Since the age of 15, I have had this itch to travel and explore. Sadly enough, I have always been very clever to make excuses why not to do so. In spring 2012 I decided to resign from my full-time job and put all in for FSF. For the first time the conditions were better than ever before; I had been able to save for a rainy day and FSF allowed me to have geological freedom. I ran out of excuses. Somehow back then I already knew that this decision is something that I will be grateful for rest of my life.
Last night I calculated that I have spent over 1000 hours in various cafes, restaurants and coworking spaces in nine different countries. The location of my “office” and people around me (I actually do call them “co-workers”) have been changing daily. I’ve come across several inspirational creatives, entrepreneurs, old couples and even families who have made a total life change. They have moved their offices to various dream destinations, while concurrently flourishing their careers and taking care of their families.
But unlike my friends often think, I have not been merely lying on a beach and sipping on a coconut juice. In all honesty this has not been the reality at all. Yes, I do admit that this kind of luxury has been a regular activity in some destinations, but ultimately I haven’t found a way to dodge the daily hard work. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no way to make the whole experience more enjoyable. That’s why I wanted to write this blog post. Here’s my 6 tips to a teleworker.
1. See the difference between the backpacking and teleworking
Bangkok, Thailand 01/19/2013 – It’s almost midnight. For the whole evening some hostel guests have persuaded me to join their rooftop party. I have an important deadline to meet and the wireless internet connection works only in the lobby. Before this I’ve always regarded myself as a backpacker, but I think those times are now behind me.
I believe backpacking and teleworking often go hand in hand, but this may require you to find a proper balance and to compromise. Whatever happens, if you’re committed, make sure you meet the deadlines and walk the talk. The rule of thumb is to work wherever and whenever you want, but to get your work done. This way you earn your freedom. Quite often it requires sacrifices and saying no to tempting treks, hikes or rooftop parties. Before you leave home, ensure that you’re aware of the distinction between backpacking and teleworking. Once you’re ready to go, choose your destination wisely. If your work doesn’t require a reliable internet connection, don’t trouble yourself with it. If you need to be online, skip island hopping in the Philippines or working for NGO in rural Cambodia. Try to foresee options that provide a smoother ride.
2. Office location
Phnom Penh, Cambodia 12/27/2012 – I arrived this cafe around 8am and now It’s almost 9pm. The staff is curious and I think that by now they know more about me than most of my friends do. I took few days off from FSF Charity location and moved my office to the capital of Cambodia. Working here makes me wonder why I can get things done here more efficiently and with higher intention than in any other office ever.
You may not believe this, but working from a buzzing coffee shop can be less distracting than working from a calm office. Yes, at first it does sound counter-intuitive, but when you think about it there’s really no interruptions by officemates. Needless to say, a change of environment stimulates creativity. I believe that even changing the environment just for one day a week will bring new types of input, which stimulates creativity and inspiration. In my theory, people around you create positive pressure to push you to be more productive, instead of scrolling up and down Facebook status updates. Watch out as this stuff is addictive.
Tip: Even if you don’t listen to music bring a good pair of earphones. These will work as a sign saying “Don’t Disrupt Me”.
3. Remember to stop
Ubud, Bali, 09/12/2012 – Just a few weeks ago I was overspending my budget, rushing through dense cities in Japan and having hard time to meet my deadlines. I knew that I was eventually running out of the spark to travel if I continued like this. I even felt like going back home even though I would still have seven months to go. Here in Bali, I am ahead of deadlines, while meeting loads of energizing expatriates and entrepreneurs.
While planning my trip in Paris, Tero, who is now doing his second around the world trip, gave me a valid advice to stop every now and then. Obviously I blocked my ears and made a rookie mistake by planning an intense schedule. I also didn’t follow my budget. I had to put my travel plans aside and stop.
This suggestion led me to spend the most memorable time in Bali. During these six weeks I built two websites, edited two videos, read three books and still had tons of time to explore the breathtaking Bali and even myself. Once you’re familiar with the surroundings and you know how things work, your time can be allocated to more important things. Since then, I have stopped deliberately, e.g spending one week without clock, computer or any modern gadgets in Lake Toba, Indonesia. I have also participated in a meditation retreat in Cambodia.
4. Play with your work schedules
Pagudpud, Philippines 11/10/2012 – I must be in paradise. Locals call it Blue Lagoon. I’ve been surfing the whole morning, I just had lunch with a local student and soon I’m about to start my work. Makes me question the real reasons why so many people dislike Mondays.
Although most of my days I’ve been trying to follow the more traditional working hours, occasionally it’s just refreshing to forget the nine-to-five attitude and experiment with the schedule. Wake up early, leave your computer, and head off to enjoy the day. Follow your most efficient working hours and have a long break in the middle of the day. Or even work in one hour slots. Be curious, do a little self-observation to see what works, or just do it because you can!
5. Do your research
Hangzhou, China 05/27/2012 - I can’t access my email, Dropbox, Facebook or any other social media services. I should be the one taking care of our social media! I’m traveling with Mikko in mainland China and he seems to be doing just fine. I was aware of these challenges, but I couldn’t imagine how much adaptation all this requires.
There has been countless times when I have arrived to a new city just before having a Skype meeting, and found myself in the situation where I’ve been running around 3-4 internet cafes before finding even one reliable internet connection. To avoid this, do your research first and for example google the best local cafes near you. I always try to avoid large chains to stay away from paying extra fees or filling internet provider’s signup forms. If I’m in a rural area, I normally ask local teenagers where they go to watch Youtube clips and update their Facebook profiles. That has been working pretty well. But when the s**t hits the fan, breath in, breath out and be aware that you’re not home. Eazy!
6. Another type of “co-workers”
Tokyo, Japan 07/05/2012 – I could never believe that it’s so difficult to find a free wifi in Tokyo. The language barrier doesn’t make things easier at all. Thankfully I’m not the only one struggling. I got valuable advice from a Japanese entrepreneur to check this coworking space out. If FSF ever has an office in Japan, I’m quite sure the atmosphere will be like this.
One of the biggest fears most people encounter when they consider teleworking as an option is to be left alone, since there’s no one to reflect with and share daily ups and downs. All the major cities, even in Asia, are full of coworking spaces and coffee shops booked-up with people in front of their laptops. If you think about it, it resembles a party for singles. Most are eventually looking for someone to talk with, share their travel stories and pitch their current ideas. I myself am an introvert who generally needs that extra push to approach new people, yet still I have met people from diverse cultures and backgrounds every week. For example in the Philippines, I explained the essence of medicinal mushrooms to an old American entrepreneur, who was currently remotely consulting adventure sports businesses. In Cambodia, a young Thai web designer scrolled through our website and shared his ideas how to improve it. I reckon this kind of atmosphere would be difficult to achieve in a regular office environment.
