Health Benefits Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar – The Healing Effects Of Daily Consumption

Using apple cider vinegar is an ancient remedy for a wide variety of ailments. There are many health benefits drinking apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties. Throughout history, apple cider vinegar has been a cherished remedy. I have here included some of the most beneficial usages of apple cider vinegar:

Gastrointestinal discomfort:pexels-photo-735966

I have treated many patients with gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, flatulence, constipation/diarrhea by using apple cider vinegar. I here advise on starting the day with drinking a glass of lukewarm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Consume this every day for optimal effect.

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Many people suffer from fatigue, and the reasons are multifold. Even so, there is a great likelihood that adding apple cider vinegar to your diet will provide you with some relief. Here I would advise on following the same practice as stated above. Start the day with lukewarm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar, but also add ½-1 teaspoon of raw, unprocessed honey. This is what Hippocrates would call Oxymel.  If you want to read more about the wonderful effects of honey, go to my other article on the benefits of honey.

Skin:treatment-finger-keep-hand-161477

If you have a dry, itchy skin, applying a diluted solution of water and apple cider vinegar to the skin may provide a great deal of relief. Leave it on the skin for about 15 minutes, and then apply a good moisturizer. Alternatively, adding apple cider vinegar to your bath could relieve an itchy skin. Some cases this practice has even proved beneficial for an eczematous skin rash.

Hair:pexels-photo-192474

After shampooing and before conditioning your hair apply some apple cider vinegar to your hair, and massage it in. Then rinse off. This has a very good effect to alleviate scalp issues such as dandruff and dry/itchy scalp

Feet:pexels-photo-266011

If you are suffering from smelly feet, this usually comes from the feet not being allowed to breathe properly, all day long stuffed in socks and tight fitting shoes. This may lead to flora irregularities in the skin. This may then potentially lead to a bad odor coming from the feet. This is a good sign that it is time to treat your feet better. One good way to alleviate this problem with bad food odor is to soak your feet in lukewarm water with a cup of apple cider vinegar. After a good soak dry the feet, and preferably apply a good moisturizer. Also, try to leave your feet out in the open for a while, so the pores in the skin can breathe properly.

Warts:run-fitness-workout-train-163535

If you have warts on your feet or in the genital area you could possibly heal this with apple cider vinegar. Here you submerge a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, then apply it directly on the wart, and fix it with some tape (you may also use a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar if it stings too much). This can be left overnight. Repeat every day for a period of days to weeks. Initially you may see a reddening of the area, but then the wart turns black/dark, and then gradually goes away.

Insect stings and bites:mosquito sucking blood

Mosquito stings may cause horribly itchy blemishes. Apple cider vinegar will here relieve a lot of the itch by applying a diluted mixture of apple cider vinegar to a cotton ball and dab it on the affected skin every half an hour. Alternatively, you can add the cotton ball to the affected blemish by fixing it with tape. Wasp stings can be very unpleasant, and the pain can also be relieved by using apple cider vinegar. Follow the same steps as above. Mind you that allergic reactions will not be relieved, and if you are prone to allergies, following the right precautions such as taking anti-histamines or even using an EpiPen may be necessary.

There are many other good ways to use apple cider vinegar. Please feel free to add your favorite use of apple cider vinegar here.

Develop Good Habits – The One Thing That Keeps You Away From Success

What is holding you back from reaching success in your life? I dare say your habits are what is holding you back. Therefore, to get true success in your life it is essential to develop good habits.

We often do what is safe. After all, this is what has kept us alive all these thousands of years. The people who have been most daring, are the ones being at risk of dying an early death. We have therefore learned habits and patterns that keep us safe, because this will ultimately keep us alive.

I dare say that these natural instincts are also what is holding us back from reaching our fullest potential. By always doing what is safe we risk not living our true life. As the saying goes; stop staring at mountains, climb them instead. Yes, it is a harder process, but it will lead you to a better view.

Think about your own habits. What is holding you back? What do you think you are addicted to, that can’t you live without, but deep within realize that you want to cut out for a while? Write down a list of everything that comes to mind. Maybe you are fed up with the amount of TV being watched. Or your alcohol or nicotine consumption. Or maybe you have a habit of going to bed too late, waking up less refreshed than you ought to be. Maybe it is something you are putting off, that you never seem to get around to doing. Now is the chance to pick out what it is.  pexels-photo-220210

And now, I want to challenge you. Look again at your list. Pick out one of the items you wrote down. Now give yourself a whole month where you stay away from (or include it) this very habit. Voila! That is it!

During this month see how you feel. Do you notice withdrawal symptoms? Do you notice that you shift your focus? By the end of the month, take note as how you have felt about that month. Has something changed with your personality?

Then go back to your list. Maybe you want to subtract and add something to the list. Then pick out the next item on the list, and work on this for the next month.

The purpose of this exercise is to learn about yourself, your habits, what is holding you back, and how easy it is to push past that if you have a single focus for a whole month. I say a month, because it is long enough to truly have an impact in your daily activities.

