If you have ever felt confused about the concepts of going Paleo, Keto or Plant-Based, then this episode is certainly for you! What I find so interesting about Drew Harrisberg in this situation, is the amount of personal data that he has been collecting over the years.
Because he has Type 1 diabetes, Drew has this unique situation that has allowed him to monitor what is going on INSIDE his body for a really long time. That is definitely some amazing knowledge to have!
Being an exercise physiologist, he also noted very early on the effect that working out had on his insulin sensitivity. Wanting to do the best he could nutrition-wise he started searching for “the best” diet to follow. He started out with Paleo but that is certainly not where he ended.
What’s so great about Drew’s story you ask? Well, because of his type 1 diabetes, he has his blood work done all the time. This accumulated data tells a story on its own, because what we see on the outside, does not necessarily mirror what’s going on – on the inside. Meaning, he was looking super fit and lean, but his insulin sensitivity was telling another story.
So, due to his constant blood-work, he could track and get a much more complete picture of what was going on inside of him. Ultimately this prompted him to change the way he is eating today.
This is such an interesting podcast between Drew Harrisberg and Simon Hill with the Plant Proof podcast!
Also, Drew and Simon mention a lot of studies during the podcast and you can find them here.
I hope you will enjoy their conversation as much as I did.
Have an amazing weekend! 😉
 This is when your pancreas stops producing insulin, often due to an autoimmune disease, and therefore you have to get insulin injections.
Photo from the Plant Proof website www.plantproof.com
Photo from Drew’s Daily Dose www.drewsdailydose.com
Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash
Hey there Team!
I hope that you are all doing well, and have something nice planned for the weekend. There are so many fresh vegetables around at this time of the year. One of my favorites is carrots.
Here is a question: When you buy fresh carrots, what do you do with the green tops?
Do you just cut them off and throw them away? I used to do that for years, until I found out that you can actually eat them. Carrot greens are really nutritious, and good for you, just like the actual carrot itself, so do take advantage and eat the greens as well. Also, eating these greens creates less waste. What’s not to like?
You can eat them raw, but unless they are super fresh it’s maybe not the best way to do it. You could add them to a green smoothie of course, or use it for a home made pesto. The one version I tend to use the most is just to slightly cook them with other veggies. Just like I would if I was using spinach or kale.
You could also put them in a soup or stir-fry them in a pan. The stems can be a bit chewier so you might want to cut them up quite fine, and put the fine leafy tips in at the very end as they cook very fast. Just try it out and see what you like the best!
Quick tip! Cut the very top off the carrot off, with the greens still attached to it. Then put the ends in a bit of water and place in the fridge. This way the carrot tops stay fresh for another couple of days. Then you can choose the most convenient day for you to cook with them.
A little while ago I was attending a lecture on nutrition in Amsterdam. The speaker told us how one of his best friends, who works in agriculture, said that whenever they want to “clean” soil that had been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, they would plant carrots as they were really good at absorbing all of that. For that reason, even though carrots are not on the top of the dirty dozen list, he told us to never buy non-organic carrots. It’s just not worth the gamble.
Growing carrots with kids is a great way for them to take an interest in vegetables and cooking. Don’t have a garden – no problem. Just get a larger pot and plant some carrot seeds in there. Easy! You don’t always need a lot of space for something to grow.
If you have never used carrot greens before, I do hope that this post have inspired you to try it out. Get that extra boost of Vitamin A and enjoy those extra greens on your plate!
Have an amazing weekend rescuing those carrot tops! 😉
Hey there Team!
I hope that you are all doing very well, and are able to enjoy the longer days outdoors. What does it really mean to get a diagnosis? Is that the real answer to our difficulties? Does it mean that we should stop thinking about problem solving as soon as we hear “your diagnosis is XYZ”? Let’s first take a look at what the word diagnosis really means.
noun: diagnosis; plural noun: diagnoses
the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.
OK, so based on looking at the symptoms we should be able to ID the nature of the problem. Meaning, if I have a swollen knee, the nature of the problem is probably inflammation. In that case my diagnosis is inflammation in the knee. A typical treatment would be to eat anti-inflammatory pills, and stay away from sports, right. We all recognize this type of scenario.