Even though the last year has been by far the most memorable 12 months my life (so far) and that the teleworking seems to work very well for me, there’s nothing that beats seeing your business partners every now and then. Thanks guys
The guest blogger, Lauri Mäkikalli, is a student and tennis player from Wright State University.
Opening up Google maps and playing around with different travel itineraries has become one of my favorite pastime hobbies. I place my central to Ohio and start to look around. I realize South-America has been on my wish list already for a while. Eastern North-Africa doesn’t look to be too far. What about Cuba? Or Dominican Republic? Then I come up with a perfect road trip plan for Central America until I realize I have a month to learn the basics of Spanish. Even with my tight schedule and upcoming finals I think I can do it. But before I had even thought about pronouncing gato I find myself with a roundtrip ticket to somewhere else.
When I booked my flights to Hawaii in November I didn’t really know what to look for. Of course I had a vision of a beautiful sunset on a palm tree beach where Hula Hula girls would dance to traditional Hawaiian music. But that was all I knew about the islands that I counted to be eight in total. I had a three week break from school and an adventurous mind. On the 13th of December I packed my stuff and took off.
Let’s go farming!
I ended up visiting two of the islands. 3,4 million years old Oahu, being the third oldest island in Hawaii, was my first destination. I instantly fell in love with the scenery. If it was a day at the beach or a morning run in a park I would always find myself surrounded by green steep volcanoes. Flora and fauna are present whether you are in the middle of nowhere or in the heart of a city. But Hawaii is not just about natural beauty. Being isolated from the mainland U.S., having a fertile soil and an all year around tropical weather, Hawaii makes a perfect place for farming. I wanted to see this in practice.
The next day I found myself in the leeward Oahu close to the town of Waianae at Kahumana Farms. Not only was I able to enjoy their warm hospitality and delicious all-organic menu but also got an opportunity to get my hands dirty. I was happy to learn from the workers who were mostly volunteering via WWOOF, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. For those who are not familiar with the organization it is basically a way for farmers and volunteers to connect with each others. For the work a volunteer puts in he/she in turn usually gets education about organic farming, some food and a place to stay from the farmer.
I spent some time with Todd from Austin, Texas, who by the time had been in Hawaii for a month as a wwoofer. Kahumana was the second farm he was volunteering at, spending the first month of his stay on the Big Island, known for great farming conditions. Many wwoofers usually work at several farms, so that they will see how things are done differently elsewhere and with different crops. As an avid food lover Todd said wwoofing greatly helped him to learn more about sustainability and convinced him to follow his fathers foot steps as an organic farmer. Todd taught me to do seeding and I quickly learned ways how to grow herbs and plants in your own garden. However, out of all the wwoofers I met during my trip Todd was actually the only person who dreamed of becoming a farmer. The wonderful thing about wwoofing is that you meet similar minded people from all over the world who can be from very different backgrounds, not often related to agriculture. As I personally signed up on the last minute I didn’t end up getting many offers from farmers via WWOOF. Just going to the farm and introducing yourself is another way.
Discovering Maui’s health food scene
After four well eaten days at the farm I took a short flight to the island of Maui where I enjoyed the rest of my stay. In two weeks I was able to tour the whole island and experience its beauty. Even though Hawaii has many great local and organic food store chains like Whole Foods and Down to Earth, my personal and ultimate favorite is located in a small town of Paia. The place is called ”Mana” and it offers everything like Whole Foods and Down to Earth: Delicious delis with hot food and salad bars, a great variety of local fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, cheese and meats, and a superfood section filled with everything from the best products on the market to their local equivalents. The difference between Mana and other health food stores in Hawaii is that you can find some of the organic choices from Mana for cheaper than the conventional ones at a nearby supermarket. As a new local friend of mine aptly put it, ”Mana is like Whole Foods on steroids”.
As available, I decided to try locally grown Noni and Spirulina in powders which I mixed with my morning juices. Being a coconut lover I was also happy to find coconut juice from all little food shops and gas stations in case fresh coconuts weren’t accessible. These three things with a natural daily dosage of vitamin D really made an impact on my skin condition. When it came to longer hikes and runs I got all the energy and nutrients I needed from cacao, hempseeds and FSF-Instants, not forgetting the mighty coconut water for hydration and replenishing electrolytes.
Living life in harmony with the nature
After spending three weeks on these two islands and having a few talks and chats with local people, I realized that Hawaiians truly understand the vulnerability of their beautiful islands. Sustainability is present in Hawaiian food culture but visible also in the scenery where numerous roofs are covered in solar panels and windmills line up on the hills. From local farmers markets you will leave either with a paper bag or one of your own. Many of these examples are enforced with laws and incentives like the plastic bag ban by the Maui County.
As I only experienced the two most visited Hawaiian islands the next time I’m planning to explore the more exotic ones. I recommend visiting Hawaii for everyone at least once in their lifetime. With its loving people, beautiful nature, and local food Hawaii is able to nurture your soul, mind and body all at the same time. One thing is for sure: Wherever there you end up going you will love it.
TOP 3 Oahu and Maui:
1. Visit local farmers markets and health food stores – they are never too far away
2. Try local superfoods, fruits and fish and you will be surprised by the quality and freshness
3. Enjoy the natural beauty your favorite way
As I mentioned in my earlier blog, there are tens of different kinds of detox diets, however, the foods that are allowed are often quite similar, unless it is a juice fast. I am myself a great advocate of a holistic and gentle detox. This is also safest and it can be done without the need to retreat from your daily activities – work, studies, childcare… It is also a great way of intoducing some new, life-long healthy eating habits for yourself and also say hasta la vista to some food addicitions you might have.
What I have found beneficial for many of my clients is following a hypoallergenic diet. This is a dietary program based on removing all the foods from our diet that are known to cause food allergies, food sensitivities, and cause disruptions in the digestive process. When we generate allergic responses to foods, our body is consuming energy that could be used to detox and repair functions, or simply contribute to our sense of alertness and physical strength. The first few days may be the hardest. Breaking habits is difficult at all levels.
If there are chocolate biscuits in the cupboard or some chilled Chardonnay in the fridge, the chances are you’ll succumb during a weak moment and break your detox. Clear out ‘banned’ foods, give them away to friends or family, and replace with delicious detox foods to give you the best chance of success. By removing most allergen-causing foods, whether you are known to be allergic to them or not, helps to relieve the burden on the immune and digestive system. Many times we are unaware of the affects of certain foods (i.e. dairy and gluten) because we eat them often. Sometimes symptoms do not manifest for 24 hours or more after a food is eaten. For example, having dairy or gluten for breakfast and dinner may mask the actual effects of these foods. By following the Elimination Diet or the cleanses for 21 days, your system will be in a good place to reintroduce non-elimination foods and to see how they effect you.
