WWB Wise Guru Series: Nobel Prize in Medicine went to Research on Circadian Rhythms. WWB Joins the Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus, for a Q&A to Discuss Why it Matters to Us…

Oct 11, 2017 by

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Laura Opening- Welcome back Dr. Breus. For all those who haven’t read your book ‘The Power of When’, here is a chance for them to learn more about your important work and pick up your book. Before we get to your ground breaking research, we first have to acknowledge the Nobel Peace Prize award in Physiology or Medicine that went to three doctors who have discovered molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm. Now when we just say this, many will wonder, well why would that matter to me?

At World Wise Beauty I try to present important research, medical science and wellness wisdom in real context. The first question I always ask is, ‘Why does it matter?’ But before we get to this, let’s start first with a simple question. What did this Nobel Prize winning research specifically unveil for us from a scientific perspective that is so ‘eye opening’? No pun intended!

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Dr. Breus: The basics behind the research showed that in fruit flies (who actually have very similar circadian rhythms as humans) the researchers were able to isolate the gene that controls our daily biological clock. This gene encodes a protein that accumulates in a cell during the evening and degrades during the daytime. This clock regulates behavior, weight loss, hormones levels, sleep and body temperature. Understanding this mechanism helps us all understand why we experience jet lag, how our internal biological clocks affect disease, our hormones, and literally everything we do. As you may remember in my new book, ‘ The Power of When’ this is EXACTLY what I have been writing about.

Laura Q- Yes you did, and hopefully more people will discover your work with this post! Now that we understand how our genes control our daily biological clock, what does that really mean if we are all different bio-individuals?

Dr. Breus: Actually we are more similar than you might think. The genetic studies that are going on in Sleep Research are on “common species” areas.

Lauroly Q– Why do circadian rhythms matter and why does understanding our unique biological clocks matter to our health?
Dr. Breus: So here is where it gets so fascinating, when I was in school, we learned that basically there was one central biological clock for time passage ( aging) and there were a few others that controlled hormone regulation, etc. Now we have found over 100 different control centers in the body. They each send information to each other. I think of it like grand central station in New York City. There are trains coming from all over the place to one central location. If one train is late, it could mess up all of the other trains going in or out. So the timing of these clocks actually controls our health, completely. These systems have a regularity to them or a rhythm. They become predictable, and more efficient. This is how the immune system, metabolic system, sleep system, all systems function.

Lauroly Q-  There is our answer. Sleep is a real regulator to everything in our ‘ biological system’. Should we all be in sync with sunrise and sunset for optimal health?

Dr. Breus: Yes, but it is really unrealistic to think that we can do it correctly. Remember that we have at least 4 different chronotypes, so there are some of us, who are more prone to late evenings and others who are morning people. As a side note, there was a great study on insomnia, where they took insomniacs out into the woods camping for 2 weeks. By the end of the study, everyone’s sleep had significantly improved. It was likely due to the sun exposure, and a reduction of EMF exposure talk about in sync with he sun!
Lauroly Q- In your book you identify many different types in the context of sleep needs.  Does the circadian ‘sync’ vary from person to person?
Dr. Breus: It does vary based on Chronotype. Lions (early risers), Bears (in-betweeners), Wolves (late nighters) and Dolphins (poor sleepers). If you want to know your type go to www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com and get it for free.
Lauroly Q–  So does this mean that some people are just genetically wired to be night owls?
Dr. Breus: Absolutely. I am. Interestingly enough you can even get this tested at 23 and Me, due to the genetic nature of chronotypes. It is based on the PER3 or Period 3 gene and its length. It effects sleep drive and timing.

Lauroly Q- While we are different genetically, is there still some unifying wellness wisdom when it comes to sleep that all human beings need to listen to?

Dr. Breus: Yes, consistency is the key. Most specifically in your wake up time, keep the same for weekdays and weekends, everything gets better, assuming you are sleeping by your chronotype.
Lauroly Q- The first thing I think of when it comes to circadian rhythms, is cultures living in the Northern Lights part of the world. How does the abundance of light exposure and then the significant decrease of light effect their circadian rhythms?
Dr. Breus: There are a lot of issues with sleep in these areas of the world. Sunlight appears to play a significant role in the human biology, from Vitamin D production to being the re-start button for the brain each morning.
Lauroly Q-Have their genes adapted over time living in these areas?
Dr. Breus: To a certain degree, yes. But I doubt that anyone is completely unaffected.
Lauroly Q- We know there is more depression associated with the decrease of light. I suppose even if you don’t live in these areas, but are vulnerable to depression, getting sunshine would be important. This correlates with the Vitamin D hormone that activates when we are exposed to the sun and then chemically regulates our serotonin synthesis. As we know, serotonin is one of the happy chemicals in our system. Take it from here Dr. Breus, I’m just trying to connect all the dots!