Now, if you just got bitten in your knee by a huge spider, rat or the neighbors crazy kid, this kind of treatment makes perfect sense. Maybe you crashed from your bike? However, I dare to say that this is not the typical case scenario.
In that case (so in pretty much all the cases) you need to start asking WHY? OK, so you have inflammation in your knee, but why? Is it because you just started a new exercise program, and you haven’t done that many squats in decades? If so, are you doing enough mobility exercises every day to help your body getting used to the new load? Is your form really good?Ask your coach, find out what you need to work on. Do you have good hip range of motion (ROM)? If not, that could compromise the position of your knee, forcing your knees to collapse inwards. Are you sitting all day at work?
How is your hydration and nutrition? Was your appendix taken out? Are you sometimes constipated? This can have an impact on the blood circulation, lymph system and organ system. If there is an imbalance there, it can create adhesion and feed chronic inflammation over time. Chronic inflammation will weaken your body, but you typically don’t notice it until you are asking more of your body and find a weak spot. In this case your knee.
When getting a diagnosis, ask yourself – Why? Not in a self-pity way, but in a science way. OK, so what are all the possibilities for creating inflammation in my knee? In which of those areas can I improve? How can I help my body on as many levels as possible?
If your Thyroid is a mess, ask Why? Read books, listen to podcasts, find out what nutrients your thyroid needs to feel good. What can you do to make sure that those nutrients are absorbed? What things might be good to exclude?
If you keep rolling your ankles and it takes them a long time to heal, it might be worth looking into the effects of too much cortisol in your body, and how that weakens the ligaments. What could you do to lower the levels of cortisol?
If your answer to the WHY is “it’s genetics” or “bad luck” or “I guess it’s the age” I believe that you have given up on all the amazing things that your body is capable of. Remember, the default mode of the body is to heal itself. Often it’s us who gets in the way, or take the easy way out thinking medication will fix it for us. A diagnosis often describes the symptoms, but seldom tells us the root cause of those symptoms.
Of course it’s not easy to try and figure out all the different whys and mechanisms behind a certain diagnosis. If that was the case we would have solved cancer by now, right?! But understanding the many different mechanisms behind a certain diagnosis, might broaden your horizons and make you see something you haven’t before. And maybe improving in that area, will improve other areas as well.
“Eating food is the biggest variable in our lives. The biggest. So why not eat the best? Why not eat nutrients instead of calories and you watch your body rebuild and transform.”
-Dr. Robert Zembroski on Impact Theory
Here is the really interestingpodcast/video on this topic with Dr. Robert Zembroski.
Hey there Team! Last week we talked about how your health is connected to your stinky breath.
Quick recap from last week:
If we think about the mouth as a large entrance hallway, what other rooms lead to that same hallway? Well, OK we have the esophagus coming from the digestive system. Then we have the sinuses. (Anyone who has ever had to do a saltwater rinse for a sinus infection knows that all that yucky stuff ends up in the mouth). And last but not least, your lungs, via the trachea, also leads to that same hallway.
That means, that if there is any kind of imbalance, infection, or bad bacterial overgrowth in any one of these areas, it can lead to a stinky, bad breath (aka halitosis). This is something that is commonly known in Eastern Medicine, but not so often talked about in our Western type Medicine. So what can you do if you suffer from halitosis? Phoebe is definitely asking the right question!
what are they feeding you?”
-Phoebe, in Friends
If your bad breath is something that is occurring often, or all the time, I would look into your food choices. This is the easiest thing for us to change. And, I also believe that it has the biggest impact on our bodies as well. Your best bet is to stay away from processed foods and eat a well prepared whole foods diet.
Why not make a note of when you notice the stinky breath coming back or being particularly bad. Ask yourself what kind of foods and drinks that you had a day or two before that. It’s sometimes very easy to notice a pattern occurring, if you just start to pay attention. For instance, if you have really bad morning breath, what did you eat and drink the night before?
