WWB WATCH: May, Could, Might? Why Recent Research on Coffee & Media Headlines Confuse Us…

Jul 13, 2017 by



Did you hear about the latest research on coffee? How did you miss it? It was the perfect story for all media outlets to cover this week and boy did we need some uplifting news this week in our country! Look at all the coffee buzz in the media in just two days…

  • Coffee May Help You Live Longer, Study Finds. New research from the largest study of its kind shows that coffee may help you live longer
  • Coffee drinkers live longer, according to two large-scale studies released Monday that add to extensive research indicating coffee consumption
  • Put the kettle on – two new studies have indicted that drinking coffee helps … This latest research is just the latest in a slew of reports about the
  • Pour another cup–coffee lowers disease risk
  • Coffee drinkers are waking up to some good news Tuesday after new research suggests that a cup of joe a day could keep the doctor away

I left out the media sources because I am not here to pick on individual media companies. This is breaking research news and it’s about the fuel that probably 80% of us drink to get our engines going in the morning. Coffee and the caffeine in it, is our legal drug, and like wine it is steeped in cultural rituals for so many of us. So this research about coffee is not just news, it’s happy news! But we still need to think and pause…

This research story is yet another example of how we get tangled up in the complicated ‘web’ of health studies. Butter is bad, now it’s good! Coffee is bad and may contribute to heart disease, now it may contribute to longevity and lower disease risk?  I’m not a doctor and I am not going to challenge the research from a medical perspective. I can tell you I read a lot of these research findings reports and consume quite a bit of health news. Here is what I see time and time again, and it’s important to point it out these three encouraging but also dangerous words…may, could and might.
The story I personally read on the coffee research this week came from Medical Daily. Their headline read “Your Daily Coffee Could Help You Live Longer.” I mention MD only because I am focusing on language used by the research authors and the publication’s copy. Many of the other media outlets used the same language.
Here is the sub-header following their big headline…”If you’re a regular coffee drinker, a new study might brighten your day. Researchers have found that consuming the popular beverage may increase longevity, and it doesn’t even need to be caffeinated.”


The lead photo for this story was this one, with a tagline that read “Researchers say that drinking one cup of coffee per day could lower the risk of death…



Now that’s a happy story! One cup of coffee a day may save you from the risk of death! Wow, very powerful! Let’s not only drink more coffee, but also invest in Starbuck’s stock if we haven’t already!

This Medical Daily report does highlight the benefits and risks of drinking coffee and points to previous negative research about coffee. There is balance, which I always seek when reading reports on research findings. Throughout the piece you will find…yes, three words–may, could and might buried in the headlines and the happy picture of coffee. These important words get lost. If we all took the time to read the entire story we would would also find this interesting statement from the lead study author…

“Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.”

There’s that word ‘may’ again. I hate to break it to the researchers, but centuries of human culture has shown us that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle in moderation. What they didn’t know back then scientifically is that it can have adverse side effects for some people. Which brings me back to the concept of bio-individuality. Some people can eat loads of fat their entire lives and live to be 100, and others can’t and drop dead sooner. In comparison, some people can drink coffee at 10pm and go right to sleep, while others can’t drink it past 2pm without being up all night. With regards to the people eating lots of fat, what is often overlooked is the poor quality of life of people who are obese because of their diet and bad lifestyle habits. Everything gluttonous or in excess pays a price in health. We all seem to know this intuitively but just conveniently forget it.

The healers and philosophers of  ancient Greece knew that moderation was the prescription for  good health, and they also knew good sleep and regular exercise is important to longevity. It doesn’t get more simple than this, but we still look for a ‘magic elixir’ and hope it makes up for our neglect in one area or another. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Super-Foods ( like coffee), because every culture has them and in some ways they compensate for other nutrients missing in their diets because of  factors like climate. I did a Q&A with the author of 30 Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Cuisines a few years ago, and the big takeaway is each of the world’s healthiest cuisines have a super-food and very specific lifestyle habits that contribute to their longevity. This book was published long before the Blue Zones Solution, which is also a good book on how many various lifestyle factors contribute to health and longevity. Both books confirm lifestyle matters my friends, and our diet is one very big part of our lifestyle.