Dr. Breus: Light therapy is used in both depressive diagnoses and some sleep disorders. In depression the light helps re-set the persons circadian rhythms, which sends all of the other systems back in sync. This appears to play a role in the recovery from depression. While it is not the whole reason, it does seem to have a significant effect.

Laura Closing- Thank you for sharing your expertise with us Dr. Breus. Now that we are learning more about our biological clocks and our connection to nature, we can begin to see how everything is interdependent in wellness. As Plato so wisely said “The Part can Never be Well, unless the Whole is Well.” I encourage everyone to read ‘The Power of When’ and learn more about your own body’s internal clock. Sleeping will become a healthy habit, just like a good diet and exercise is.

Dr. Breus Closing: Thank you so much for having me, and if people want to learn more they can check out my website www.thesleepdoctor.com or learn your chronotype at www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com

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Healthy Epicurean Q&A: WWB ICON Maria Benardis is back to Visit with a Greekalicious Newly Released Cookbook ‘My Greek Family Table’

May 5, 2017 by

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If you haven’t heard yet, the Mediterranean Diet is the only diet in the world with extensive scientific research behind it’s claims. What does it claim? It claims to help with weight loss, a decreased risk for heart disease, diabetes, depression, and dementia! In other words Western diseases and conditions. There is no one militant Mediterranean diet to follow like many trendy diets offer, simply because there are many eating patterns spread across many cultures living in the Mediterranean region of the world. This makes it the best flexitarian diet in the world too. One we can all get on board with because of it’s flexibility. But there is a key common foundation of the Mediterranean Diet. It is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It generally features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat, which contains more saturated fat. Red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts. And oh yeah, let’s not forget, they generally lead an active lifestyle, and I don’t mean Spinning classes at the Gym!

Today we focus on Greece and talk with Maria Benardis. She has published three cook books titled “My Greek Family Table” now released here in in USA/Canada this month and previously released in Australia in 2009 by Penguin Books which won the Gourmand World Cook Book Award 2009 – Best Mediterranean Cook Book in Australia and “Cooking and Eating Wisdom for Better Health’ published by Balboa Press.  She also has an ebook titled “A Greekalicious Feast”. Founder of Greekalicious she has offered cooking instructions and coaching at many venues both in Australia and the USA. These include the Intuitive Well in Sydney, Australia, The Brooklyn Kitchen, NYC, The Natural Gourmet Institute, NYC and Haven’s Kitchen, NYC. I am so honored to have her back, as some of you you might remember I named her WWB ICON in 2014.  A true World Wise Beauty dedicated to advancing wellness culture. Learn more about Maria and her beautiful journey to wellness through cooking below…

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Welcome Back Maria! I am so happy to feature another of your wonderful cookbooks! More than just a cookbook, this is really a personal memoir and tribute to your Greek heritage and family. Through your memories and stories we really get a sense of the Greek culture and how important food is to the people of Greece. You are truly a World Wise Beauty having lived on 3 continents. I bring this up because your book is  also a story of immigration. You shared so many touching parts of your childhood in the book. I can imagine through empathy what it was like for you as a child to suddenly have to move to another part of the world and all by yourself on a plane. I will let you tell our readers why you moved from Australia back to Greece as a young child.

Maria Benardis: When I was 3 ½ years old, my younger sister and I went to live on the island of Psara, Greece. My mother was very ill with cancer and my father sent us to live there with his mother, Katina. We didn’t know it at the time, but our mother succumbed to cancer shortly after we left. If I board a plane today and happen to see children traveling unaccompanied, my mind travels back to that first flight to Greece with my sister. Even though it was such a traumatic time, I can’t help but smile at the memory now.

Lauroly Q- What a heart-breaking experience Maria and so glad you can smile now for those two brave little girls on their journey. Despite the turmoil and displacement you were in some ways blessed to live with your Grandmother and had the opportunity to soak up the beautiful culture of Greece. I love how you created your own private sanctuary growing your own herbs and vegetables as a young girl. Tell us about your little Garden on the island of Psara, Greece…

Maria Benardis: I loved to go on walking expeditions around the island. One day, while on one of my regular walks, I stumbled across a small enclosed, deserted area, with just a few weeds growing. I decided that it was now going to be mine and that I would create my own magical fruit and vegetable garden. I decided not to tell anybody about it, especially my grandmother. To create my garden, I took some of the herbs and vegetables my grandmother grew and planted them there. I grew all sorts of things: small tomatoes, thyme, oregano, wild greens, zucchini, chamomile leaves, and native flowers. It was an extremely colorful and happy garden and it became my favorite place on the island—somewhere I could escape to, to dream and be free. I derived great joy from watching my plants grow.