Foods to avoid
• Wheat products: including bread, wheat-based breakfast cereals, pasta, flour, noodles (except rice noodles), couscous, cakes, biscuits and pizza. Very common allergens (especially gluten).
• Processed foods: including ready meals, ready-made sauces, condiments, stock cubes (unless organic), potato crisps, desserts, spreads, and anything that contains artificial additives.
• Dairy products: such as milk, cow’s cheese, cream, butter and normal, sugary, non-live yoghurt. These are higly mucus forming, very common allergens and acidic to the body.
• Red meat, and preferably also non-organic poultry and non-organic or non-wild fish (prefer cold-water fish). Highly acidic to the body and taxing on all organs, especially detox organs. High use of hormones and antibiotics in animals raised for meat that are very harmful to humans.
• Seafood: prawns, oysters, lobster, clams, octopus etc. These have risk of parasites and heavy metal contamination.
• Soy products: Very common allergen, often genetically modified, and disrupts hormones in both males and females. Avoid tofu, soymilk, edamame, soy-based ice-creams, soy-sauce.
• Corn: Common allergen. Often genetically modified. High in sugar, spikes insulin levels, high on the glycemic index.
• Nightshades: Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and sweet peppers are part of the nightshade family. Nightshades are often rich in alkaloids that can be mildly toxic to a fair number of people. They are thought to potentially decrease digestion and increase inflammation in the body.
• Grapefruit: This fruit has been known to block certain enzyme processes in the body.
• Citrus: All citrus is removed from the cleanse because of its allergenic quality. Except for lemons and limes which are alkalizing and detoxifying and therefore wonderful on the cleanse.
• Bananas: This fruit is very starchy, and very sugary. Many people normally use bananas in their shakes and smoothies. Instead, try using berries, nut milks, and a scoop of coconut oil or an avocado to create a similar consistency.
• Caffeine: including black or green tea, coffee, chocolate, colas and other fizzy drinks, as well as painkillers. Highly acidic and taxing to detox organs (liver and kidneys), dehydrating and a stimulant that forces surges of adrenaline and puts us in fight or flight mode unnecessarily. Addictive and disrupts natural rhythms in the body (sleep, hormones, etc.).
• Sugars: including sweets, squashes, cordials and any juices except freshly squeezed.
• Artificial sweeteners: provides a false sense of energy without any nutrients, which leads to a crash, food cravings, weight gain and a list of unpleasant side effects since they are chemicals and toxic to the body.
Foods to include
• Fresh or frozen fruits (no banana or citrus, except for lemons and limes)
• Dried fruit – unsweetened, and organic, in limited amounts, such as cranberries, dates, raisins, goji berries
• Vegetables thought to be particularly good detox foods include broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, onions, garlic, artichokes, beets, and dark leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and swiss chard
• Sea vegetables, including kelp, nori sheets, wakame
• Rice, especially brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, oats (note: whole grains are preferred, but products made from the above may be allowed, such as brown rice pasta, pure buckwheat noodles, rice crackers, and bread)
• Split yellow and green peas, lentils, adzuki beans
• Almonds, walnuts, seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut, especially young coconuts, tahini, nut and butters made only with allowed ingredients
• Cold-pressed, extra-virgin oils; alond, chia, olive, avocado, coconut
• Rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, coconut milk – except canned coconut milk, water, herbal teas, lemon water
• Erythritol, stevia, real maple syrup, raw honey, black strap molasses
• Apple cider vinegar, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
• Organic free-range chicken and turkey, wild or organic (cold-water) fish, organic eggs (unless you are intolerant)
• Liver healers: ulphur-rich foods, such as garlic, onions, eggs and red peppers, help the liver to eliminate toxins in a process called sulphation. In Asian restaurants, you may be served a long, white radish called a Daikon after eating particularly fatty foods, because its high sulphur content helps the body to metabolize and digest fats. Certain other foods, some of which are listed below, are powerful liver healers because they contain key ingredients, and these should all be part of your detox programme. There are also a number of herbal supplements that boost liver function and will aid an effective detox. • Artichoke hearts, asparagus, beetroot, dandelion roots, lemons & limes, B vitamin rich foods such as pulses, such as oats, millet, chickpeas and brown rice, magnesium rich dark green, leafy foods, turmeric, live yoghurt
When planning meals, it is useful to think about food combining as well. In its simplest form this means:
• Do not eat starches (grains and starchy veggies) and protein at the same time
• Combine protein with vegetables
• Combine starches with vegetables
• Eat fruits separately from other meals (not as dessert either!)
This will ease the job of your digestive system, as many foods require different enzymes to be broken down, and therefore, if eaten at the same time, they confuse the digestive system. Remember also to chew your food well and not drink when eating. Drinking with the meals dilute the digestive juices in your stomach and can cause insufficient food break-down. If you even after follwoing these guidelines still feel that your digestion does not work well, it is useful to consider taking a good quality digestive enzyme supplement. My favorite brands are Enzyscience and Enzymedica.
Even though it is not recommended to drink with meals, drinking between the meals is essential. You can drink any herbal teas you fancy on a detox, but the ones featured here have special benefits to help cleanse the system. Many of the tea manufacturers now make their own ‘Detox’ or ‘Cleansing’ brands, which often contain a mixture of useful ingredients, but always buy organic teas if you can.
• Nettle tea is a diuretic, meaning it helps your body excrete water, so it will flush out your toxins more quickly.
• Milk thistle tea contains silymarin which makes the liver less susceptible to toxin damage and increases its production of glutathione.
• Red sorrel tea is a terrific liver and gall bladder cleanser, and a recent study has indicated that it decreases the blood triglyceride levels (high levels are associated with heart disease and diabetes).
• Dandelion leaf tea has a diuretic action, while dandelion root coffee is an effective detox aid, stimulating the flow of bile so that more toxins are eliminated through the bowels.
• Rooibos (or Red Bush) tea helps you to shed toxins through sweat, can relieve bloating and aid the digestive process. It also claimed to reduce the effects of ageing, keep skin, teeth and bones healthy, and it can aid sleep.
• Chamomile tea is calming, soporific and can help to relieve mild headaches.
• Lemon balm helps with depression and anxiety.
• Spearmint and peppermint tea both aid digestion.