Be gentle with yourself. Understand that it takes time for big change. Even the longest march start with just one step, and even the highest building starts with one brick. Have patience, and eventually you will be able to mold the person you have dreamt to be.pexels-photo-636243

All You Need To Know To Heal Your Skin

A few months ago, I started down a brand-new path in my career. Earlier on last year I had quit my job at the clinic I had been at for many years, only knowing that I wanted to do something else with my career.

I then rediscovered an old passion of mine, that of skin therapy. You see, the skin is truly a very powerful organ. Just look at how the skin is supplied with intricate networks of blood vessels and nerves. Our skin is the first barrier against external influences, and is therefore highly specialized in detecting even the finest stimuli, partly to prevent us from harming ourselves.

A delicate touch from someone on the skin will trigger a cascade of sensor impulses and hormones. For instance will a caring touch by someone else trigger a boost in Oxytocin, an important hormone for our wellbeing and feeling of connectivity. This has probably played a big role in our evolution, at we thrive when we are together In a group.

The skin can in many cases absorb nutrients considerably better than if the nutrient is being ingested. For instance, making a vitamin liposomal (bound to fatty acids) may boost the absorption rate of that nutrient. One example of this is if you want to boost your antioxidant effect in the body, applying a good liposomal glutathione gel allow a lot of the active antioxidant capacity to be absorbed, in contrast to liposomal glutathione being ingested, where only about 10% will be absorbed.

Here is a quick guide to how to boost your skin vitality:

  • Drink lukewarm water upon rising, preferably with some lemon squeeze. After a night of sleep the body tends to be more dehydrated. Ingesting a few glasses of tepid water upon rising in the morning will quickly restore the hydration state in the body. Being properly hydrated in the body, will in turn hydrate the skin.
  • Start the morning with dry brushing using a natural brush. This has a good peeling effect for the skin and boost the lymphatic drainage from the skin.
  • Consider alternating with a hot and cold shower in the morning. Even though taking a cold shower in the morning may be the last thing you would want, after getting out of that warm and fuzzy bed of yours, many studies have shown a range of health benefits from doing this simple practice in the morning.
  • Do not use strong chemicals and other irritants on the skin. It is wise to be conscious of what detergents and soaps you use, as many of these products can irritate the skin and rid the natural barrier of beneficial bacteria flora from the skin. It is therefore wise to to for oily soaps with natural ingredients, and the most chemical friendly detergents for your clothing.
  • Use good oils and creams to nourish the skin. A good daily practice of applying a good moisturizer to the skin goes a long way for optimal skin care. This will hydrate the skin, and leave it better fit to handle the days stressors. According to some expert dermatologists, applying a good skin oil in the evening before going to bed, has an additional effect to boost the skins regenerative and rejuvenating capacity.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Along with many other health benefits, drinking regular amounts of clean water will replenish the skin with proper amounts of hydration. This also enable more nutrients to reach the skin and wash away more of toxins being clogged in the skin.
  • Daily supplementation:
    • 25 mg of chelated zinc
    • 2-300 mg of omega 3, preferably from marine sources as the omega 3 contain longer chains that will provide a better and more wholesome effect on the body
    • Gamma linolenic acid
    • Vitamin D 1000-2000 IU daily. Maybe more when severely depleted.
    • Vitamin B6 100 mg daily.
  • Regular exercise: In general, doing regular exercise is essential for your general wellbeing. Also for the skin, exercise proves to provide a lot of benefits.
  • Saunas and infrared saunas to perspire out toxins that circulate in the body and reside in the skin
  • Sleep well and soundly, as this benefits the hormones that enable a more optimal skin health
  • Limit intake of alcohol and other dehydrating beverages
  • Avoid nicotine as it has a detrimental effect of the skin

I would also strongly advice to have an emergency kit for accidents that inevitably may happen. At least make sure that you have some good plasters and bandages stored away. This will save you a lot of trouble when accidents happen. In Stanvanger dermatology department. we are fond of using honey for wound therapy. The reason for this is multifold. Firstly, it has shown to protect against skin bacteria that may prevent skin healing. Honey also provide a lot of nutrients to the wound site, and therefore speed up the healing process. This is particularly true for the honey produced by the leptospermum plants in New Zealand, and many honey products have been created from this healing honey. Mind you, when you apply honey to a wound, and then cover it up, there wound site will generate a lot of fluid. We therefore always recommend covering the wound site with an absorbent patch, such as Aquacell Extra.  I have seen many remarkable healing processes, where next step would have been amputation of the limb, and after application of honey, we could see a gradual healing of the wound.sunblock-skincare-healthy-skin-heart-161608

 

How I Survived Without A Cell Phone In New York…For Over A Month

Last month, I was heading to the airport and my taxi hit a severe spot of traffic. My mind was entirely focused on making my flight, and I imagined the upset faces of my family members should I have missed my cousin’s wedding! As I raced out of the taxi upon arriving to the terminal, my phone slipped out of my pocket and I was blissfully unaware of it, until I searched for it to send a text to my girlfriend.