Lauroly Q- Your upbringing is so foreign to many Americans who grew up with packaged meat, and processed food sources. Only those who lived on farms can relate and understand your experience. Yet this may be what’s missing today–a real connection to our food sources. While living with your grandmother you had chores every morning that included feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs, milking the goat, and picking the herbs and vegetables. Sounds so simple, yet it’s hard work! You ate mainly seafood and vegetables, which seems to be the mainstay of the Mediterranean diet. You referred to meat as a rare luxury in the book. Tell us more about this and how your Greek family viewed eating animal meat…

Maria Benardis: Animal meat was considered sacred and before any animal was sacrificed for our enjoyment our island priest would bless it. We ate meat on special occasions only such as Easter, Christmas, when someone got married on the island, birthdays etc. In Greek Orthodox culture, many people may not know that we have meatless Wednesday’s and Friday’s amongst other days in the religious calendar in any case. Additionally, we closely aligned our eating habits to those of our ancient Ancestors. As many would know in Ancient Greece many were vegetarians, vegans and fruitarians.

As outlined in my other book/eBook “Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health.” “In ancient Greece many people avoided animal flesh altogether. They believed that by eating the flesh of animals that had been slaughtered they would be ingesting pain and that this was detrimental to ones health. Plutarch ( Greek biographer and essayist) tells us: ‘Man is by nature not a carnivorous animal’. ‘It is not natural to mankind to feed on flesh, we first of all demonstrate from the very shape and figure of the body. For the human body no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness’. ‘Shall we reckon a soul to be a small expense.’ ‘Animal food is injurious: it clogs and confuses the mind’ and the ‘mind weak and feeble’. It operates unfavourably on character’. ‘If we must eat flesh let it be with sorrow and pity; not tormenting and abusing the poor animal before taking its life. Animals have senses’.”“Who knows the bodies of animals may contain the souls of deceased men.”

Lauroly Q- Thank you for sharing great wisdom we all need to revisit. There are so many interesting stories like “The Grape Leaf Lady’ weaved throughout the book, but we can’t forget the wonderful delicious recipes! I think I mentioned in our last interview together that Greek food is one of my favorite cuisines. I was fortunate to visit Greece more than once, and I have wonderful memories of eating. I think it was the simplicity of the food that worked for me and the aromatic herbs and spices. I remember going to a Greek restaurant outside the city of Athens and there was no menu! They just brought out various dishes of food to the table, as if we were family. They mainly served fish and vegetable dishes and it was all so delicious! What herbs and spices are commonly used in Greek cooking? I love how you call them healing ingredients as many spices are. Food really can be medicine don’t you think?

Maria Benardis: There are many spices and herbs still used in Greek cookery that were used by my ancient Greek ancestors. I cover their medicinal properties observed by them and now at the back of my book and throughout “My Greek Family Table”. They include basil comes from the Greek basilius, meaning “king” or “royal.” the king of herbs and the crowning herb in Greek cuisine. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, regarded basil as beneficial to the heart and prescribed it for the treatment of constipation and for the prevention of vomiting. Other include mint, dill, cilantro, Bay Leaf, Marjoram, Oregano ( is derived from two Greek words: oros (mountain) and ganos (joy) (i.e, “joy of the mountain”)), parsley, Rosemary, and Thyme. Laura, you are absolutely right Food is Medicine and in the wise words of Hippocrates “Let Medicine be thy food and food thy medicine”. I was ill for many years with cysts that were going to turn into cancer and the doctors were not able to help me. I turned to food and mind medicine and healed myself.
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Photograph from ‘My Greek Family Table’ Book

 

Lauroly Q-My favorite part of the book ‘My Greek Family Table’ is where you talk about returning to Greece after living in Australia for a long time. It was on that trip you discovered your calling and true love of Greek food. Can you share a little bit of that story?

Maria Benardis: Yes, I have the whole story in my book. Briefly in August 2004 I went on a life-changing trip to Greece. It was my first visit back there since leaving Psara all those years before. While there, I visited Kalamata and many of the beautiful islands. However, it was on the island of Mykonos that my life changed forever, when I visited the small church of Saint Fanourios. It was there that my decision to pursue my passion for food was sealed and my destiny set on a new course. Saint Fanourios is a very small church on one of the main winding streets in Mykonos. Beautifully whitewashed, the church proudly hangs the Greek flag hangs proudly outside. It had an inviting look about it and I felt compelled to go in and light a candle. The church was adorned with beautiful icons painted with vibrant colors and finished off with gold and silver. In the corner there were many candles that had being lit that day by people who had passed by. I felt a peace in my soul that I had not experienced before, and the sweet fragrance of the holy basil heightened my sense of tranquility. Suddenly I experienced an epiphany and saw all that was about to happen in my life pass before me. I realized it was time for me to reinvent my life, and in that church I saw a new path set out for me to follow. I decided then and there that I was going to dedicate myself to bringing Greek food and culture to the rest of the world.