• Fennel tea stimulates the liver
• Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane infusions are wonderful for energizing and aiding in toxic removal.
Hope you have a successful journey into detox and cleaner, heathier you – and the planet!
After reading my earlier parts of the Detox blog series you know are probably eager to get your body a good cleanse and the best possibilities to function as it should without the huge load of unnecessary substances that may keep you away from being energetic, healthy and the best version of yourself.
As mentioned in my earlier blogs, the fastes cleanse may not be the best. In fact, even though some poeple are even waiting for to get some detox symptoms, the best detox do not feel anything, but you notice little by little great things happening, such as skin getting heatlhier, hair more glowing and energy levels peaking up. So even though in some cases, specifically after heavy exposure to toxins, medications or when the seasons change, special individualized detox programs are useful, I am still a strong fan of what I call a detox lifestyle. That means that you make daily such choices that enhance your body’s ability to cleanse itself and also that do not unnecessarily put further burden on your beautiful body.
How to begin?
First, lighten up your toxin load. Eliminate at least the following:
• refined sugars
• saturated fats
• processed foods (in my blog part 4 I will go deeper to which foods to include in your diet)
• some people also want to avoid the foods that many people are intolerant to even withouth knowing it: wheat, dairy, corn, soy and gluten
These are all treated as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. Also, minimize use of synthetic, toxic household cleaners and cosmetics. Swap these to organic or natural cosmetics (whoo – women! This is a wonderful excuse to start trying different new beauty products in organic section :)). Remember also change your toothpaste, deodorant and hair care products into organic ones. One important thing to get rid of too is stress, which triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Try yoga, qigong, meditation (which can take various forms depending on the individual preferences) and NLP. These are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.
Which detox program is best for you?
There are huge amount of different detox programs and recipes which you can use depending on your individual needs. I would recommend going easy first and avoiding fasts if you are a first-timer. Also, try to motivate yourself to a programme that lasts at least 7 days, preferrably 10-21 days. Some programs include supplements, herbs, excercise and other practises such as dry-skin brushing, hydrotherapy and massage to further support the elimination of toxins.
Popular detox diets are:
Inside Out Diet: Liver Cleansing
A 4-week program that concentrates on promoting optimal liver function by adjusting the diet to support liver cleansing and detoxification.
The Clean Diet
The Clean Program is a 21-day detox diet that was designed by Dr Alejandro Junger, for those who have a busy lifestyle.
Clean Green and Lean
A 4-week plan to help dieters to eliminate toxins that may be preventing them from losing weight. This program will help you to overcome chronic health problems such as allergies and fatigue and boost your energy, while at the same time helping to create a greener planet.
Eating For Energy: Living Foods Diet
A diet program based on living plant-based foods in a flexible format that allows dieters to gradually change their way of eating. It has unique information that applies specifically to athletes and physically active dieter as well as a Detox componant.
Green Smoothies Diet
Provides several detox recipes as well as the incorporation of green smoothies into regular diet.
Liver Cleansing Diet
A bestseller since 1997, Dr Cabot attributes many health conditions to poor liver function.
A program created by the New York Times bestselling author, Kathy Freston and includes the 21-day detox diet that was followed by Oprah.
Raw Food Detox Diet
Gradually incorporates raw foods into diet and promotes detox.
Swiss Secret to Optimal Health
A detox, weight loss and chronic health condition plan for ultimate health.
You Are What You Eat
Gillian McKeith’s plan for healthy eating with a detox component.
9 easy ways to help your body to cleanse
Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.
Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
Take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
Drink at least 2 litres of fresh water daily.
Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
Transform stress by emphasizing positive emotions.
Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
Sweat in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.
Dry-brush your skin to stuínulate the lymphatic flow and blood circulation. Special brushes are available at natural products stores.
In my next and last blog you will hear more about the following:
Food and nutrients
• Hypoallergenic diet
• Preferrable detox foods list
• Food combining for optimal digestion
• Probiotics & Enzymes
Jessica Bourke took an indirect route into the health industry. Twelve years ago, her uncle, who was working as a finance trader in the USA, attended an interesting lecture about the impact of a healthy diet and lifestyle on mental performance. He relayed what he had learnt to Jessica, who was completing the second year of her Law degree. Jessica was so fascinated by what she heard that she decided to begin studying acupuncture, while simultaneously finishing her Law degree. Upon its completion, she flew to China to undertake post-graduate advanced acupuncture training in the 6th Peoples Hospital in Shanghai. Later that year, she opened her private practice in Ireland and attained her qualification in nutrition shortly thereafter.
Jessica has always been interested in reproductive health even though as a mother of two children she never had any fertility issues herself. In her clinical practice, Jessica consults with male and female clients who are trying to conceive. She continues to treat women throughout their pregnancies working closely with other fertility professionals.
What would be a typical patient attending your clinic?
“Probably a 35 year old woman who is suffering from primary infertility, meaning she has never been pregnant despite trying for several years. Increasingly, I am also seeing women with secondary infertility, who may have had success first time around but are having serious difficulty conceiving again. This is often down to hormonal imbalance or nutritional deficiencies that were a sub-clinical issue on their first pregnancy but became clearly evident in the post-natal period. A good example of this would be Hypothyroidism, which is extremely common in Ireland”, Jessica explains.
Jessica suggests that the main issue for women with fertility issues is often hormonal imbalance.
“The Endocrine (hormonal) system is extremely complex and a slight imbalance in one Endocrine organ may have a knock-on effect elsewhere in the body. E.g. the adrenal glands, impacting sex hormone production. Naturally diet, lifestyle issues, and stress make their mark as well. When we are stressed our body uses up our nutrient reserves, and favours survival, instead of producing adequate amounts of the sex hormones. There are also plenty of people with nutritional deficiencies, for instance of vitamin D due to lack of sunlight exposure”.
Infertility is often viewed as a taboo topic. According to Jessica that is unfortunately true in spite of how common fertility issues have become.
“It is now estimated that one out of six couples can’t get pregnant and this number is expected to increase. One reason for these statistics may be due to increasing awareness about fertility issues and women are seeking out help, rather than suffering in silence. On the other hand, the average age of a woman having her first baby is now 31-32 years, where as thirty years ago, most women were conceiving in their twenties. However, I don’t believe age has to be the defining aspect of a woman’s fertility, particularly if she is in good health”, she clarifies.
The move towards natural home births
Natural home births have become more popular lately, and this has led to heated debates about its advantages and disadvantages. Some say it’s necessary to give birth in the hospital in case of complications, others say that many complications occur because of medical interventions within the hospital environment. Jessica planned to have both her children at home. With the birth of her daughter, the midwives noticed some meconium (a sign that the baby may be in distress) so she was transferred in to hospital to give birth there. Jessica was more than happy to do this as her primary concern was the health and safety of her baby. The delivery was straightforward and without any need for an epidural.