I filed a report, called it numerous times, tried the “Find Your iPhone” app, essentially everything, to no avail. Needless to say, I enjoyed my phone-free weekend in the Norwegian woods, but now, how was I going to come back to the madness of NYC, meetings and all, without my mobile? SONY DSC

Before this all happened, I had read about the harmful Electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s) emitted from mobile phones, and how these impulses may affect our well-being. In fact, there have been done a lot of studies around this subject and according to World Health Organization, “the electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Since we only have had mobile phones around for, say 15 years, we have not really known the long term effects of habitual mobile phone usage, until now. Recently a  research about the short and longterm effects of habitual EMF exposure from mobile phones was conducted by the Southwest University in China and Department of Neurology at Harvard Medical School – WHAT EXACTLY DID THEY FIND?

Taking it a step further, our phones, and specifically “smart” phones, are filled with various social media apps – designed to stay connected, but at the same time, these bite-sized bits of information and insta-gratification has led to habitual usage, consequently causing the gray matter in our brains to shrink! This gray matter is what converts information back and forth in the nervous system (almost like the wires between your TV and stereo speaker system). Smart phones may mean stupid(er) people.

Let’s take a moment here to let that sink in.

As that reality soaks in and I think of the incessant and permeative nature of phones, I can’t help but think about how I curbed my addiction to… coffee! Being a hospital doctor, and working long, hectic nightshifts, coffee is one thing that you rely on significantly. So, I decided to try and experiment and see how long I could go without coffee. Now this proved to be tougher than expect, and I often experienced headaches and fatigue at first, but soon enough my body got used to this change. I will occasionally drink a cup of good quality espresso, especially when we are traveling to places like Puerto Rico and Italy, when we get to try some local, specific flavors, and I have also switched over to tea, mostly caffeine-free. Mobile phone Coffee

In general, I believe that if you think you absolutely can’t live without something, then you should actually challenge it and see if and how you can do it.

Let’s go back to cell phones.

While I am an MD, as I mentioned, I am also a Qi Gong master. My extensive practice has made me quite sensitive to the various electromagnetic pulses that surround me, and I do try and moderate my usage of my laptop, TV and cell phone.

But now, I was totally phone-less… so how long could I possibly make this last?

At first, I thought of running to the first mobile shop to buy the latest iPhone (pre X), but then I paused for a moment, and applied that same challenge in this case. I decided that I would do this for an entire month!

The first day of being phone-less, I had a realization while taking the subway. Although, most of the people there were on their phones, I really got to pay attention to the people around me. My memory raced back to my first trip to New York, when I was about 16. We were taking the subway to head over to Times Square to see a Broadway show. There was bustle and chatter amongst the passengers. The man next to me was the chattiest of the lot and asked me questions on where I was from, my trip and such, and soon more people joined in the conversation. I thought that New Yorkers were the warmest, most curious people I had ever encountered!

Back to 2017. As the train stalled between stations, without an announcement, people started to look up from their screens, but their faces were shrouded in annoyance. After five minutes of uncomfortable shifting, the train lurched forward, and people, like clockwork, looked down at their phones and their thumbs were back at work. I felt a small knot of sadness; that technology while it’s incredibly important and ubiquitous, and has allowed us to be more efficient, has also taken away a piece of our offline human connections. Young Women Travel Together Concept

While I didn’t have a phone, I did rely on my laptop. I could still email, send iMessages and make local and international phone calls. I created my own phone-free plan for the day: Before I left for meetings, I would have to Google the best route, and map it out on a Post-It, and then I would write down the phone numbers of who I needed to meet, just in case. I would send them a text that I was on my way, with an approximate time, and then I would set off. Now if my train was running late, or my Uber was in traffic, well, there was nothing I could really do about it. Perhaps it’s a good thing I tend to leave quite early!

This is how we used to live in the 80s, even the 90s, I thought. It made me actually appreciate the time I was growing up, where we didn’t have technology all around us, and this is what the month felt like to me. While phones do allow us to be accessible, we take it a step further and expect quick responses. We all know the predicament of the three dots that imply that someone is responding, and that moment of doubt and strangeness when nothing comes through.

Without my phone, I found myself adopting a more advanced state of being present, understanding people and culture in an observational way, and also feeling secure in my own ability to entertain myself. I was surprised that I didn’t feel bored. I could observe the sky, passing cars, find music in the cacophony of New York, and find comfort in plans with people who wouldn’t change them.mobile picture

After one month, I decided to get an iPhone. To be honest, I was tempted to get a flip-phone, and maybe I’ll go back to this. But what I did decide to do is keep the bedroom phone-free. Our phones tend to be the first and last thing we touch when we wake up and as we go to bed, and a recent research by Murdock University in Perth shows how detrimental it was for mental health to have mobile phone inside the bedroom.

Now, what about an alarm? Well, get an actually alarm clock or consider a waking lamp. We have electronic renditions of birds on our phone alarms, but perhaps we could actually wake up to the sounds outside our apartments.