If your digestion is a bit sluggish, it means that it takes too long for the food to be broken down. Also, eating a heavy meal late at night is not ideal, as your digestion slows down at night. As the food then hangs around in your intestines for too long, it starts to rot and bad bacteria has a field day. Add a sugary dessert at the end of that heavy meal, and your bad bacteria are totally overjoyed! When bad bacteria is busy, they create a lot of stinky gas.
This is the gas that comes back to your mouth and makes your breath smell. It’s like having an open garbage bin with rotten food in the other room. Even if you try to close the door, after a while it’s going to stink.
The foods that takes the longest to break down is fat and protein, particularly if it’s coming from an animal. Therefore it would be interesting to eliminate (or reduce as much as you can) these foods. A lot of people also do not do well with dairy, so that’s another one to watch out for.
If you have noticed your breath being a challenge sometimes, why not take a week or three and eat lots of veggies and whole foods. Give your body a chance to clean out the gunk! Go easy on the fats, and meats as this is harder for the body to digest. Completely stay away from all fried foods, dairy and processed foods. A lot of people get surprised as how quickly their breath clean up when they do this.
After that make a note when you notice the bad breath coming back and what kind of foods that you ate a day or two before that. On the same smelly topic, if you, or someone near you is having to use a lot of deodorant to smell better, then this article “too dirty for a shower” might interest you as well.
Phoebe was asking the right question all along…
😉 Have a great weekend everyone!
Hey there Team!
It’s the weekend in Europe where we change the clock for daylight summer time. Are you as excited about warmer weather and more sun as I am?! To a completely different subject: Last week the topic of bad breath came up in a conversation at work. It seems that most of us don’t know all that much about it – other than that it stinks!
Let’s take a closer look at what could be connected to bad breath, called halitosis in medicine. Commonly most people think that you cannot really do that much about bad breath, other than brush your teeth, and maybe use some kind of mouth wash. The bad breath must come from your mouth, right?
Halitosis is formed by volatile molecules which are caused because of pathological or nonpathological reasons, and it originates from an oral or a non-oral source.
Well, lets take a step back. For instance, our breath can tell us about the alcohol level in our blood through an alcohol breathalyzer test. You can also check for SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) through a series of breathalyzer tests. These are things that we take for granted and know to be true. Well, if we measure alcohol levels and bad bacteria in the intestines from our breath, maybe there is more to bad breath than we thought.
Our mouth is the beginning of the tube that is our digestive system (esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum) and our anal canal is at the very end of it. Just like stinky gas can come out at the end, it also can come out at the top.
If we think about the mouth as a large entrance hallway, what other rooms lead to that same hallway? Well, OK we just mentioned the esophagus of the digestive system. Then we have the sinuses. (Anyone who has ever had to do a saltwater rinse for a sinus infection knows that all that yucky stuff ends up in the mouth). And last but not least, your lungs, via the trachea, also leads to that same hallway.
That means, that if there is any kind of imbalance, infection, or bad bacterial overgrowth in any one of these areas, it can lead to a stinky, bad breath. This is something that is commonly known in Eastern Medicine, but not so often talked about in our Western type Medicine. So what can you do if you suffer from halitosis?
Of course you want to start with good mouth hygiene and proper dental check-ups. Making sure that you are well hydrated is often overlooked in this regard. A dehydrated body and mouth makes it easier for bad bacteria to move in and stay there. Cigarettes are not helping your breath in any way. “Get rid of the cancer sticks!” as my friend Suzanne says.
If your bad breath is something that is occurring often, or all the time, I would look into your food choices. Your best bet is to stay away from processed foods and eat a well prepared whole foods diet. We’ll take a closer look at this next week.
For now try making a note of when you notice the bad breath coming back or being particularly bad. Ask yourself what kind of foods and drinks that you had a day or two before that. It’s sometimes very easy to notice a pattern occurring, if you just start to pay attention.
Currently there is also a lot of really cool research connecting different gases in our breath to serious health conditions. Check out this interesting TED talk to learn more on this topic.