So let’s be real about the research this week. We don’t know why coffee may help us live longer. We can however, identify healthy antioxidants and phenolic compounds in coffee, that we know can be good for preventing cancer. Avoiding cancer is one very effective way to achieve longevity!

It’s not that research shouldn’t be done, it’s not that we shouldn’t learn about the research findings, it’s just how we share the research, interpret the research, and use the research. The last paragraph of the Medical Daily story this week summed up the coffee research with this statement…

“Further studies are needed to gain a better understanding of how coffee might increase mortality. In the meantime, the researchers say that we should enjoy our daily cup of joe; it could be doing us the world of good.”

From everything I have read, the facts are, in moderation and in combination with other good lifestyle habits, coffee can’t hurt us, and it’s definitely a good jump starter in the morning for most of us.  It can hurt some of us with certain heart conditions, and for some it can also disturb chemistry, stomach linings, and our sleep. This much science has established. Does it contribute to living longer? May, could or might…









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How to Live a Long and Pleasurable Life…Doctor, & Author of “The Olive Oil Diet” Shares the Wellness Secrets of the Mediterranean Culture & Lifestyle

Feb 10, 2017 by



WWB Wise Guru: Dr. Simon Poole  MBBS DRCOG is a Cambridge based medical doctor, author, broadcaster and commentator with expertise in the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.

Featured Book: The Olive Oil Diet –Nutritional Secrets of the Original SuperFood –The book has just been nominated for the International Gourmand Prize for food and cookery writing, and shortlisted for the “Best of the World” which is described as the food writing equivalent of the “Oscars”.

Professional Profile: As well as being a full time GP, Dr Simon Poole is a renowned international commentator on the Mediterranean Diet and a member of the Council of Directors of the True Health Initiative in the USA. He has written regularly on matters related to primary care in medicine and nutrition for a diverse range of media including The Guardian, Nutrition and Food Science and the Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons as well as consumer magazines such as Cook Vegetarian and Body Language. He also has extensive experience broadcasting and writing for local, national and international radio, television and web based organisations and regularly speaks at and chairs conferences attended by physicians, the media, politicians and the food industry on subject matters relating to health, politics and nutrition.





Lauroly Opening: I am pleased to introduce another doctor/expert from the True Health Initiative. For those just learning about THI, it is a growing coalition of more than 250 world renowned health experts committed to cutting through the noise, and educating on only time-honored, proven principles of lifestyle as medicine. The THI coalition members include physicians, scientists, nutritionists, and authors from nearly 30 countries. An example of their collective collaboration is Dr. Poole will be joining Dr. David Katz (founder of THI and wellness expert here in the U.S) in Italy for the International Food Values Conference in Rome. World leading experts in nutrition, health and sustainability will gather under the patronage of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences next week to debate the urgent need for policies to be adopted which encourage more traditional diets such as the Mediterranean Diet. 

 We have heard about the Mediterranean Diet over the years, and many other diets have come along since, but there has been no other diet that has so much research and science behind it world-wide. How lucky we are to have Dr. Simon Poole here to discuss the diet and his book ‘The Olive Oil Diet’. Personally I am not a promoter of any one diet or any one super-food, because we all are so different bio-individually.  What I will say is the Mediterranean diet has ancient wisdom and a lot of modern science based research behind it, and seems to be enjoyed by many centenarian people. The prospect of healthy longevity gets my attention! At the center of the Mediterranean Diet is ‘Olive Oil’ and Dr. Poole has a passion for Olive Oil! Let’s find out why…








Lauroly Q- Welcome Dr.Poole! Thank you for joining me to discuss your new book, ‘The Olive Oil Diet’ Nutritional Secrets of the Original Superfood’. What I didn’t mention in the opening is I am big olive oil user and cook with it exclusively. Even as the coconut oil trend has accelerated I have stuck with my olive oil. One of my reasons for this, is the amount of research behind the healthy heart properties of olive oil is substantially greater than that available for coconut oil. So let’s start with a hot topic! Is Olive oil better for you or healthier than coconut oil? I realize you are biased because you wrote a book about Olive Oil, but you are also a doctor who cares greatly about Public Health.