So there, I survived. And I’m better for it, and I would say that while it was indeed a challenge, especially in a city like New York, where we are bombarded with meetings and plans for dinner, that it made me learn more about myself than I expected. And I actually got to learn more about New York in the process.

Why Is Chocolate Good For You?

First, a little history lesson. The Latin name for chocolate, Theobroma cacao, was first named by the famous botanist Carl von Linné. Theobroma literally translates as food for the gods, while cacao is similar to the names the people of Mesoamerica were using, such as ka-kaw. According to anthropologists, cacao was first used about four thousand years ago. In fact, we can see how important the Mesoamerican natives considered this food by the way it was emphasized in ritualistic traditions.

When the Spanish crusaders came to Mesoamerica in the 15th Century, they were initially greeted as guests of the Mayan and Aztec emperors. The crusaders could observe how servants of the emperor whisked up a brown drink made of cacao with a range of spices added to it, which was then consumed by the emperor frequently throughout the day. The traditional cocoa drink was bitter, and resembled coffee. When the crusaders, Columbus included, tried to drink this, they were quite disgusted by the bitter and spicy taste. Nonetheless, they brought the strange cacao plant back to Spain and Portugal.

chocolate 3

Due to high taxes in Spain and Portugal, for a while, only nobility could afford to consume cacao, infused with cane sugar and honey to make it palatable. Later, it was sold as a medicinal drink, well-known for its aphrodisiac-like effect. Interestingly, Spain and Portugal managed to keep chocolate a secret from the rest of Europe for a long time. Only in late 17th century did chocolate become accessible to the rest of Europe, and its popularity quickly caught on.

Now, moving past the hitory of chocolate, and reflecting on culture and wellness today, we can ask – Is chocolate good for you? And is all chocolate created equal? When we go to the supermarket and stand in line to pay for our healthy organic vegetables and produce, we encounter rows upon rows of enticing packaging and varieties. Sometimes it requires a LOT of will power not to suddenly find your arm uncontrollably reaching out for that dark chocolate with caramel and chili.

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While cacao itself has a whole range of beneficial effects to our health, I would say eating a Mars bar, lathered in sugars and refined products is definitely not healthy. In contrast to the healthy natural cacao, chocolate bars contain foods that are both addictive and unhealthy. The refined sugar in such products will directly and indirectly trigger the dopamine surge, giving you a rewarding feeling, the feeling of wanting more, while the sugar and dairy will also increase inflammation. In this form, chocolate becomes a complex food, making it hard to digest, and therefore further promote gut dysbiosis and inflammation.

Now, we then come into the subject of quality. The better quality of chocolate, the better it is in general. So, having a chocolate bar that is comprised of raw cocoa, with little or no sugar and no dairy is generally a very healthy choice. What is interesting is how healthy chocolate bars are popping up in the grocery stores. I have also advised many patients to substitute the dairy chocolate, with healthier choices, which has many beneficial effects, including lower inflammation, and easier weight reduction.

Chocolate is considered to be one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, but what is most interesting about chocolate is that it contains particularly high amounts of antioxidants. Some research say that chocolate contain higher amounts of antioxidants than any other berry, including acai and blueberries. This was measured according to the ORAC score, measuring the capacity to mop up the inflammation promoting free radicals, thereby reduce inflammation.

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So, what are the health benefits of chocolate? Here is a list of the medicinal properties of good quality chocolate:

  • Improves blood flow, by relaxing the tension in the blood vessel walls through the production of nitric oxide.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Reduces oxidized LDL cholesterol and other free radicals (Due to its high antioxidant and ORAC score).
  • Helps prevent and manage insulin resistance, thereby balancing the blood sugar level.
  • Improves brain function, by boosting the circulation to the brain and enhancing the neural connections in the brain. Also, chocolate contain theobromine (a form of caffeine found in cocoa beans, only weaker), which then can stimulate the mind.
  • Improves the feel-good experience, by boosting dopamine and prevent breakdown of anadamide (also known as the “bliss chemical”). Some research say that some of this mood stimulating effect comes from the highly palatable taste of chocolate.
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease. Regular consumption of cacao has shown to lower risk of heart disease by 1/3.
  • Significantly lowers the risk of stroke.
  • Improves athletic performance, by boosting the blood circulation and lower the viscosity of the blood (meaning that blood flows more easily). Also, chocolate contain good amounts of magnesium, which is very important for muscle function and regeneration.
  • Treats obesity and make you stay slim.
  • Because it is bitter, it has a lot of beneficial effects for the gut flora and the digestion. (Bitter herbs are commonly used to treat gut related disorders.)

So, do not feel guilty about eating chocolate. Rather focus on getting good quality of chocolate. For chocolate bars, having cocoa content between 70- 85 % is generally the best. And if you feel particularly adventurous, you can attempt to make your own chocolate.

chocolate 2

So, how do you make your own chocolate version, you ask? Here is a suggestion – let´s make a delicious cup of hot chocolate.  Note that you will need either bars of good quality chocolate (like Valhrona) or chocolate powder (do not use cacao powder as the quality is much worse), a milk substitute (coconut milk or almond milk (unsweetened) and spices such as cinnamon, vanilla or nutmeg.