Second time around with her son, everything went smoothly and she was able to give birth to her son naturally at home.
“It is clear from the scientific literature that the more medical interventions that arise during the labour, the more complicated the process becomes, which can leave women feeling out of control of the situation. During the economic downturn, financial constraints led to an increase in the number of women availing of home birth options, particularly for second-time mothers and the reports on their experiences have been overwhelmingly positive”.
One of the advantages of a home birth is faster recovery for the mother. A mother’s health before and during her pregnancy can hugely influence her child’s health.
“For me personally, I wanted to avoid the use of medication unless absolutely necessary and to be in the comfortable environment of my own home whilst having my baby. My second labour lasted 3 hours from start to finish, so by the time my daughter came home from Montessori she found she had a little brother. My recovery was very fast, I was up and about the next day and felt myself again by day four. My midwives were somewhat baffled by this and kept asking me what I ate and how much I exercised, they even asked to take a look in my fridge”, Jessica laughs.
Breast-feeding is an important factor for children’s health and the mother-baby -relationship.
“Over 99% of the children in Norway are breastfed. In Ireland babies are often weaned off the breast within the first few months. My attending midwives, who visited the Norwegian facilities, believe the uptake of breast-feeding over there is so high because the hospitals have adjoining buildings where you can have babies in a natural environment that is designed to feel like a mother’s own home. This may be why mothers find it easier to breastfeed, as stress certainly doesn’t help”, she suggests.
Most of us are aware that diet during pregnancy is important for the developing baby. But alcohol and caffeine are not the only things that should be off the menu.
“If a mother eats high-fat, sugary food during pregnancy, there is evidence that she may be predisposing her future child to certain food cravings and a tendency to put on weight easily. Every mother has a huge responsibility for the health of their child and the time to make changes is well in advance of conception, ideally 4-6 months beforehand”.
Many people are wondering what nutrition to give their young children. What recommendations would you have?
“Nutrition is an important issue with kids. What I have noticed is that my children are almost never sick. I breastfed both children until 2 years old. Our whole family is vegetarian, and we don’t eat any processed sugars, dairy and only small amounts of wheat. It is an interesting fact that within two hours of eating processed sugar, our white blood cell activity is reduced by up to 50%, making it easier for viruses to take hold. We would generally eat a high fibre diet that includes a lot of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. Studies show that we should be eating 9-13 vegetables a day for optimal health, the old ‘five a day’ rule is actually a minimum, rather than an optimum daily amount”, Jessica informs us.
Environmental issues hindering sperm quality
Many men are uneasy about the idea of influencing the quality of their sperm, even though there are many things that may be done to improve it.
“It takes approximately 74 days to synthesize the sperm from start to finish. It’s important that there is a high sperm count, with plenty of progressive ‘swimmers’. The shape and DNA integrity of the sperm are also crucial. According to the literature, higher doses of certain antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C and E may help”, Jessica indicates.
Apart from nutrient intake, men can do plenty other things as well.
“There have been several studies showing that keeping mobile phones in the trouser pockets and sitting computers on their lap, may negatively influence the quality of the sperm and thus fertility. I’ve even had to tell a few cyclists to give up their hobby as the cycling is impeding the blood circulation to the perineal area, thus affecting sperm health. Men should also avoid synthetic materials like plastic while warming up food or drinking hot beverages due to the presence of damaging xeno-oestrogens”.
When it comes to the use of natural herbal remedies, some of them may be effective but their use has been prohibited.
“Natural herbs are often very useful, but unfortunately many herbs that had been used safely for decades have now been banned by the European Commission. Maca is one of the most popular herbs used to increase stamina and infertility due to its adaptogenic effects. The good news is that there are plenty good quality food products that impact fertility and I would recommend medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps, reishi and chaga that have wonderful, immune enhancing properties”, she advices.
Blue or the red pill?
Earlier this year Jessica wrote a cook book together with her brother Jordan Bourke, who is a chef and food stylist, based in London.
“Our aim in writing this book was to prove once and for all that healthy food does not have to be bland and tasteless. All of our recipes are sugar, wheat and dairy free, yet still indulgent enough to be served at a dinner party”, she explains enthusiastically.
Jessica’s opinion is that we have the health information available to us, and it’s just a matter of choice.
“It’s like in the movie, ‘The Matrix’, when Neo had to make a decision between the blue or the red pill. What’s stopping us from living our healthiest life? Why not make changes now to reduce the risk of developing cancer or heart disease in our 50s? I have noticed that people are becoming ill at a much younger age than before. For instance cancers that only used to be a problem for people in their 50-60s are now affecting 30-40 year olds. If we each assume responsibility for our health then hopefully the future will a lot brighter, for ourselves and the precious, next generation ”, Jessica concludes.
In the first part of my Detox blog series, I explained the basic principles of detox, its importance and how our magnificent bodies are actually designed to purify itself from all kinds of toxins and unnecessary substances. But what are these substances and where they come from?
Many times people think that toxins are just a burden of the modern world. However, toxins has always been there – even at the stone age! However, what has radically changed since then, is the amount of different kinds of toxins and there is no place in our lives where we would not encounter toxins. Worldwide, exposure to chemical pollutants continues to increase, resulting in increased contamination of air, water and food supply. In addition, we are exposed to toxins when using cosmetics, cooking food, or even when receiving medical care. Unless we are aware of where and what the toxins in our lives might be, we cannot avoid them.
Even if you would live in the cleanliest place at the Himalayas and breathed the pure air, ate pure food and would not use cosmetics, your body would still be exposed to toxins. Why? Because toxins are produced internally in the body all the time. These are natural byproducts of normal physiological processes like metabolism, which the body’s natural detoxification system is designed to handle. However, these cleansing processes are fragile, and can be overwhelmed by the excess of internal toxins. This can happen when antibiotics kills the friendly bacteria in the gut and therefore allow unfriendly microbes to profilirate.
Other toxins produced in the body include:
• metabolic waste
• uric acid
• hormones (too low or high secretion; including thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, insulin etc)
• neurotransmitter imbalances
• acid/ alcaline balance in respiratory (lungs) and metabolic systems as well as connective tissues
• lactic acid
• free radicals
• toxins produced by mind and spirit (unresolved trauma, abuse, unhappy relationships, stress)
Even though your body produces toxins all the time, you can also somewhat control of the amount it does so through your lifestyle habits. Selecting foods that your hormones love and which does not produce much metabolic waste, excercising intensively but also remembering to rest, and paying attention to the consmetic you use and materials you use at home, can have a great impact on your wellbeing and body’s capability to cleanse itself.