DR.SPDr. Poole: Extra virgin olive oil is a fundamental cooking and flavouring ingredient in all the regional variations of what has become known collectively as the Mediterranean Diet. Researchers who have demonstrated the myriad of benefits of this pattern of eating invariably include the regular use of olive oil as the main source of fat as a measure of adherence to the diet. Whatever the argument about the differences in saturated fat types in coconut oil which may make it less likely to have an adverse effect on harmful LDL cholesterol, it is perhaps the unique combination of antioxidant compounds in olive oil which may contribute even more to health than the high level of monounsaturated fat.

There is a myth which exists suggesting that cooking with saturated fats like coconut oil is more healthy because of higher “smoke points”, which is the temperature at which heated fats begin to break down to form potentially harmful by-products. In fact, not only are cooking temperatures in general well below the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil, but most of the beneficial antioxidants tolerate heating as well. Try telling a centenarian from the beautiful island of Ikaria, famed for its healthy Mediterranean lifestyle not to use olive oil as part of his or her daily life, and I rather think you would get a short reply!



Lauroly Q- Your book pretty much platforms the Mediterranean Diet as the ‘Ultimate Diet’. You have a chapter entitled ‘Keeping a Healthy Weight–The End of Dieting.  As a ‘Healthy Epicurean’ which means I value health and enjoy eating, I find the Mediterranean diet most appealing, because it really isn’t a diet as much as it is a cultural lifestyle. As a physician, why do you believe it is the ultimate diet?

Dr. Poole: You are exactly right to make the point that the Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle rather than simply a pattern of eating. Whilst in the western world we have come to view a “diet” as a way to lose weight, the term actually originates from the ancient Greek word “diaita” which means way of life. Research shows that adopting a Mediterranean Diet is in fact better than a low fat diet at helping people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and because people enjoy it, they are more likely to continue to eat healthily. I call it the “ultimate diet” because it has the added benefits of many other health advantages, including an association with lower rates of heart disease, stroke, many cancers and even dementia. The lifestyle itself which promotes the enjoyment of food as part of an experience of conviviality and community is also an important aspect.



Lauroly Q- What I love about your book, is it is a comprehensive health book and cooking book all rolled in one. Your book takes an authoritative and science based look at olive oil, while also exploring the joys of cooking with it. Like some books on wine, your book on olive oil teaches us that growing regions matter, and we discover not all olive oils are the same. You have a dedicated chapter to learning how to buy olive oil. Does this mean cheaper olive oil is not as good as the more expensive? Many wine connoisseurs will tell you that price does not determine a good bottle of wine. Does this apply to olive oil as well?

oilDr. Poole: The “Olive Oil Diet” is designed to help people understand more about the regular use of olive oil, and how to maximise its health benefits in everyday life. It looks at the Mediterranean diet from the perspective of the ubiquitous presence of olive oil. There are different grades of olive oil and even different properties of extra virgin olive oil which depend on the variety, land, agricultural practices, production methods and storage. Oil deteriorates over time and its quality is dependent on limiting exposure to air and light. In the book we describe the indicators of better quality oils and how to recognise markers of excellence. Often the oils with the best nutritional characteristics, including low acidity and powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers are grown in traditional ways with passion and care from individual farmers or small cooperatives. Some oils can be bought very cheaply, but often these are sourced from international markets and are a mixture of variable oils from different countries. So, our advice is to get to know a little about olive oils and try different ones from different regions as well as “pairing” different tasting oils with different dishes. There are lots of discoveries readers can enjoy!