How to make a cup of hot chocolate:

  1. Heat up the nutmilk in a pot.
  2. Add the chocolate bars or chocolate powder, and stir until it has completely dissolved in the milk.
  3. Then stir in the spices, and heat up the milk again.
  4. If you want a frothier hot chocolate, you could try to add the liquid in the blender and pulse for a few seconds.
  5. Alternatively, you could try hot matcha chocolate. Here you put about ¼ – ½ tsp. high quality matcha powder in a cup, add a small amount of the hot nutmilk, and stir until dissolved, add in some more nutmilk and whisk until frothy. Add this to the hot chocolate.

The idea here is to experiment. There is no absolute rule, although if you use better quality chocolate, you will get a richer chocolate taste. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Drink Tea Like A Zen Master

In recent times this tea has by far become my favorite tea. The reason for this is the fact that this green, delicious drink contain rich amounts of antioxidants and other healthy nutrients, far more than any other tea. While feeling invigorated, it also gives a great sense of peace.

In Matcha tea, we actually drink the powdered tea leaves. The tea leaves are first ground to a very fine powder, and then a small amount is added to hot water (or other liquids such as milk or milk substitutes). Traditionally a whisk called Chasen is then used to properly dissolve the powdered tea leaves in the water, before being consumed in its entirety.

The tradition of grinding tea leaves and having it directly in the hot water for consumption started in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) in China. Zen Buddhist monks brought this tradition to Japan in around 1181 A.D., where the process of harvesting the tea leaves and making the stoneground tea leaves was refined, giving birth to what we now called Matcha tea.

Originally this was consumed amongst Buddhist monks, but it soon spread in popularity throughout East-Asia. While Matcha tea contain rich amounts of antioxidants, the sought-after effect of Matcha tea was the invigorating and relaxing effect. Buddhist monks cherished this tea because it enabled them to stay focused in meditations for a longer time.

There are greater amounts of caffeine in this tea. This caffeine called Theophylline is not as strong as what you would find in coffee, but it still will give an invigorating effect. What counterbalances this invigorating effect is what researchers have now discovered to be L-Theanine, an amino-acid that leave you with a relaxed and invigorated state. Since the actual tea leaves are used to make the tea, and not just the brewing of the tea, Matcha has rich amounts of L-Theanine. This can therefore explain why you would feel a great sense of ease, while at the same time mentally alert.

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So, how can you make yourself a tasty cup of Matcha tea? In the tea-shop ask for premium or ceremonial grade of Macha tea. Ceremonial grade is of better quality, but also much more expensive. The nutrient contents are the same, and if you are not a Zen monk, who consume this regularly, you probably would not notice the difference. While in the shop you could also ask for a whisk called Chasen in addition to buying the tea. If you do not have this whisk, no problem. The only reason for using a whisk, is that it makes it easier to dissolve the matcha, and giving a more frothy and lighter feel to the tea.

Now, take ¼ – ½ teaspoon of Matcha in a cup, and add a small amount of hot water (not boiling), whisk or whip the mix of Matcha and hot water around until the tea has been dissolved. Add more hot water and whisk this in some more, until you get a frothy consistency in the tea. As an extra tip, I sometimes add turmeric to this tea, to make an even more potent drink…or, why not try out a matcha-turmeric-latte?

Matcha tea can be drunk throughout the day, but probably not late at night, due to the stimulating effect from the caffeine in it. I recommend you try this out. Maybe you can even substitute the cup of coffee in the morning with an invigorating cup of Macha tea?

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Simple Steps On How To Detox Your Liver

Is there one organ I am thankful of, it is the liver. The more you study the liver, the more you will realize its remarkable abilities.

Did you know that if you cut away 80 % of the liver, it would regenerate itself back to its original size! That is because the liver cells have an enormous regenerative capacity.

So why, when the liver can heal itself so efficiently, will the liver suffer and malfunction, ultimately causing debilitating  diseases such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver tissue), gall stone generation and tumorous growhts in the liver. I believe the answer lies in the amount of toxin exposure to the liver. Therefore, to let the liver do its remarkable effects, we need to detoxify the liver AND the body.

So, how do we do this? Here is an outline of ways that have had a proven effect in healing the liver:

  • Regular fasting. By fasting for periods of time, you will give the body time and opportunity to let go of the toxins that have built up in the body. When we eat, and the nutrients from the food is broken down and absorbed in the body, it is up to the liver to further assimilate these nutrients, either by storing nutrients in the liver for later usage, or distributing the nutrients around in the body. While this is a very essential process for our existence, the liver has to work hard in order to assimilate and distribute a complex meal. We can therefore say that fasting enable the liver to more easily perform other tasks, such as rinsing the body from toxins.
  • Clean eating. Eating less junk food and greasy food that bombard the liver with more free radicals, and at the same time ingesting highly nutritious foods with lots of good antioxidants and minerals is very beneficial for a healthy liver. I often recommend consuming a green leafy salad prior to eating a heavy meal, as this will help the digestive system and liver work better.
  • Drink less alcohol. I have the habits of omitting alcohol for a month at a time, in the effect to leave the liver less riddled with toxins. During these periods, I find that the energy level increases, and I can think more clearly. I have met people who have accomplished great things, who swear that the reason why they got to that stage was because they completely omitted alcohol for longer periods.
  • Take care of your gut. In my practice, I have a keen interest in figuring out if the gut flora may not be great. One important reason for this is that while a normal gut flora function to balance the immune system in the gut, a dysbiotic gut flora will release toxins and free radicals, riddling the liver with more work. The effect of this is that the energy level may decrease. Therefore, having a healthy gut flora and liver function, is important for thriving energy in the body and mind.
  • Herbal supplements. When my patients ask what supplements are the best to heal the liver I say herbs such as Milk thistle, Turmeric, Dandelion. Even making a tea using these herbs will have a potent liver rinsing effect. In my practice, I have commonly advised people who have elevated blood markers in the liver values to ingest a regular supplement of Bitterstern 10-15 drops in water 2-3 times daily for a period of at least 2 months. This I find to be truly effective in cleansing the liver and gall bladder, consequently normalizing the liver values.
  • Drink lemon water. Start the day with drinking lemon water (1/2 a lemon squeezed in a glass of water), or alternatively apple cider vinegar in water. While it feels good to start with this cleansing drink, it also has a lot of healing effects in the body, including stimulating the liver dexification processes.
  • Liposomal Glutathione. Glutathione is the livers most effective antioxidant, and has an enormous capacity to mop up free radicals circulating in the liver and blood circulation. When ingesting a supplement of glutathione, it is essential to make it fat soluble for easy assimilation, hence the liposomal form.
  • Drink plenty of water. You probably know that we constitute about 70-80 % of water. Providing our body with enough water is also essential for our bodies and liver to detox sufficiently. This is also important for someone fasting, where the effect of the fast is greatly enhanced by drinking plenty of water (and lemon water and herbal teas).
  • Release that pent-up anger. According to Chinese medicine un-channeled anger and aggression will be harmful to the liver. By this, I do not mean to show how angry you are by releasing the anger building up, but rather letting go of the anger, and exchanging it with more positive emotions.
  • Use visualizations. On that note, using visualizations can be a powerful tool. In Chinese medicine, visualizing the liver bathing in green color can have a profound healing effect for the liver. meditate happy

 

What You Don´t Know About Your Food

The other day I saw the movie, “What the Health”. This film, like many before it, lays out a case for following a vegan-focused diet, while showcasing the negative aspects of dairy and meat consumption. I have heard all of these arguments many times before, particularly after attending a three weeks “Life Transformation Program” at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach. Here, one eats only raw vegan foods for three weeks, while learning about how to live a healthy life, something that becomes a natural conversation when focusing on simplistic, wholesome foods. While ones’ body feels significantly better, ones’ mind does as well.

Another argument for cutting out meat and dairy comes from The China Study, an enormous epidemiological study that investigated the link between what local Chinese people eat, and the risk of developing various types of cancer. It was proven that there was a strong connection between how much animal proteins (meat, dairy, eggs) one ate, and the chances of getting cancer. So, if one is to believe these studies, one may rethink biting into that Peter Luger’s steak or grabbing some hot dogs off the grill.
But waittaminute! I would like to point out a principle that is not really considered in these studies, and that is QUALITY. That is, the quality of the foods we eat.

Growing up in Norway, I had access to a lot of natural, organic foods. While we often picked fresh corn, carrots and cloud berries from our own backyard, we, as a hunting family, also consumed a wide variety of wild game, from moose, deer, grouse, and capercaillie. Being a Norwegian, we also had access to a wide variety of fresh, high quality fish.  As I skim the aisles of Whole Foods or a neighboring deli, and I can’t help but remember walking out into our garden in Oslo as a kid, and digging out a carrot from the earth, wiping it off and eating it whole.Freshly growing strawberries

Ultimately, I think the notion of producing foods oneself or through a community will be vastly more nourishing than getting hold of vegetables that have been produced and transported halfway around the world before being consumed. There is also a reason why vegetables are seasonal! But this idea, isn’t new or unique and the good news is that there are several start ups popping up that focus on producing vegetables and herbs in the comfort of ones’ urban apartment.

My point is that when studies say that eating animal proteins can be harmful, I would ask what kind of foods, and in turn, what were they given to eat? It’s therefore necessary that we should first and foremost focus on what exactly the food contains. We can say that on average a cow in America is fed about 50 % of its staple in corn. Does that mean that we actually eat partly corn when we eat that meat? In addition, to make the cows grow more quickly, and at the same time prevent infections from occurring, a cocktail of hormones and antibiotics are usually given, which may not be that healthy if we get in our system when eating the meat. In countries like the US, the way cows are treated is not what we, according to human standards, would call humane. The cows stand in narrow enclosed spaces for most of their life. This is in contrast to a moose that can freely roam around in nature, and eat exactly the food it wishes. While people may criticize hunting animals, a hunter knows where his or her meat came from, and how it was killed. Modern day packaging would never state the process in which the animal was killed or consumed, unless it’s highlighted as kosher or halal. Even when one reads “organic” you need to really dig deeper into what organic could really mean. Maybe, pesticides weren’t used, or organic pesticides were, but then what did the animals eat?