Lauroly Closing- Thank you so much for joining us Maria, I could ask you so many other questions, but I think your book is really special. Everyone needs to read your story while turning the beautifully photographed pages of your Greekalicious dishes and classic Greek tables. They will not only find delicious Greek recipes, but perhaps a fresh perspective on their own relationship with food. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, and love of your Greek culture and heritage. Mission accomplished Maria! Greece will live on in you and now in us.

Maria Benardis Closing: Thank you for interviewing me and for your time. In closing I would like to end with some words I have in “My Greek Family Table” in the acknowledgments section. This book is for all the Greeks (and I believe we all have a bit of Greek within us all) over the world. You are all so fortunate to be part of a civilization that has contributed many things, such as democracy, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, theater, arts, healing therapies, and most importantly of all gastronomy; forgotten by the world but now time to be remembered.

 

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WWB’s Weekly Wisdom Wrap: ‘Find Your Spot’ and the Geography of Bliss…

Jun 20, 2015 by

 

Every Saturday on WWBFacebook I do a “Find Your Spot’ post to hopefully inspire you to do just that. Sometimes I am sharing exotic photos of beautiful islands and palm trees, and other weeks I am sharing a cozy chair in front of a fireplace. The point of the post is to encourage you to ‘find a spot’ where you can relax, breathe and take quiet time for yourself. Sometimes you can find your spot in your mind. I often close my eyes and imagine this slow cruise I took through the Vancouver Islands, passing lush green islands inhabited with sea lions and colorful birds. It was a beautiful sunny 75 degree day, with crystal blue skies and the water was literally gleaming. Total bliss…

 

 

What I remember most about that cruise is how my mind just shut down. I did not have a thought on my mind. I just stopped thinking and was completely immersed in the spectacular nature that was all around me. It’s no wonder that I still see the Vancouver Islands like a moving slide-show in my mind. Of course I have many beautiful memories of other trips taken but for some reason that particular Vancouver day comes to my mind. Almost like a meditation, when I picture that day in my mind, I summon up the peaceful endorphins that were flowing through my body that day. I love the Vancouver Islands in British Columbia, and so much, I seriously considered moving there. I have been fortunate to visit many beautiful places in the world, from Paris to the Greek Islands, but it was Vancouver that captured my heart. Do you have a special place that speaks to your heart? I would love to hear about it!

This week’s post is not just about my crush on Vancouver,  it is really all about the ‘Geography of Bliss’. This just happens to be a name of a travel book I want to recommend to you as well. But it’s so much more than a typical travel book. The author is in search of what makes us happy, and seeks answers to the most pressing questions of our time. Such as, what are the essential ingredients for the good life? Why are some places happier than others? How are we shaped by our surroundings? Big questions and it all speaks to the heart of what I’m getting at…

 

You see, Vancouver represents for me, a ‘sense of place’ that makes me feel alive, connected to the world and ‘at home’. I don’t live there for many reasons, and mostly because of family ties. I did find a place to call home, that does provide a little city and a lot of nature, and most importantly makes me feel the ‘bliss’ I felt in Vancouver. Now, when I go for walks, I can always find my spot to relax, unwind and just be. I never feel like I have to ‘get away’ because of the beautiful ‘bucolic’ surroundings of the area I live in. Before my big-city friends get defensive, let me just say there are absolutely beautiful spots to discover in the midst of big cities. I have shared a few ‘spots’ in previous posts about green spaces and cities.

So maybe your ‘bliss’ is being right in the middle of a thriving busy city surrounded by people. Deciding where to live is a pretty big deal, but in today’s modern ‘mobile society’ we often live in places we never imagined we would live. Think about the immigrants who come from all over the world to live in America. All of them are contributing to the beautiful tapestry of American culture.

There is so much to explore about sense of place, finding your spot and the geography of bliss. So, what if you could actively shop and look for your ideal place to live? For many families, there is very important criteria to consider when deciding on where to live and raising kids. We see ‘Best Places to Live’ on the covers of major magazines all the time and they all use very specific criteria. Most often they emphasize median incomes, quality of schools and safety. But lately you are seeing lists that also include green spaces and parks.

If you are single, you have much more freedom to choose where to live. Yet, when you are single, you often want to be around other single people. Over the last twenty years ‘urban’ cities are where young singles flock to. There are so many choices for them, but there’s always the affordability factor. Seniors equally have their own criteria when deciding on where to retire. For some seniors, it’s a matter of just downsizing, and for others it is finding stimulation, culture, and soothing nature to enjoy the rest of their lives. Some seniors actually choose to move to a city from the suburbs, so they can finally enjoy all the wonderful cultural things big cities have to offer, without the hassle of driving.