Lauroly Q- I have never heard Olive Oil called the ‘the medicinal fruit juice’ before, and your chapter on all the health benefits really explains how you could call it that. There are so many health conditions olive oil can help with. Most people think of the highly publicized research on heart disease, but you really connect all the medicinal dots for us in the book. What makes Olive Oil a superfood and how does it help with other diseases beyond heart disease?

Dr. Poole: Olive oil really does qualify as a “superfood” because not only is it a fundamental building block of one of the healthiest diets in the World, specifically recommended in the latest US Dietary Guidelines, but also because research has shown that olive oil by itself can have measurable health benefits. So many chronic illnesses are now considered to be associated with chronic inflammation including conditions such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis and even dementia. The numerous plant compounds designed to protect the olive fruit from the effects of “oxidative stress” in the challenging environment and climate in which the olive tree grows may play a role in decreasing inflammation in our bodies. Type 2 Diabetes is another condition which predisposes people to heart disease and other complications, and the way that olive oil in the diet reduces the spiking of sugar levels from a meal with carbohydrates also contributes to the way the diet can protect us, and even help to reverse the very early stages of diabetes. Olive oil also helps to improve the absorption of important nutrients, including fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants in other foods. So it is a real “superfood” especially when combined with super healthy vegetables.


Lauroly Closing: Dr. Poole, thank you so much for visiting World Wise Beauty. I wish I could join you for the ‘Food Values’ conference in Italy this year but I am sure you will come back and share the great wisdom gleaned from gathering with experts in favor of traditional diets. Who knows maybe you will share your wisdom at a ‘Rise of Wise’ event here in the states soon! We would be honored and thrilled to have you visit! In the meantime everyone should read your book and become a connoisseur of olive oil. Keeping in mind that it is what you do with the olive oil that will determine the pleasure of eating it. Check out the tasty recipes in the book and you will be well on your way to having a passion for olive oil too!

Dr. Poole Closing: Thank you. It has been a pleasure Laura and yes, it would be a privilege to attend one of your exciting events perhaps some day soon.


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WWB WATCH: Consumption of Spicy Foods May Increase Your Longevity According to Chinese Study

Aug 13, 2015 by


This was the ‘hot’ news last week, no pun intended! Anytime a new study is released to the media, I always wait to let the media ‘star dust’ settle. At ‘The Watch’ I often talk about the dangers of sharing research and turning the results into ‘sound bites’. It’s as simple as this–notice the word ‘may’ in my post title. Well, that word pretty much gets ignored and overlooked when it travels the media highway as a ‘soundbite’. There has been all kinds of articles about this study, and at World Wise Beauty I try to find the most trusted sources and distill what matters in wellness culture.

What matters ultimately, is you get all the facts and you do your best to consider your own bio-individuality before embracing any one diet or one food. Never trust a sound-bite and as a rule of thumb, when I see everyone jump on a bandwagon, I usually stop, observe, collect more information and review. Be wise, be savvy and be discerning when consuming any media!

Below my overview are 5 key things to consider before you increase your spice intake.  It’s your cheat sheet excerpted from Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Vital Signs page at CNN. I found this particular article to be the most comprehensive and responsible story about this study. The article highlights both the pros and cons of eating spicy foods, and also emphasizes that more research needs to be done for it to be conclusive. The study is a very large and controlled study, yet there are so many ‘variables’ that need to be considered. This CNN article by Lisa Lucas lays it all out for you.

