam Session!

Homemade jam is really something delicious, but most people do not have the time to do it  themselves. The jams and marmalade that you find in the stores are full of food coloring, aromas, and fillers. And we haven’t even mentioned the different types of sugars and sugar enhancers. Even the organic jams contains A LOT of sugar. That is not ideal when you are trying to minimize the amount of sugar intake in your diet. Never eating jam again doesn’t sound like fun, so what can we do?

Try making this super easy and delicious recipe, with no cooking necessary. It takes all about 5mins to prepare, and then you just have to let it sit in the fridge for about 15min to get to the right consistency. This is also a great way to get kids interested in healthy eating, with minimal effort. For this recipe I chose fresh blueberries, but you could use any berry, fresh or frozen.

Quantities:
250g blueberries
30g/ 3 TBLSP Chia seeds (whole or ground)
about 25ml  Water (roughly room temperature)
A splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice (1tsp)
A pinch of good quality sea-salt
*Maybe 1 tsp of honey

Basic Method:
Wash your berries in water, and let the water run off. I like to grind the chia seeds for a smoother texture, but you can use them whole just as well.
Put the blueberries in a mixer, (I like to use a Vitamix) together with the water, lemon juice, and salt. Mix it up real well. Have a little taste, and decide if you need a bit of honey or not. Depending of the sweetness of your berries you might not need any. If you do want some honey, add it to the mixture and mix it in.
Now that you have the right taste, it’s time to add the chia seeds. You only need to blend them in for a few seconds, so that it’s well mixed.

Pour the mixture into a glass jar, put it in the fridge to firm up for about 15min, and that’s it! Your jam will keep for about a week in the fridge, but mine rarely lasts that long! Depending on how firm you like your jam, you can add more or less water, or more or less chia seeds. This recipe makes a firm jam.

If you do not have a mixer you can make it by hand, no problem. Just mash up the berries with a fork, and blend in the rest of the ingredients just like above. Your jam will have a bit more texture this way, but it will taste just as good.

Have fun mixing different berries, and keep up the jammin’  😉

 


Photo by Reine Kase
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash
Photo by Bárbara Montavon on Unsplash

 

Kids in Hospital After Eating Strawberries!

Summer is just around the corner, and in almost any supermarket that you will walk into, you will be greeted by plenty of strawberries. Never mind that they are not in season yet. Never mind that they can make you really sick, or even put you in the hospital! Strawberries are not all safe to eat, so let’s take a closer look at one of the most beloved berries in the World and find out more.*

Strawberries are a great food because among many things they are a low-allergen food, which means that it is very rare for people to have an allergic or intolerance reaction to them.[1] Even so, many people think that they have a strawberry allergy. How can that be?

Last year one of my clients told me the story of how he ended up having to take his young daughter to the emergency room on a Monday, after her symptoms of skin rashes, and itching had gradually become really bad over the weekend. Long story short, it was one of the first weekends where strawberries were being sold, and they had bought a tonne. The daughter, who loves strawberries, had eaten her fare share every day that weekend, and it turned out that she had an allergic reaction to the pesticides that were sprayed on the strawberries, NOT the actual strawberries. Let me say that again – it was the PESTICIDES.

Because strawberries are such fragile fruits, they are sprayed heavily to keep them looking fresh as long as possible. Their skin is also very thin and porous, which means that they soak up anything that has been sprayed on them. Unfortunately, this is not something that you can just rinse off. Strawberries is the very top offender on ewg’s dirty dozen list that I talked about previously. To read even more about the pesticides used on strawberries got to www.ewg.org and type in “strawberries” in the search box, and you will have plenty to read.

Kelly Dorfman, author of Cure Your Child With Food, guides us to ask the following questions regarding your child, or yourself, to help figure out if you are reacting “to something besides the food itself, most likely pesticide residues, artificial flavors or colors or genetically modified food”[ 2]

  1. Do you, or your child get symptoms when eating strawberries sometimes, but not always? When you eat the strawberries at grandmas house you have no reaction, but when you are eating them at home (from supermarket) you get, for example, an itchy throat.
  2. Do you or your child get red cheeks or rashes that seem impossible to attribute to any one food?
  3. Do you or your child complain of an itchy throat or mouth?
  4. Do you or your child seem to be allergic to something, but nothing comes up in allergy testing? (symptoms could be itching, skin rashes, swelling, wheezing, nasal congestion, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness)?
  5. Are you or your child very sensitive to sounds, lights, temperature or smells? This could be an indication of a more delicate nervous system, which will be even more sensitive to toxins.

