Category Archives: Urban Health

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.  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!

You  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 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17970890

Trouble Sleeping In The Heat? Let’s fix it!

It has been really hot all over Europe for the last couple of weeks. It was also very hot last week in New York City where I was for my Nutritional Therapy studies. Therefore the topic of sleeping well, when it is really hot, has come up plenty of times in the last few weeks. A lot of people find it very hard to go to sleep, but also find themselves waking up a lot during the night. Besides blasting an AC on full capacity – What can you do?

To improve on the situation I find that an ice-bath works really well. It is like the cold temperature resets your nervous system. It is actually great for your immune system and can help to relieve pain. Also, bringing down your body temperature just a little makes a hot room seem a lot more agreeable.

When: I prefer to do this right before I go to bed. If you have some epsom salt, or sea-salt throw that in the bath too. I usually put in a total of about 1-2 dl (½-1 cup).

Put the tap on the coldest setting and fill up the bathtub. Get in the tub and stay there for a couple of minutes. When your body starts shaking, it’s a good time to get out. For me that usually takes +15 minutes. You do not need to stay in that long though if you don’t want too. You will still have some beneficial effects.

Are you feeling adventurous and want to take it to the next level? – then add actual ice cubes to the bath. We are not talking one little ice-tray here, but more like a large bag of ice, or even two.

No bathtub? Then you can use the shower. Put it on the coldest setting and stay in there for about 5 minutes or more. If you don’t mind getting your hair wet, stand right underneath the shower for maximum cooling effect. Otherwise aim the shower for the upper part of your neck and base of your scull. You have a lot of nerve-tissue in this area, which will have a better response than if you have the water aimed at your upper back.

Don’t want to shower? Then get a large ice-pack, or two, and put them on your neck and shoulders. Make sure it is covering the upper part of your spine. Keep the ice on for as long as you can, at least 20min or so, depending a bit on the size of your ice-pack. Remember to have a thin layer of clothing, like a t-shirt, between your skin and the ice-pack. Otherwise you might end up with frostbite on your skin.

I have tried all the above methods and I find that the ice-bath in the tub works the best. But, all the other methods will definitely improve on the situation either way. Bringing down the body temperature just a little makes me fall asleep very easily, and I usually sleep through the whole night. Try out the different methods and let me know how it works for you.

Some amazing people, Laird Hamilton, Gabrielle Reece, Kelly Starrett, Brian Mackenzie, Wim Hof, Tim Ferriss and Dr. Rhonda Patrick just to name a few, think ice-baths should be a standard in your life. We will take a deep dive into that kind of chemistry and cold therapy next week.

“Ice, ice baby”
Have a great weekend!
😉



Cashew Milk in Three, Two, One – Done!

Cashew milk is a a great substitute for normal milk. Whether you are trying to be dairy free for a while or are just looking for things to mix it up, cashew milk is a great start. It is so easy to make yourself that you really cannot go wrong. Full of nutrition and good fats, it’s  a great addition to a healthy diet. A lot of the ready made “lactose-free” milks out there still contain a lot of extra stuff that you do not want, like refined sugar, food coloring, and different preservatives. Why not get rid of all that junk by doing it yourself? Trust me – it really is super easy!

 

Method:
Soak 130g raw organic cashews (2.3dl/ 1 cup) in cold water over night.
– The next morning –
Rinse the cashews and drain
Put them in a mixer* together with:
1 L water
a tiny bit of sea-salt
1 teaspoon maple syrup/ honey
Mix it on high for about a minute…and
Done!

Store the cashew milk in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Shake it up before using. With the Vitamixer I don’t feel the need to strain the milk, but of course you could if you want an absolute sediment free cashew milk. In that case pour the mixture through a very fine mesh strainer, or use a nut bag for this particular purpose.

You can play around with the amount of water to cashews until you find a texture that you really like. The less amount of water you use, the creamier your milk will be. Use it as substitute for any recipe that calls for milk or in your coffee. It’s a great addition to that cold brewed coffee we talked about last week. The type of maple syrup or honey you use can also greatly vary the taste, which can be really fun depending  on what you want to use it for. Just try it out!