I think the important question is whether the protective effect associated with spicy foods translates across cultures. The author of the study believes it does, and other researchers believe it needs more context. Just a little tip when reading any media and especially on the internet–always consider the source and the ‘context’. Excerpted from the very CNN article I am sharing with you, below are the closing remarks from John E. Hayes, an associate professor of food science and director of Sensory Evaluation Center at Penn State University. He drives home the importance of context when reviewing research studies…

So before you make a run for the hot sauce, more research is needed to qualify what spicy entails and the various ingredients, which the current study does not break down. “This isn’t an excuse to go out and eat 24 wings and then rationalize it by claiming they are going to make you live longer,” Hayes said. “When you’re looking at a whole food versus the individual component, we have to be very cautious.” This is the big caveat. “In science, we try to break things down into the simplest parts while still considering the context,”

My own simple non-scientific conclusion is right in line with my ‘Healthy Epicurean’ philosophy. If you like spicy, enjoy in moderation. More importantly, if you are eating healthy, exercising your body, managing your stress and feeding your soul with love, connection and purpose, you are at the very least going to be happy. Did you ever notice that centenarians ( living to 100) seem to be happy spirits? I’m happy to make this key observation for you! 😉







(Notes from CNN Vital Signs)

  1. The study itself cites limitations including the lack of information about other dietary and lifestyle habits or how spicy food was cooked or prepared.
  2. It’s an observational study within a single culture.
  3. There are also a few risks associated with eating spicy foods. “There are certain foods that are triggers for people with incontinence or overactive bladders, including spicy foods, which doctors have identified as common irritants for women,” said Kristen Burns, an adult urology nurse practitioner at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
  4. Spicy foods can also aggravate colds or sinus infections, increasing your runny nose.
  5. The new research found an “association” between death and spicy food consumption, but an editorial published with the study cautions that this is not definitive.
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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





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 WATCH: New Study/New Calculator Looks at ‘Fitness Age’ and Your Capacity for Longevity

Oct 15, 2014 by


THE WATCH:  Moderate exercise just may be one of the secrets to longevity according to a new Fitness study recently released. It is important to emphasize ‘one of’ as the body is a complex ‘system’ and I prefer to see health and wellness as a tri-operative function of the mind, body and spirit . The concept of Fitness Age has been developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology in Trondheim, who have studied fitness and how it relates to wellness for years. According to the New York Times article attached below, Fitness age is primarily determined by your VO2max, which is a measure of your body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen. VO2max indicates your current cardiovascular fitness level and can be used to compare your fitness of other people the same age, providing you with a benchmark. This is all sounds fairly simple and the 11 O’Clock news might give you a 60 second report sounding very definitive but with most scientific studies like this we need to look at the context to fully understand the findings of the study.

WHAT MATTERS:  So how meaningful was this study? The researchers studied over 55,000 Norwegians and concluded that the people who had a VO2max of 85% below their peers the same age had an 82% chance of dying prematurely. This is pretty significant and certainly concludes that exercise is an important part of staying youthful and living longer. I cant help but think about my own Mom who suffered from severe Rheumatoid Arthritis most of her life and made an effort however difficult and uncomfortable to ‘walk’. In harsh winters she actually made sure to walk across her home back and forth. The benefits of those walks paid off, because even now as advanced cancer ravages her body and organs ( in addition to her RA), her heart is doing fine and she is still here. For full context, she also followed a very healthy diet and managed her weight over the years. She would not be the perfect ‘peer’ in this study and probably would score lower in the test they use to gauge fitness age. But I feel what matters most importantly is the body needs to move. Exercise is really important not just to lose weight or stay slim but to manage stress and condition the heart and do what our bodies are meant to do–MOVE.

WWB TAKEAWAY: Professor Ulrich Wisloff who led the study in Norway said, ‘Just exercise’. If your fitness age exceeds your chronological age, the good news is you can always improve it. I agree and believe the more we know about our body the better we can take care of it. Dr. Wisloff plans on directly comparing his study to other established studies like the Framingham Risk Calculator (which does not include fitness in its variables). What is also pointed out at the very end of the NYT article is the study was based on just Norwegians which may not be representative of the rest of us in the world. This key point would not make it to the 11 O’clock news and it is a pretty important factor to consider. My favorite term in health and wellness is BIO-INDIVIDUALITY and the most important takeaway here is ‘Know Your Own Body’ and learn to take care of it at your best optimum level. My mother did the best she could with the hand she was dealt, and so can you!