Well, I have something for everyone! I stumbled upon a great new digital portal called ‘Livability’.  Livability explores what makes small-to-medium sized cities great places to live. Through proprietary research studies, engaging articles and original photography and video, they examine topics related to community amenities, education, sustainability, transportation, housing and the economy. It’s a very useful site and when you visit their ‘Find A City’ page you can type in any city and learn more about the city’s demographic makeup and economy. I also love the ‘Moving’ section which offers a lot of practical tools, checklists and guides to help you with your move. Of course my favorite page is ‘The Top 10 Healthiest Cities’ which is always of interest to me.

Are you beginning to see why ‘sense of place’ is so important to bliss and happiness? As the author of ‘Geography of Bliss’ gets to, ‘happiness’ is often ‘baked into’ the culture you live in.  After all this talk about sense of place, we also find that ‘culture’ is important and can really effect our state of happiness. In a much wider context, I believe what is really important, is creating wellness culture. In doing so we can create a society that benefits everyone, no matter what our social status or income level is. So what kind of ‘culture’ do you think would make you most happy? To get you thinking about culture and happiness I recommend you join me for WWB’s ‘Book Wise’ Pow-Wow this summer! We are reading ‘Field Guide to Happiness’ which was reviewed most positively by Eric Weiner, the author of ‘Geography of Bliss’!

“Linda Leaming writes with a sweetness and an earned wisdom that goes down as smoothly as a good cup of tea. She is also very funny. If you are alive, or would like to be, read her A Field Guide to Happiness and find joy on every page.” ~Eric Weiner

 

With all this talk about culture, I want to recommend another portal which is the ‘pioneer’ in portals helping you to decide on where to live. It inspired my ‘Find Your Spot’  posts because it is actually called ‘Find Your Spot’. I used this website many moons ago, and I can tell you it is amazingly detailed, thorough, and ‘spot on’, no pun intended! Do you like a lot of sunny weather? Do you want to live near a college? Do you love the theater? Do you enjoy ethnic restaurants? Do you like spending time at the zoo—as a visitor? lol This website helps you find your ideal hometown by having you take a quick, but comprehensive fun quiz. The quiz is designed to focus on the issues that are really important to you, like climate, culture, crime rates, recreational opportunities, community resources and even the types of geography that you enjoy most. Once you take the quiz, you receive a report about your ideal spot and it covers all the pertinent questions you could have about moving to your ideal spot. Of course the key is answering the questions honestly. It really gets you thinking about what really matters to you and your sense of place.

 

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So wherever you roam in life, I hope you always ‘find your spot’. It may be curled up at home on comfy chair reading a good book, or it may be curled up in the arms of the one you love. Just remember, ‘no matter where you go, there you are’ and happiness always starts with YOU deciding to be happy. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

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World Wise Beauty Presents the ‘WWB Icon’ for 2015. Meet ‘Thorbjörg’ the Hot Anti-Aging Queen from Scandinavia

Apr 16, 2015 by

 

ICON: Thorbjorg Hafsteindottir

EXPERTISE: Nutrition, Fitness, Longevity

AUTHOR: ’10 Years younger, in 10 Weeks (Your Best Self).’

PROFILE: Thorborg is Scandinavia’s anti-age queen and has reached cult status with her natural and empowering approach to aging. She is a trained nurse, nutritional therapist and certified health coach with 25 years of experience in nutrition therapy. Focused on behavioral and integrative lifestyle changes, her work specializes in sugar addiction, obesity, diabetes, women’s health, healthy pregnancy, healthy children and especially anti-aging.

IDEALS: “Just because you’re technically getting older doesn’t mean you have to feel that way. Women are beautiful, inside and out, regardless of their age.” ~Thorbjorg

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Welcome Thorbjorg to World Wise Beauty. I truly feel ‘World Wise’ talking with a beautiful woman about ideal wellness who lives across the globe in Iceland and Denmark! You are originally from Iceland and now currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Denmark is the home of the happiest people on earth according to many research studies! I have to say, having visited a few times for work, the Danes are lovely people, and the word that comes to mind for me when I think of the Danish is ‘relaxed’. But I admit you are my first real encounter with an Icelander!

For many of my American readers, you are more than likely  just learning about Thorbjorg but she is quite a celebrity in Scandinavia and has an almost cult like following. She is considered the ‘Anti-Age’ queen and I guess we could compare her a little to Suzanne Summers here in the states. In fact Thorbjorg recommends one of Suzanne’s books in her book. What they both believe passionately is you should not have to grow old, weak, and sick just because you are getting older. On the contrary you can live a very active life full of vitality if you treat your body, mind and spirit well!

Thorbjorg, I will be honest with you. When I saw the title of your book ‘10 Years Younger in 10 Weeks’ (Your Best Self) I thought ‘oh here we go again–another diet book perhaps selling miracle potions!’ After reading your book and learning more about your story I must say ‘don’t judge a book by its title!’! But in your case definitely by its picture! It was refreshing to find that your book is no gimmick, but rather a practical and comprehensive longevity program, that would normally cost thousands of dollars if you went to a wellness retreat or center. What I love about it is you look at women holistically and your prescriptions for looking younger are all related to nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyle. It won’t be a spoiler alert for the readers to know your program is no easy peasy but totally achievable if you commit to revitalizing your habits and mindset.