External toxins are toxins to which we are exposed in our everyday living. Indoor and outdoor pollution, toxic metals, xenobiotics (chemicals foreign to the body) and poisons produced by plants and microorganisms are all toxins. Normally we all try to minimize our exposure to these toxins; nobody deliberately drinks contaminated water. However, many times in the modern society the toxins are hidden so cleverly that we unknowingly consume them.
Maybe the greatest amount of control you can have over external toxins are related to food. You decide what goes into your mouth. So skipping packaged foods and beverages, tobacco (and alcohol except when used in moderation), pharmaceutical drugs, recreational drugs can already reduce your body’s toxic load extensively. Also, one of the easiest ways to love your body is to choose organic cosmetics and hygiene products as many toxic substances in commercial non-organic cosmetics, such as phatalates can be absobed through the skin and cause harm for the hormonal balances, intestines and add burden to liver and kidneys.
Sources of external toxins include:
• Food (chemical contamination, pesicides, fertilizers, hormones and drugs in livestock, industrial chemicals eg in the fish, toxic metals eg in flax seeds, microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mycotoxins produced by molds, food spoilage, additives, food colors, excitotoxins which can cause severe neurological disorders etc, preservatives, food packacing materials,genetically modified foods and food allergies)
• Air (outdoor pollution, indoor pollution cause by building materials, inhalans and human activities such as usage of deodorizes, fabric softners, photocopiers, electronics etc)
• Plants and microorganisms such as fungi and molds
• Chemicals and metals
• Noise, wheather and altitude (because high altitude can adversily affect the body, it can be considered as toxin; think about mountain sickness. Likewise Seasonal Affecitve Disorder Syndrome, SADS, is believed to be a symptom of some imbalance in bodily functions that grey and short days can cause in some people)
• Radiation, electromagnetic fields and geopathic stress
Where does the toxins lurk around?
As I mentioned, toxics are produced by the body but we are also living in the sea of toxins. Here are some things to be considered, through which you can reduce the toxic load of your body. The list might be scary, however, remember that your body is like a boat in this sea of toxins. If the boat is trustworthy, it can carry a specified load without problem and it can process a certain amount of toxins without any apparent problem. But no boat can keep afloat if it is simply overloaded. So be aware of these sources of toxins and minimise your exposure to the level your body can handle. Your body will thank you and at the same time you can join other people to build a healthier living environment. Life can become very rewarding when your concern for personal health starts to extend towards positive action for the health of our communities and planet. It’s certainly more fulfilling than junk food!
Home: Building materials (asbestos in walls, formaldehyde in wooden building materials such as paneling and plywood, newspapers, paper grocery bags and personal care products, heaters especially kerosene space heaters, carpeting, cleaning and laundry supplies, candles, cooking, pets, molds, household dust, yard chemicals and fertilizers…)
Workplace and school: occupational exposure different chemicals (think about barbers, hairdressers, medical care specialists, firefighters, automotive industry, construction workers, mining industry, dry-cleaners etc), exposure at the school and office to eg same things as at home but also to larger extend to electromagnetic fields
Hobbies and activities: indoor air pollution in gyms, tennis halls etc, and in hobbies such as boating, skiing, racing, cycling and camping you might get exposed to outdoor pollution (in larger extend when doing sports in the rush hour and when breathing through the mouth), chemicals, fumes, noise pollution, campfire smoke, insect repellents etc.
Air travel: air quality in the craft, bacteria, viruses, radiation, illness and jet lag
Medical treatment: hospital exposures, surgery, deficient diets, radiation treatments, medications, vaccinations, dental restorations
In the next blog:
Blog 3: Detox in practise
• Different detox diets
• Diet or a lifestyle?
• Ways of detoxification: saunas, baths and hydrotherapy, nutrients, diet, fasting and juicing, excersise, breathing and oxygen, homeopathy, chelation, bach flower essences, herbs and armoatherapy, topical detoxification, organ cleansing, energy balancing, detox for mind and spirit
• Where to begin?
• 10 easy ways to detox your body
• Sample day (activities and food)
Cover image: Jiang Long
What is Detox and Cleansing of Body?
Do you feel sluggish or out of sync? Do you have skin problems, aches and pains, or does your digestive system feel uncooperative? Are you lost in the wild jungle of different diets, trying to find the optimal one for your own body? Have you lost weight recently (or planning to) but found it difficult to continue the ripping off the fat tissue? What you might need is to cleanse your body beautiful and to reveal the inner, healthier You.
Cleansing and detox has been practiced for centuries by many cultures around the world — including ayurvedic and traditional chinese medicine practices. Today, detox is one of the main pillars of naturopathic practices and healing. Even though detox is not a weight-loss diet, a good and safe weight-loss should ALWAYS start with cleansing first. Why? I will explain that to you in later blogs!
So what is detox really? Briefly, it is a natural process of a human body. Our beautiful bodies have been designed to eliminate toxins every day, every minute, every second! However, what makes detoxification so important in today’s world, are all the nasties lurking around in our modern world and our repeated exposure to toxins in food (colours, additives, preservatives, pesticides, hormone and antibiotic residues etc), cosmetics, air pollution, toxins from building materials, medical procedures – the list is HUGE – all of which interfere with the body’s regular cleansing function!
All the toxins above are classified as ”external toxins”, but body also produces toxins internally all the time in the form of hormones and metabolic waste – as a natural process. If the amount of toxins exceeds the capacity what the cleansing organs can handle, they start to cumulate in the body’s tissues and organs and detoriorate health – and beauty – in many ways.
How do I know if I need to detox and what are the results to expect?
Almost eveyone needs to detox and rest their body from time to time. Some of us need to do that more frequently than others; it really depends on your lifestyle, the place where you live and your body’s capacity. A regular, balanced diet, full of nutrient dense foods, doesn’t require intensive detoxification. Also, using natural house cleaning products, organic cosmetics and excercing frequently, but not excessively, reduces the need for ”radical” detoxification.
Many times symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, sluggish elimination, irritated skin, allergies, or low-grade infections; bags under the eyes; a distended stomach even if the rest of your body is thin; menstrual difficulties; or mental confusion can be your body’s signs that it’s cleansing system needs some care and attention. After all, detox is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can protect you from diseases and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.