Here are the two tests discussed today and remember if you take the test to consider your own bio-individuality ( full personal picture) into account and make improvements where you can.

VO2max Fitness Calculator https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/#/

Framingham Risk Calculator http://cvdrisk.nhlbi.nih.gov/calculator.asp

Truly Herself,


What’s Your Fitness Age?


 October 15, 2014 12:01 am


CreditGetty Images
Phys Ed

Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.

You already know your chronological age, but do you know your fitness age?

A new study of fitness and lifespan suggests that a person’s so-called fitness age – determined primarily by a measure of cardiovascular endurance – is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age. The good news is that unlike your actual age, your fitness age can decrease.

The concept of fitness age has been developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, who have studied fitness and how it relates to wellness for years.

Fitness age is determined primarily by your VO2max, which is a measure of your body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen. VO2max indicates your current cardiovascular endurance.

It also can be used to compare your fitness with that of other people of the same age, providing you, in the process, with a personal fitness age. If your VO2max is below average for your age group, then your fitness age is older than your actual age. But if you compare well, you can actually turn back the clock to a younger fitness age. That means a 50-year-old man conceivably could have a fitness age between 30 and 75, depending on his VO2max.

Knowing your fitness age could be instructive and perhaps sobering, but it also necessitates knowing your VO2max first, which few of us do. Precise measurement of aerobic capacity requires high-tech treadmill testing.

To work around that problem, the Norwegian scientists decided several years ago to develop an easy method for estimating VO2max. They recruited almost 5,000 Norwegians between the ages of 20 and 90, measured their aerobic capacity with treadmill testing and also checked a variety of health parameters, including waist circumference, heart rate and exercise habits.

They then determined that those parameters could, if plugged into an algorithm, provide a very close approximation of someone’s VO2max.

But while fitness age may give you bragging rights about your youthful vigor, the real question is whether it is a meaningful measurement in terms of longevity. Will having a younger fitness age add years to your life? Does an advanced fitness age mean you will die sooner?

The original Norwegian data did not show any direct correlation between fitness age and a longer life.

But in a new study, which was published in June in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the scientists turned to a large trove of data about more than 55,000 Norwegian adults who had completed extensive health questionnaires beginning in the 1980s. The scientists used the volunteers’ answers to estimate each person’s VO2max and fitness age.

Then they checked death records.

It turned out that people whose calculated VO2max was 85 percent or more below the average for their age — meaning that their fitness age was significantly above their chronological years — had an 82 percent higher risk of dying prematurely than those whose fitness age was the same as or more youthful than their actual age. According to the study’s authors, the results suggest that fitness age may predict a person’s risk of early death better than some traditional risk factors like being overweight, having high cholesterol levels or blood pressure, and smoking.

Of perhaps even greater immediate interest, the scientists used the data from this new study to refine and expand an online calculator for determining fitness age. An updated version went live this month. it asks only a few simple questions, including your age, gender, waist size and exercise routine, before providing you with your current fitness age. (I discovered my own fitness age is 15 years younger than my chronological age — a good number but still not as low as I could wish.)

Thankfully, fitness age can be altered, said Ulrik Wisloff, professor at the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who led the study. His advice if your fitness age exceeds your chronological years or is not as low as you would like? “Just exercise.”

Dr. Wisloff and his colleagues offer free exercise suggestions on their website. But he said almost any type and amount of exercise should help to increase your VO2max and lower your fitness age, potentially increasing your lifespan.

In upcoming studies, he added, he and his colleagues will directly compare how well fitness age stacks up against other, more established measures of mortality risk, like the Framingham Risk Calculator (which does not include exercise habits among its variables). They also hope to expand their studies to include more types of participants, since adult Norwegians may not be representative of all of the world’s population.

But even in advance of this additional data, there is no harm in learning and lowering your fitness age, Dr. Wisloff advised. “There is a huge benefit,” he said, “larger than any known medical treatment, in improving your fitness level to what is expected for your age group or, even better, to above it.”


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