Lauroly Q- So to begin, Thorbjorg you’re 54 years YOUNG, mother of three and most people think you are at least 15 years younger! Just look at your book cover! Wow! What is even more interesting is you worked as a nurse for some years. Is that when you were addicted to sugar? Let’s start by telling us what the catalyst was that sent you on your wellness journey. Did you suddenly turn yourself around or was it a gradual step by step process? I love how you tell us how wonderful you currently feel and how you plan on feeling this way well into your advancing age. I’m with you and sign me up!

Thorbjörg: Thank you Laura for your kind words and great welcome greetings. I am honored to be here and thank you for the opportunity to be here with you. What a blessing! I have a slight correction. I did not work as a nurse for very long. In fact you can count the time working in the white uniform in hours only! My focus was always on health and nutrition, and I thought obtaining a nurse’s education would facilitate my work, so that is what I did. And I have never regretted it.

I learned how the body works; anatomy, biochemistry and physiology and the experience working with patients was very helpful. I was the oldest in class and a rebel I guess. I remember having strong opinions about several things regarding treatment and the food of course. Didn’t see much ‘healing’ and nourishing food around the hospitals in those days. But nevertheless I left school with the highest score and three years later I finished my degree as a nutritional therapist at Institute for Optimum Nutrition. I have been my own boss in my own company ever since.

I have been sugar addict ever since I was a little girl caused by several circumstances. When I was 23, expecting my first girl, I sort of woke up from my sugar blues thinking that this wasn’t fair. I no longer wanted to hurt my own body and jeopardize the chances of giving birth to a healthy strong girl. So I quit! In a sober moment I found the energy and the will power to change my sugar habits. I’m not lying to you! I remember it was very hard and there were times I felt like I was going crazy! I needed my fix! But eventually I felt much better, the less sugar chews in my brain the more clarity I had. With a clear mind it is much easier to make good choices. It took me some years to find out what made me mind fogged, miserable, depressed and bloated. I was still eating starch from bread which is basically the same as added sugar. I eventually cut out all sugar and I also cut the gluten. Amazingly my joint pain vanished. My journey towards optimum health and sobriety took some years and I learned so much about food, the human body, and most importantly my body! The more I took care of myself, the more resolved I became about what I wanted in my life. I wouldn’t have missed being a sugar addict for anything in the world! I use to congratulate my sugar trapped students for being exactly where they are, because their ‘life bliss’ was still yet to come. Quitting sugar, loving your body and taking control of your health is that kind of feeling.


 

Lauroly Q: Thank you for being so honest. Many people don’t even realize they are ‘sugar addicts’ and just don’t make the connection. Your experience as a nutritionist definitely contributes to your 10 week plan and I love all the medical tests you include in the book and on the ‘Pine Tribe’ (your Publisher) website. These tests would be exactly what a wellness retreat or wellness center might have you take when participating in a wellness program. I know because I was formerly Marketing Director for one of the leading longevity centers in the country here in NJ. When you create wellness programs for people you have to consider that every person has their own unique bio-individuality. How did you come up with your three different fitness types? Each type has a different temperament and requires different wellness rituals. Tell us more…

Thorbjörg: For years I have been blessed with the opportunity to know beautiful women, in all shapes and sizes, visiting me in my private clinic, attending my lectures, and they all have been my grand teachers. By listening to their stories, how they feel and what they eat and at the same time observing how they look, talk, behave and the color and texture of their skin well, I got to know them pretty good.

I began to see a pattern of similarities in behavior, body shape, health condition and symptoms. For example, I often see rather skinny or not overweight women, full of high energy, ambitious, often hard cardio trainers, seeking stressful things, drinking a lot of coffee and on the go. So I named those types “To Go”. They are adrenalin, cortisol dominated women with physical and mental symptoms that reflect this kind of control or lack of it! Ha ha 🙂 Well I’m one of them. Typically this type can send their immune system into overdrive and all kinds of symptoms will confirm this. Rashes, dry skin tendency to wrinkle, besnier’s prurigo, sleep disorder, digestion problems, joint problems and sugar cravings are all the body’s way of saying I am out of balance.

Then the type which appears to be the opposite has slow metabolism, slow digestion, low energy, tendency toward depression, overweight, especially around the stomach and hips, and dominated by hyper thyroid function. This type is more into hot chocolate with cream and she will ‘stay’ while enjoying it.  She is my second ‘To Stay’ type. The third type is yo- yoing between the two; a metabolic dysfunctional type feeling up and down. All of the types have a challenge to deal with, and the journey to balance is a bit different in terms of the type of food and exercise they choose. The ‘Adrenal type’ needs to calm down and take it more easy. She can learn from her calmer chocolate drinking sister! Each type can actually learn from each other. It’s finding the balance for your type. This is not bulletproof science but my observations are based on experience, knowledge and wisdom.