If top scientists are thinking about our breath and what it can tell us about our health, don’t you think it would be a good idea to pay attention to yours, especially it it stinks?!
Wishing you all a great weekend with plenty of fresh breath! 😉
Hey Team! How is everyone doing? A lot of people tend to be looking for healthy recipe options in January, after the over indulgences in December. This oatmeal recipe is one of my absolute favorites. The taste is great and it fills you right up. It has all of the good stuff, none of the bad, and it is also easy to adjust to fit your personal taste.
No milk of any kind is required for this recipe. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure you get the gluten free oats. I call this recipe “nutrionally complete” because it has a great mixture of healthy carbs, protein, fats and fiber.
Creamy Oatmeal - Dairy Free (for 1 person)
1 ripe banana (or apple, berries)
1- 1.5 dL Oats (pre-soaked is good but not a must, use small flakes or large)
3 dL water (adjust-soaked or not, and how you like it)
pinch of sea-salt
1.5 Tablespoon chia seed
2 large Tablespoons hemp seed
1 Tablespoon Nutbutter (almond, hazelnut,...)
Method: Mash the banana with a fork, add the oats, chia-seed, sea-salt and water.
Bring it to a boil while stirring, then lower heat and stir occasionally. After a few minutes when the consistency is good (if you find it too thick you can always add more water), turn off the heat. Add the hemp seed and nut butter and mix it in. If you want to make it fancy, cut up some fruit and put on top, and/or sprinkle with a few nuts. Add cinnamon – it’s a natural anti-oxidant, which will support your immune system.
Ready to serve!
Some things to think about:
Oats are high in fiber, phytochemicals and nutritional value. It is also believed that oats can lower cholesterol, help diabetics with weight management, and has anti-cancerous effects[1,2]. Great reasons for including more oats into your diet if you ask me!
If you are not used to eating a lot of fiber, then start out with a small amount of oats and chia seeds. (In that case adjust the amount of water accordingly.) When you quickly add a lot more fiber to your diet, you might get some extra gas and bloating in the beginning. That is because your gut is not used to it. But with time, you will increase the number of good bacteria that loves fiber. This is a really good thing for your health. So, slowly increase the amount over time, and it should be no problem.
If your liver is a bit sluggish, or you have a stagnant lymph system, you want to go easy on the nutbutter and extra nuts. That’s because fat is being transported by the lymph system, and if it’s sluggish, adding more fat to the system, even when it’s good fats, is probably not the best idea.
I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Have fun experimenting with it until you find the version that you like the most.
Enjoy your creamy oatmeal this weekend!
Nutritional advantages of oats:
 Oats and diabetes
More reading on oats:
Hey there Team!
Right now I’m back in school for the next couple of days, at the International School of Osteopathy. The focus this time around is the stomach, pancreas and spleen. Now most of us have a pretty good idea of what the stomach does. It’s where all lot of the digestion happens, right.
What about the pancreas? It has a couple of different functions, but mainly we think of this organ as regulating our blood sugar. Not a small job in this day and age, with all the processed foods and sugar everywhere around us.
But then it gets interesting. What do you actually know about the spleen? Do you even know where it is? You will find your spleen next to the rib cage on the left side of your body, between ribs 9-11. Here are a couple of cool things that the Spleen does.
The Spleen filters our blood by getting rid of damaged or sick red blood cells.
It is part of the lymphatic system which fights infections.
It stores specialized immune cells ready to fight bacteria and infections. It’s like having your own army of Navy SEALs just waiting to get to work. Pretty sweet!
The Spleen stores a large part of the body’s platelets. Their job is to help your blood to clot, which stops bleeding in a wound.
You can live without your spleen. However, without your own Navy SEALs team you will be a lot more vulnerable to bacteria and infections.
Here is a video of just over a minute, giving you a quick overview of how things work.
I bet you didn’t know all of the cool functions that the Spleen has. But now you do! As always, no one organ works alone in the body. So, to help the spleen with the defense work, go on the offense and take good care of your whole body.
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! 😉
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?
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! 😉
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! 😉