What can you then expect after detox…
• better mood
• reduced pains in muscles and joints
• shinier hair, white eye balls, healthier nails and glowing skin
• reduced cravings for unhealthy foods
• more energy
• better quality of sleep
• better concentration
• weight-gain or loss depending on what is your biological ideal weight
• less cellulite
The benefits are endless! Just wait till you see! Whatever your current state of health is, or whatever you have done in the past which shouldn’t be done, you can certainly feel better tomorrow than today if you take the right action. When gently done, detox is recommended for everyone. However, nursing mothers, children, and patients with chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis should be cautious. Consult your health care practitioner if you have questions whether detoxing is right for you.
How does detoxification work?
A detox program is not a miracle diet. The point of a body cleanse is not forcing the body to unload toxins miraculously or rapidly – in fact, juice fasts or other ”miracle detox diets” can be very detrimental to your health. Real and lasting detox and body cleansing does not come in a pill or a foot pad; real and lasting detoxification is the result of a long term change in awareness, choices and lifestyle.
As mentioned before, our body is designed to get rid of unwanted waste. This is done through VERY complex process, however, I don’t want to get into too much detail here. If you are interested in hearing more about detoxification process, please contact me directly. The detox process is divided in two main phases. In phase 1 the liver transforms the fat-soluble toxins to water-soluble so that they can be handled by kidneys and excreted in urine or through intestines and feces. Also lungs and skin assist in cleansing process.
There are also minor routes of excretion of toxins such as hair, fingernails and toenails, sweat, tears and breast milk. What needs to be noticed, however, is that where blood sample is an indicator of recent exposures to toxic substances, hair analysis is indicative of chronic,long-term exposure. Breast milk is of particular importance; because of its fat content of 3-5% many fat-soluble toxins can be excreted into it and finally to baby’s mouth.
What are the elements that affect the ability of the body to cleanse itself?
People are not equal in terms of their susceptibility to adverse effects of toxins. A person’s ability to detoxify naturally varies with age, gender, health status, genetic factors, enzyme metabolism, nutritional status and lifestyle factors.
Although infants have detoxification enzymes at birth, their detoxification rate is slower than adults, causing them to be wasily affected by toxins. Children also breath faster than adults and also mainly through the mouth, so that the air bypasses the nasal passages, which could filter some of the particulate matter. Females are more sensitive to toxins than males because they have more adipose (fatty) tissue and thus more fat cells in which fat-soluble toxins can be stored. They also have lower levels of certain enzymes, such as anzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, and thus are less able to detoxify alcohol. Women also have higher levels of estrogen hormones and progesterone, which causes them to sencitize more easily, as some detoxification enzymes are particularly sensitive to hormones. Lack of excersise, nutrient-deficient diet, drugs, smoking, alcohol, chemicals in personal care, cleaning and laundry products are all things that burden the body’s cleansing ability.
The good news is that most of the things that burden your body are also things that you can take control over. So the new, healthier, more glowing you is in your own hands! Just give it a chance and ”re-program” your body to its natural, healthy state through a detox lifestyle (or program to begin with). From the following blogs you will get a lot of information on the toxins, different detox programs and detox in practise. Welcome to join me!
In the next blog:
Blog 2: The toxins
• What are the toxins and where do they come from?
• Toxins at home, workplace and school, leisure activities and travel, medical treatments
• External toxins: food, drinks and water, food preparation and storage, plastics, cosmetics and household cleansers, air, pants and organisms, noise, radiation, electromagnetic fields, medical treatment
• Toxins produced by human body: metabolic waste products, neurotransmitter imbalances, acid-alkaline balance, lactic acid balance, free radicals, toxins of mind and spirit
Officially FSF started around a year ago and we are still a very young and small company. Although young and small, we are growing and evolving on every front – as we speak FSF has three full-time entrepreneurs (Markus, Tero, Mikko), portfolio consists of 17 products, most of which are been sold in brick and mortar on 7 markets globally. Our customers come from more than 20 different countries. Every day we try to innovate, educate and create more value for our tribe, and every day we try to be better what we were the day before. We recognize that it’s not all about business and that is why we have chosen for example to integrate charity work into the DNA of Four Sigma Foods. We are serious about democratizing superfoods, but otherwise we take it EAZY!
However, there is only so much time and more things we want to accomplish. We want to create even more value and do even more good, and therefore getting little help from like-minded people would be awesome. If you feel like our values are aligned with yours, and you would like to be a part of FSF in one way or another, please keep reading.
There are several different things we can do together:
Click a link to read detailed description of a given topic
If you know anyone who is interested in doing one or more of above things together with FSF, we would appreciate a lot if you could pass this blog post on to those people.
Have you ever tried to put words on a special occasion or a stunning landscape seen while traveling without being able to recreate similar settings? Describing tricking gives the very same, banal outcome. The only exclusive way to capture the essence of this sport is either to see it live or flip through captivating videos on YouTube. Broadly speaking tricking is a combination of gymnastics, martial arts and Capoeira with an intention to be aesthetically pleasing. In reality, it’s much more.
FSF had the pleasure to talk to one of the biggest names in the trickster world, Vellu Saarela. Despite his young age, Vellu’s track record talks by itself. He won Big Trick events both in 2009 and 2011 in Cologne, Germany not to mention that he’s one the first people in the world to have landed a triple cork. His YouTube videos get hundreds of thousands of views, and the fame is increasing.
Vellu emits positive spirit and passion towards tricking. This fellow doesn’t just take it as given, but is making his own, unique tricking style.
From the backyard cartwheel to global battles
A few weeks ago, Vellu returned from U.S, where he took part in Tru Trickz Tricking World Championship. What’s your overall feeling about the trip?
In Las Vegas over the weekend I was privileged to train and compete with some of the world’s best trickers. San Jose was more relaxed, having fun, teaching and training with old friends. I definitely had great time in both places and needless to say, learned a lot. The whole trip was a superb experience.
Photo: Heikki Järvinen
So let’s go back to when everything got started. In 2005, Vellu stumbled on tricking when his neighbor showed a tricking video. Next day he found himself learning how to cartwheel at his backyard. Before getting into tricking, had you done any gymnastics or martial arts?
Yes, I did little bit of gymnastics when I started, because that was the only way to get to train at the local gym. Mostly I learned on my own and by the help of other trickers. I used to spend hours and hours watching footage of “the pros” frame by frame and then tried to imitate their moves.
At that time, what was the source of information?
It was, and actually still is, Internet. Back in those days there were three main tricking sites: bilang.com for tricking videos and trickstutorials.com for tutorials, videos and information about tricking.
Nowadays trickstutorials is still a good place for beginners. Naturally, YouTube is full of tutorials and tricking samplers.