Lauroly Q-  I love the quote from your book  “your second youth begins in your fridge” because you really believe the secret to staying youthful is the fuel we give to our bodies. I like your book in particular because it offers a little ‘tough love’ and confronts ‘truths’ which maybe too many experts dance around. Each of us is ultimately responsible for our own wellness. I would add that sometimes no matter healthy we are, things can happen due to no fault of our own. Yet, many ‘old’ ailments that many have succumbed to can be avoided. There is a heading before one of your tests in the book that says ‘what you eat can be seen and felt’. How true that is. You really crystallize the whole aging concept when you focus on ‘Chronological age’ vs ‘Biological age. Some people at the age of twenty already have the body of a 40-year-old and some people at age 85 feel like they are 60! Isn’t that something! You spend a lot of time talking about sugar and are pretty strict in your program about not having it. Why is it so bad and why do we have to be extreme about not having it all?

Thorbjörg: First I want to make it clear that I really believe that we are responsible for our own life and health. Every bit of junk food and every sip of sugary sodas, the hours you’re not sleeping while you should be in and all the times you bailed out of your exercise class or the walk you promised yourself. This is on you. That said I do not believe that all “bad things” are on us. Let’s talk about cancer, “the great white” in the sense of the fear many of us have for this condition, with good reason because cancer can indeed be very serious. And it strikes randomly or so it seems. Healthy lifestyle or not, it invades your body, your life and challenges you and your love ones. I have witnessed and worked with many women and men with different kind of cancers taking responsibility and it changed their life. They begin to take better care of themselves through food, exercise, mindfulness and love. It’s not coming from guilt and shame and the notion “I got cancer because I have been a bad girl and now I’m being punished”. No this is about facing facts and the using the healing power of taking action and stepping up for yourself. In some odd way, it can be a great and wonderful journey. And lifesaving! Why wait for a serious disease to improve your sense of well-being?

So why am I anti-sugar? Because getting rid of it, or most of it, is a part of being sober, feeling energized, focused, and awake. Getting rid of it can slow down inflammation in your body, and ward off serious conditions like type 2 and 3 diabetes, several types of cancer and heart problems. Also, sugar makes you old in a hurry and your skin wrinkled. If that is what you want you can keep it! But if you want something more out of your life, not just now, but in 10, 15 and 30 years from now, you want to quit sugar and all the products with added sugar and starches. And you find it everywhere! In all kind of products, including some that claim they are healthy just because they are organic or “natural”. Do not let them fool you. Read the labels!

Lauroly Q- I found this book to be one of the most comprehensive health books for women I have covered to date and it’s simply because you cover health, wellness and anti-aging from an integrative perspective and you practice what you preach. You spend a lot of time covering bio-chemistry in the book and really delve into the importance of managing stress and our hormones. This is such an important part of your program. Hormones can wreak havoc on your health and cause all kinds of imbalances in the body. But as you spell out on the book, if you are taking care of your ‘ total system’ hormones seem to have less impact on your overall health. What is the biggest misconception women have about their hormones?

Thorbjörg: I think many women have no clue how their hormones work, such as what estrogen does in the body and the importance of balanced progesterone and testosterone. They all effect your energy, balance, sex, weight, brain and skin. Also I find it disturbing that far too many women think pre-menopause and menopause is supposed to be about suffering. Some believe, the only thing to relieve the suffering is Hormone Replacement. Ok of course there will be changes in how you feel when your hormones change in production and the balance in ratio between them. It’s it natural to experience mild symptoms such as tiredness and hot flushes. But suffering for months and even years is not to be accepted. Eating authentic and real food that communicates with the body will allow menopause and the years to come to be the best time of your life. I believe you can be beautiful and a wise woman in balance with yourself. I’m still a rebel but in peace! A true Vitality Warrior! (the title of my next book!)

 Lauroly Q- I am excited about your next book! I can’t let you leave us without asking you about ‘Cultural Diets’. The two big regions in the world who have gained most of the attention for their longevity diets are Japan and Greece. Suddenly in just the last year ‘Scandinavia’ has become the new ‘hot diet & region’ trending around the world! Did you start this trend with your book!? What do you think the magic is in the Scandinavian diet? For Greece it’s the oil, Japan it’s the fish and seaweed, and France it’s of course the wine. Is it the berries in Scandinavia? I simplify I know! But tell us what you think? I think every culture has its super-foods but it’s generally the overall ‘culture and lifestyle’ that contributes to longevity and centenarian status. Do you agree?