So, what can you do? Start by paying attention to the questions and symptoms above. Learn about the dirty dozen from ewg. And regarding strawberries I think the best cause of action for your health is to plant them yourself, buy them organic, or simply let it be.

Enjoy the sunshine and your organic strawberries 🙂

 


*This article came out last year, but it is yet again relevant, and so I am re-posting it with some minor alterations.
[1,2] Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND: Cure Your Child With Food, p.256, 269
Photo by Sandra Wattad on Unsplash
Photo by Jessica Ruscello
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Yum! My Food Favorites in New York City

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:
Whole Foods
Foragers Market
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!  🙂


Photos by Reine Kase & Nathalie Visser

Same Shoulder Pain – Two Different Reasons

Last week we talked about different strategies for dealing with a similar problem. Depending on if the origin of the problem is external or internal, our strategy to improve should reflect that. So, lets take a closer look at two different people with “the same” shoulder pain.

Ben shows up at my practice complaining of pain in his right shoulder. It bothers him at work (he works in an office) and during sports. He has taken some painkillers that helps a little bit, but not completely. He also wakes up in the night sometimes because the shoulder bothers him. He does a few quick stretches at the gym, but not always.

Upon further examination it’s clear that all the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder are very tight. When I ask him further about his sports, it turns out that he has increased his workout routine lately, and in particular he is doing a lot more push-ups. I ask him to show me how he does a push-up, and it is clear that he is lacking the proper technique. He is not supporting his shoulders properly, and therefore putting an unnecessary burden on the rotator cuffs. For a while the rotator cuff muscles managed to compensate, but now they have reached a point of exhaustion – enter pain.

Ben’s homework included learning proper push-up technique. He was shocked to find out he had been doing it wrong for all these years. He also learned proper mobility work  for the shoulder, working with a foam roller and lacrosse ball for 10-15 minutes a day. Being strong without being flexible, is a road to injury. With a few complimentary deep tissue massage session he was “as good as new” within a few weeks.

Roy shows up at my practice complaining of pain in his right shoulder. It bothers him at work (he works in an office) and during sports. He has taken some painkillers but it doesn’t seem to help. He wakes up in the night, because the shoulder and neck bothers him, often around 3am. Sometimes he does a few quick stretches at the gym.

Roy’s rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder are very tight. He has not changed his work out routine in the past few months. He has dark, puffy circles under his eyes. The area around the lower end of his right rib-cage is a bit tender to the touch, and there is a slight metallic smell to his skin. These are all signs of an over burdened liver. I check his push-up technique, and it is fine.

He tells me that he drinks about 1-1,5 L of water a day, which he thinks is good. Further questioning reveals that he has had a lot of extra events at work  in the last few months, which includes “wining and dining”. As he feels very tired he drinks coffee throughout the day to keep himself going. Part from the “wining and dining” in the evening, he is quite rushed during the day and tends to eat quickly on the go, mostly carbs, like sandwiches and sweet stuff. All of these things have put a tremendous burden on his liver, which indirectly through shared nerve pathways sends pain into his shoulder.

Roy’s homework is to learn about proper hydration, diuretic beverages and basic liver function. He downloads the app to re-educate himself about how much and what he drinks, so that he can adjust accordingly. He was surprised to calculate that his baseline of drinking water is almost 3 Liter a day. He stops taking painkillers as they increase the burden on the liver. He reduces the intake of caffeine and alcohol, and notice that he starts sleeping a lot better.
He also learned proper mobility work  for the shoulder, working with a foam roller and lacrosse ball for 10-15 minutes a day, to speed up the recovery. With a few complimentary deep tissue massage session he was “as good as new” within a few months.

I hope these two examples has given you some ideas and food for thought in terms of problem solving. Making a change takes time and effort, but what could be more important in the long run, than investing in your own health?   😉

 


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