Extra tip: If you forgot to put the cashews in water the night before, you can make a short cut and save yourself. Boil some water and cover the cashews with it. Within 20 minutes you can follow the recipe as if you had soaked them over night. Why not always do this? For one, when you are heating things up you will loose some of the nut’s nutrition and raw qualities. It also seems to spoil quicker, and I find the taste better when using cold water.

Enjoy experimenting in the kitchen! 😉


*You will need a strong mixer for the best result. I use the Vitamix

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
Photo by Nathalie Visser

Cold Brewed Coffee in Nat’s Kitchen

Cold Brewed Coffee is definitely a thing in the States, and it is slowly making its way into Europe. I even saw some in the local supermarket the other day. But, hang on – are we even supposed to drink more coffee?

Well, when it comes to coffee, two things are for sure. Number one: it is one of the most heavily sprayed produce on the market (pesticide, herbicide, fungicide) so always choose organic.
Number two: It is a stimulant. This means that it will put your nervous system into sympathetic mode aka “fight and flight”, which puts you on high alert and gets you ready to run away from that potential bear. Sometimes this is a good thing, and just what you are after. But, if you are constantly hitting that stimulant button throughout the day, it is going to exhaust your nervous system.  Further  down the line this could  lead to sleeping problems and becoming “burned out”. So, the moral of the story is this, choose your moments of organic coffee drinking with care, “less is more”, and remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Now that we have that out of the way, what is up with cold brewed coffee? I first heard of it about 1 year ago, and thought it sounded absurd. Cold coffee – yuk! On my latest trip to New York City I got the chance to try a couple of different ones though, and the taste was a very pleasant surprise. There might actually be something to this cold brewed craze after all! As it is very easy to make yourself, I decided to try a couple of different methods at home. Rather than using hot water for a short period of time, you use cold water for a very long period of time.

During summer time this is really the perfect coffee to drink, I think. The bonus of steeping the coffee grounds in cold water, rather than hot, is that it makes the coffee a lot less acidic, and more smooth to the taste. Less acidity should also make it easier on the teeth and stomach. A lot of people also notice a difference regarding their stomach when switching to organic coffee, so give it a go if you haven’t already.

Nat’s Cold Brewed Coffee:
Ideally start this process in the early evening, that way you have great cold brewed coffee for the morning. It takes about 12-16 hours. There are many ways to make a cold brew, this is one method that I find super easy and tasty.

Tools You Need:
1 glass Jar (holding at least 500ml)
500ml of water
a fine mesh strainer/coffee filter
40gram Coffee beans
coffee grinder (or get the beans ground at the store)

Method:
Grind 40g of organic coffee beans
on the most coarse setting (largest grind). This is a very important step. If you use coffee that is finely ground, your coffee will become acidic and not taste good due to the long extraction time.
Pour the ground beans into the glass jar.
Pour the 500ml of water into the jar and stir with a spoon for a second or two.
-Optional Extra step- After an hour or two, stir the mix again.
Put a lid on the jar and put in the fridge for about 12-16h.
– Have yourself a great evening –
After the 12-16 hours, (Good morning!) use a fine mesh strainer to strain the coffee grounds. (I prefer a fine mesh stainless steal strainer for tea, that way there is no extra waste, or potential contaminants from the coffee filter.)

What you are left with is an awesome cold brewed coffee concentrate. So for your cup of coffee, you want to add some water. I typically will go 50/50 but this is obviously a taste preference. Or, you could add a splash of cashew milk to make it a real treat! Cashew milk is a great substitute for dairy, and it’s so easy to make. But, more on that for next week.

Remember to drink responsibly and have a great weekend!
😉

 


Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
Photo by Nathalie Visser

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
https://draxe.com/asparagus-nutrition/
https://www.styleoga.it/en/detox-with-asparagus/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus
Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas, MD

When is the ripe time to eat fruit?

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 ever a 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
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Photo by Caju Gomes on Unsplash

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