In Chinese Medicine, we learn that one key principle for eating is not to have too many food-group combinations in the same meal. For instance, eating meat without highly starchy foods (such as potatoes and pasta), but rather with green leafy vegetables will make the food much more easily digestible. In contrast, when eating highly starchy food, it is advised to avoid animal proteins at the same time if we really want to absorb the nutrients in the best way. The colon on average may carry a few kilograms of partly undigested meat, when it’s paired with the wrong food group, so it’s important to consider the proper combinations. Another principle we learn from traditional Chinese Medicine, is that it is wise to eat fruits alone, or leave them alone. If you don’t mix fruits with other things your body can digest them properly.

In our capitalistic world there is often a huge focus on profit. No surprise here. And obviously, in the realm of food, there is a big focus on how to produce more of the product. The effect is that the more of something generally leaves the company with a bigger profit. Factory-like settings and slaughterhouses are filled to the brim with more animals than they actually can possibly hold. All while, they are fed cheap foods such as corn. And in the case of chickens, farmers may give a cocktail of hormones to accelerate the growth, making them plumper. What is scary about this, is that we may get traces of this in us when we consume these products. What we therefore need to ask ourselves is, the animals we eat, well, what do they eat? And also, we need to pay attention to the emotional strain such animals go through when they are killed, as that also ends up in our system.

Of course, given the state of our overpopulated planet today, we are constantly in need of consuming more and more food. Since animal proteins such as meat are very nutrient-dense and calorie-rich, it is natural that the demand for these nutrients increases as the population grows. This is why established and innovative entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson are investing in the production of laboratory-produced meats. If you look at what these pieces of meat contain, they are virtually the same as beef or chicken, and so on. The only difference is that it doesn’t contain traces of growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. While, not the most natural, it’s definitely a safer, market-friendly way to craft meat on a broader scale. We can only speculate what is being lost if you compare a lab-crafted steak to that of a wild moose steak.
So what´s the solution?

Pay attention to where your food comes from and how it was fed and treated. In higher quality foods generally cost more, because it usually cost more to produce. It can also take a longer time to produce since only natural processes are involved. I am a strong believer in eating a diverse range of foods, but pay attention to the way you combine them.

When I look at my grandmother, who is nearing her 102nd birthday, and I observe her diet of game, fresh vegetables, river-caught fish, I can’t help but recognize that she has chosen to eat whatever she’s wanted and it’s the quality that has kept her alive, well and healthy.vegetables meat

How I Got A Patient Pregnant

I know what you are thinking, and that´s not what I mean…

Let´s take this story back a few years.  I was working at the Functional Medicine Center, housed in an 19th century building in Oslo. Rustic and an emblem of Norwegian history, here, I often found myself reflecting on new versus old practices of medicine. It was a regular day at work, and as I enjoyed my first coffee of the morning, the first patients of the day walked into the reception.

As you may know, being a family medicine practitioner, one is confronted with a wide range of scenarios on a daily basis. Some challenges can be tackled easily, such as a minor infection, but some require more work, such as the one I was confronted with that morning.

I found myself sitting with female couple in their late 30s –  One of the women, let´s call her Else, wanted to get pregnant. I am not a gynecologist, and therefore this enquiry was rather new to me. They had seen gynecologists extensively, and Else had completed several IVF attempts. After trying what they thought was everything, they had all but given up hope, until someone had recommended that they consider a more holistic approach and see me for a consultation.

After making sure that all the essential investigations were undertaken, such as fertility control and general bloodwork, as well as an analysis of their working-sleep-stress conditions and eating patterns, we set out on a route that took two years to complete.

Below is the plan I set for Else:

 

  • Chill out. As many women making a career for themselves, it could be very stressful. Stress and anxiety block the fertility producing hormones. If you think about it from a biological viewpoint, in times of stress, this sends signals to the body that it is not “ready” to have a kid. Being more calm, soothes the stress hormones, leaving a natural surge in the fertility hormones.
  • Detoxify. I believe that having too many toxins in the body can stress the body, and make it harder to have a natural production of fertility hormones. With Else, we discovered both a mercury intoxication and a gut flora dysbiosis, causing too many toxins to circulate in the body. These toxins produce free radicals, that promote inflammation. We focused first on balancing the gut flora through diet and supplements such as probiotics and olive leaf extract. Getting rid of too much mercury in the body is rather time consuming and laborious, which includes chelators such as chlorella, DMSA and DMPS. Only after a few years of therapy did these heavy metals leave the body., making the body more in balance, and less riddled with inflammation.
  • Boost your fertility hormones by natural supplements. Here are some of the hormones I used to boost Else’s fertility:
    • GLA (Gamma linolenic acid).
    • Zinc
    • Vitamin B6 and B9 (Folate)
    • Maca
    • Ashwaghanda
  • Acupuncture. What has acupuncture got to do with fertility, you may ask. Well, there are many good studies that prove that women being given regular acupuncture therapy could boost their fertility.
  • Try, and try again. Else had countless IVF attempts, without success. But, she did not give up. Sometimes it is all about giving enough time, and eventually you reap the benefits of sticking to the program.