 

 

Thorbjörg: I do agree Laura. Every culture has its own super foods. And the Nordic food is very much about the food our grandparents ate for generations. Back to the basics so to speak. Wild blueberries and black berries, all kind of kale and root vegetables, wild salmon and fish, lamb game grass fed, butter and cream and the Icelandic skyr which is also is available in Whole Food Market in the states. And yes, I believe some of this is on me, since I have been talking and writing about eating real and local grown food for the last 25 years! This is superfood! So is turmeric, astaxanthin, spirulina, chocolate and goji berries, just to mention a few. When the food works with and supports the natural function of the body I’m all in. I want my food to support my hormones, bones, joints, brain, glutathione and serotonin production as well as nitric oxide. I eat food for this purpose, take supplements and patch meridian spots in my body to support my body and I eat smart dark chocolate with turmeric and camu camu every day.

 

 

Lauroly Closing: I am so honored to have spent this time with you Thorbjörg! You are an inspiration and I am thrilled to announce you are now officially my first 2015 WWB Icon! You are a WWB Icon because you share your wisdom and expertise and are totally committed to advancing wellness culture. Through your work, publishing projects and personal example you teach us how we can all celebrate ideals for wellness culture from the inside out. Bravo!

I am going to share this book with everyone I know! I encourage all my readers to visit your website and learn more about your 10 week program, then order the book as fast as you can, so you can get started with ‘REVITALIZING’! I hope you will visit us again and I invite you to come back as often as you like to share your wellness wisdom! P.S Keep on riding those bicycles! 😉

Thorbjorg: Thank you so much Laura. I’m so honored. It means a lot to me. My work is truly my passion. My mission is to help women revitalize and live long healthy lives. My purpose in life is to teach and inspire. Thank you for supporting me with my mission. I would love to come back. There is so much more to share. And yes! Biking is a part of my lifestyle in Copenhagen where I live most of the time. In Reykjavik, Iceland I have a bike too, but a bit more robust off roader. A true Viking needs a mountain bike! Ha ha ! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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WWB’s Culture Wise: The ‘Life Enhancing’ Benefits of International Travel…

Apr 9, 2015 by

I have to begin this new blog department with a wise quote from an American author and adventurist Mark Twain. “Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” I couldn’t agree with this more. I was fortunate as an International Sales Manager to travel abroad for many years and attend international conferences. I met people from all over the world and the more I traveled I found most human beings are generally good-natured. Maybe this is my personal world view, but when I read this quote “Traveling increased what’s called generalized trust, or general faith in humanity.” from an insightful article in The Atlantic, I realized my perspective was shared by many other ‘world wise’ people. To a certain degree, I think being born in New York City, gave me an ‘instant passport’ to the diverse cultures of the world. It certainly inspired me to want to see more, learn more and understand more with a worldly perspective…

The above mentioned article from the Atlantic is entitled ‘For A More Creative Brain, Travel’, How International Experiences Can Open the Mind to New Ways of Thinking. The writer explores how in recent years, psychologists and neuroscientists have begun examining more closely what many people have already learned anecdotally– that spending time abroad may have the potential to affect mental change. The researchers found through numerous studies a clear correlation between time spent abroad and creative output. For example, the brands whose creative directors had lived and worked in other countries produced more consistently creative fashion lines than those whose directors had not. See expanded data in article…

I hope you take the time to read this interesting piece, but just in case you can’t, here are WWB’s top 5 takeaways to get your creative brain thinking and perhaps you might even book a trip to your next destination on your bucket list!

~Truly Herself, Lauroly

1. New sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations, and sights spark different synapses in the brain.

2. “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School and the author of numerous studies on the connection between creativity and international travel.

3. Traveling may have other brain benefits, too. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an associate professor of education and psychology at the University of Southern California, says that cross-cultural experiences have the potential to strengthen a person’s sense of self.

4. What a lot of psychological research has shown now is that the ability to engage with people from different backgrounds than yourself, and the ability to get out of your own social comfort zone, is helping you to build a strong and acculturated sense of your own self.

5. Cross-cultural experiences have the potential to pull people out of their cultural bubbles, and in doing so, can increase their sense of connection with people from backgrounds different than their own.

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/for-a-more-creative-brain-travel/388135/

For those not able to plan a big trip right now. You will love this other wise finding from the research…

Although a new country is an easy way to leave a “social comfort zone,”The cultural engagement associated with cognitive change doesn’t have to happen abroad. If a plane ticket isn’t an option, maybe try taking the subway to a new neighborhood. Sometimes, the research suggests, all that’s needed for a creative boost is a fresh cultural scene.

P.S  For my arm-chair traveling friends, you might enjoy WWB’s ‘Book Wise’ Club as we will always be reading books with a focus on world culture and wisdom. Subscribe to this blog to stay informed about our next reading selection.

 

 

 

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