You’ve 7 years of training experience behind. Can you elaborate some individual ups of your career?
Year 2009 was a good year for sure. I was training a lot and progressing rapidly. Heikki from Unito edited a breakthrough sampler for me “Vellu – Summer 2009″. That was a turning point after I really started to get invitations to travel to different places to teach and trick. In December 2009 I won The Big Trick 5 battles in Cologne, Germany.
Personal highlights have been meeting and getting to train and share ideas with the people I used to admire since starting tricking.
How about downs?
In the beginning of 2010 I overtrained myself. After practicing 12-14 times a week for a couple of months my body and mind got exhausted. It took me awhile to get back in shape, but I learned the rough way how important it is to rest and recover.
Vellu describes that in order to be a good trickster one has to be “all-around”. By this he means that one has to know how to kick, flip and twist. What are the essential qualities for a competent trickster?
Solid foundation is critical. You can always tell if someone is good at tricking by seeing his basic tricks. In my opinion it’s also important to add your own flavor to your moves by being creative and sometimes thinking outside of the box. Learn from the best, but don’t just copy, instead make it your own.
How would you describe your weekly training routines?
I train tricking 4-7 times a week. Sessions usually last 1-2 hours. I do conditioning couple of times a week mostly for my mid-body and legs. I also try to do some cardio at least once or twice a week. Stretching is vital for trickers but lately I’ve been too lazy in training my flexibility. At the moment I stretch properly only about once a week and sometimes before/after tricking trainings.
Photo: Wojtek Kalka
This amount of exercise must consume lots of energy. What are the key principles of your diet?
I try to eat regularly, as diverse as possible and a fair amount of vegetables, chicken and fruits. I love food and I prefer to cook my own food. Occasionally, I also allow myself to consume unnecessary delicacies such as cookies and cereals.
Give us an example. What made you wake up this morning?
Good breakfast consisting of a fresh rye bread sandwich, yogurt with some muesli and a cup of coffee. And obviously, my belief that today is going to be a good day.
Spreading the love – sharing the passion
Vellu is one the members of Unito, a martial arts tricking based performance group. By now Unito has been representing Finland in tricking events and gatherings all over the world including Europe, The United States, Canada and China. They also created a great deal of attention after being one of the finalists in the Finnish Talent show.
In tricking, community plays an essential role by tutoring rookies, sharing the best practices, and tricking episodes. What are the thriving elements behind Unito?
Spreading what we love, tricking, is our main goal. Particularly, helping Finnish tricking community grow is sufficient for us. By guiding newcomers, educating, making samplers and tutorials we hope to see tricking getting more acknowledged in the future so that when people see it they get to the bottom of it.
We want to build a rock-hard base for tricking in Finland so that it will be able to grow. I love seeing new people getting into this sport and spotting them getting thrilled just like I used to and still do.
At the moment, tricking enjoys very strong hype, scaling up events and gatherings. That is no wonder since the sport itself is truly appealing. But is it as demanding as it appears to us?
Many people think tricking looks cool, but they restrict their mind by thinking they’ll never be able to do such things. That’s not the reality! Anyone can learn tricking. When I started I couldn’t even cartwheel. So try to find trickers living close to you and join their trainings. Remember to take things step by step. The most important thing is to have fun while pushing your own limits!
For a young guy like Vellu, his plans for future are still undecided.
At the moment, I’m in a situation where I’m seeking for different opportunities for my further studies. I’m figuring out what motivates me the most. It really needs to be something practical and all-round. For example being an entrepreneur, and especially to be your own boss. Luckily, in the beginning of 2013 I’ll start my mandatory military service, which gives me more time to consider the next move.
My greatest ambition is to just keep going! There’s always reason to stay curious and excited.
Introduction to footbag
Most people I’ve met have some kind of a vague idea about my sport of choice – Footbag. But it’s very rare to find a person who knows that it’s actually much more than just kicking the hacky sack with your friends in high school. Since 1987 and the launch of a classic video game California Games, especially freestyle footbag has gained significant international attention in various underground and lifestyle driven medias. Still today no player will earn any money out of this, but the level of the sport has grown a lot. Since mid 90s Finland has gradually risen to become one of the Top Tier countries in this niche sport and almost dominating one of its forms – Footbag Net. Footbag Net is kind of a mix of Thai Soccer Takraw and soccer played in a volleyball court. Check the video below and you will understand better what I mean
Preparing for the championships
The summer 2012 marks two major championships for Team Finland. The 33rd annual World Championships held in Warsaw, Poland and the 14th annual European Championships held in Aachen, Germany. In the +15 years of kicking the small bean bag, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the level of players. These days you can’t expect to go into champs without also having the proper physique of a pro athlete. In the last few years our team has been paying much more attention to the quality of our diet, which has helped to raise our game. We’ve started to consume much more whole foods and other natural sources of energy. When given the chance to try out the legendary adaptogenic cordyceps we were of course excited to see how that would work for us. Also our national team members Matti, Oskari & Tuomas have to work normal 9-5s and more, so the Four Sigma Foods instant drink concept didn’t seem too complex to follow for our busy daily life.
© Henrik Martikainen
Comments about FSF Instants
On our path to the big championship summer, we’ve used FSF Instant Cordyceps on top of our normal diet. No other major changes were made. We used it daily, and on few tournament weekends we overdosed on it to see how it will serve our game. Here’s few comments from our team.
“I like to live naturally and want to get some extra boost when I’m on the court. FSF Instant Cordyceps delivers both.”
– Oskari Forsten
“For me Instant Cordyceps offered a great alternative for coffee. It was very easy to add into my current diet.”
– Tuomas Kärki
“Playing footbag net at the highest possible level takes more than just kicking a bean bag around every now and then. Using Instant Cordyceps on top of my balanced diet I was able to push myself harder in games and practises.”
– Matti Pohjola
See, footbag net is mostly a technique sport. It takes years or even a decade to master this skill thus most of the world’s top guys have been around for awhile. But to win against these guys comes mostly through mental strength. The game is SO fast that you got to be super alert. What we’ve learned is that it’s just so much easier to stay focused when you recover better between games and sets. This is exactly where we saw help from Instant Cordyceps.
© Justin Sexton
Summarizing our experiences
It’s our goal to perform on/to our highest potential. Not just every other game or so, but every kick, breath and thought. Instant Cordyceps is developed just for that. We are happy that we have this great product in our “toolbox”. Euros and Worlds are in few weeks and we are ready to have fun :)
We also wish that there will be more such a great products available and that people would be more conscious about these herbal alternatives…except our opponents ;)
Keep your fingers crossed!
On the behalf of Footbag Net Team Finland