After two years I got a surprise visit. By this time I had even moved offices and joined Balderkliniken, Oslo´s most prestigious FM clinic and the largest in the world. When I opened my door, I was greeted by a beaming, happy woman, who handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. She exclaimed: You changed my life. To which I replied, No, you changed your own life.

These are some of the best moments in one´s practice. To empower people to live healthy and sustinable lives, to provide some perspective into the healing power of natural remedies, and to keep learning.

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How To Take Care Of Your Lungs

We expose our lungs to constant strain, especially if we live in big cities. I remember in med school how I looked at lungs of people living in congested parts of the city (such as London when the air was filled with smog), and was horrified by the amount of soot accumulated in the tissue of the lungs. If you think about it, this is a natural consequence, as the lungs work as a filtration system. Optimally, only clean air is allowed to pass from the lungs and into the bloodstream, where oxygen is then transported to all the cells of the body. Furthermore, carbon monoxide is taken up into the blood stream, and expelled through the lungs. We know that the lungs are affected by the amount of toxins they are exposed to, and may eventually lead to inflammation and damage to the lung tissue. It is therefore advisable to know how to best take care of these precious organs.

Through digging deep into the ground and analyzing the different eras we now know that around 100 million years ago (when dinosaurs wandered the earth) the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere was around 35 %. Around 10 million years ago there was an enormous forest fire, that may be partly responsible for the reduction of oxygen concentration in the air. But chances are that the biggest change occurred during the industrial revolution, as the air quality decreased in the cities as a consequence of fossil fuel emission into the atmosphere. Since then we have had a poorer quality in the air we breathe, with oxygen concentrations usually around 20%. The lack of oxygen in the air is particularly evident in big cities, and has been measured as low as 10% in densely populated cities like Mexico City. Even so, there are ways to compensate for this, such as creating big parks in the middle of densely populated cities. This morning I strolled along Central Park in New York City, and thought to myself how mindful the architects of this big metropole had been in creating such a green lung smack in the middle of it all.

So, back to how to take care of your lungs. One sign that the lungs are inflamed is the production of mucus buildup, with coughing up of thicker mucus. If this is to happen, it is time to cleanse the lungs. Here are my recommendations on how to take care of your lungs:

  • Start the day with fresh lemon water, preferably with honey. This will not only detoxify the body, but also treat a buildup of mucus in the lungs.
  • Ingest turmeric root. For optimal effect for the lungs, it is advisable to ingest a small part of the fresh turmeric root, either by chewing it, or having it in a juice.
  • To expel mucus, eat a few pieces of pineapple or drink pineapple juice on an empty stomach. If this is done consistently over a course of two weeks, it usually relieves symptoms of excess mucus.
  • Drink chamomile tea. This has a general effect to soothe inflammation, and works particularly well for the lungs. Besides, it has a soothing effect on the nervous system, which in turn lower the blood pressure, and allow you to breathe with more ease.
  • Other herbs that may have a curative effect for the lungs are garlic, horseradish and ginger.
    • Garlic has a wide range of medicinal properties, the main effect for the lungs is the ability to cleanse and detoxify free radicals, toxins and other irritants, in addition to work as an antibacterial and antifungal therapy.
    • If you look at Chinese medicine, horseradish is a good herbal tonic for the lungs, just be careful not to overconsume this herb, due to its pungency.
    • Ginger is also an excellent herb, especially in cases of too much coldness in the body. Making a ginger tea, by steeping freshly cut ginger in hot water for 10 minutes, and then adding a small portion of raw honey to it is a very good way to expel some bacterial infections.
  • Some supplements that work very good for the lungs are zinc, vitamin c and Echinacea. In cases of lung problems, taking a regular supplement of 25 mg zinc, 1000 mg vitamin C and a few shots of Echinacea can work wonders.
  • Drink plenty of fresh water. This has a cleansing effect for the lungs, thinning out the mucus, and makes it easier to expel toxins from the lungs.
  • An occasional fast (while drinking plenty of fluids) is usually very curative for the lungs.
  • Using plants can potentially cleanse the air and produce more oxygen. I challenge you to try this out for a few months, and see If you notice any change. If you go to a botanist, you can ask for particularly cleansing plants, such as ferns and peace lilies.
  • Last, but definitely not least, is the healing effect of deep breathing. Even spending 10 minutes each day actively breathing deeply, filling up your lungs, will be very beneficial for the lungs oxygen exchange, and hence leave you more relaxed and energized. Even better is to do this while being out in nature. Also, a brisk walk, or other forms of exercise will make it easier to fill up the lungs with fresh air.Little girl on a swing in the mountain landscape