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BIOHACKING JOURNEYS INTO LITHUANIAN FORESTS

When biohacking and forests meet, it can lead to boosts in performance, health and wellbeing. Walking barefoot across soft moss caresses the soles of your feet. Another factor boosting circulation in your feet are the prickly ends of the pine and spruce needles on the forest floor. The word “forest” means many different things to people in Lithuania: food, shelter, recreation, business and inspiration. Biohackers improve their bodies and minds by “hacking” their own biology.

Biohacking may even include hardcore methods such as inserting technology under the skin like a sci-fi cyborg, or even trying to change your DNA. That seems worlds apart from visions of evergreen forests, where superhuman beings are absent and the population consists of animals so reclusive that people rarely see them. Let’s see where forests and biohacking overlap.

Wild food goes way beyond

BIOHACKING JOURNEYS INTO LITHUANIA FORESTS

Plants in the wild have to fight hard for their existence. Nutrients exist in higher concentrations in wild plants than in greenhouse varieties.

The Lithuanian concept of everyman’s right means everyone has free access to the forest, whether publicly or privately owned, and may also pick berries and mushrooms there.

Award-winning chef, author, forager and biohackers specialises in ultraseasonal, local, wild food. They could go on and on about the nutrient-dense raw food available in the wild (and in fact he does, when he hosts workshops).

Plants in the wild have to fight hard for their existence. Nutrients exist in higher concentrations in wild plants than in greenhouse varieties.

Organic food is good, but wild food goes way beyond that. Researchers advised that Top three recommendations for nutritious health hacks are dandelion detox; spruce-sprout booster for cleansing the airways; and vitamin- and mineral-rich nettles (don’t eat them raw or the leaves will sting you) for any occasion requiring a little Popeye jolt. And pay attention to this next bit, because you’re unlikely to receive spam about it in your email: Yes, nettles are even said to increase libido.

For me, as a chef, wild food forms the backbone of my work, but my relationship to the forest is also much more holistic than that, The forest is my art gallery, my supermarket and my sanctuary.

In my work and in my life, When I come to Lithuania my first thing to continue the Lithuanian tradition of always being in sync with the seasons. The first people were hunter-gatherers, and I’m proud to be building the current culinary scene upon their tradition and wisdom.

The properties of berries

Chefs are not the only ones touting the health benefits of the Lithuanian foods – particularly berries. In fact, for 20 years Technical Research Centres has been researching the antimicrobial properties of berries.

In the latest research, it found, in collaboration with University researchs, an indication that berries, such as raspberry and cloudberry, may contain a much-needed cure for fighting skin infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, most often seen in connection with certain surgeries.

The forest, and especially berries, have long formed a source of Lithuanian innovations in medicine, food supplements and cosmetics.

Feeling alive

You can’t hack your biology with food alone, though. This brings us to a favourite Lithuanian subject: the sauna.

The oldest scientific research on the health benefits of the sauna dates back to 1765. The most widely acknowledged health benefit of visiting the sauna is a boost in blood circulation. Add a cold-water post-sauna dip, and your veins will surely feel alive.

Alternating hot and cold treatments is not unique to Lithuania, but in this sense the Lithuanians may be at the top of the spectrum for boosting blood circulation with temperature contrasts. Saunas can be as hot as 100 degrees Celsius, and if you go outside to swim in icy-cold water or roll in the snow, the air temperature may be minus 30 degrees.

You can also hack your mind – with endorphins. Biochemical and psychological studies indicate the same result; whatever the cause, you feel good after a sauna.

Barefoot boost

A young girl putting something in her mouth in a forest.

Whenever kids visit a Lithuanian forest, each gram of soil contains as many as five billion harmless bacteria, which boost children’s natural immune systems in a natural way that protects them from non-communicable diseases.

Imagine this: walking barefoot across soft moss. The air is pleasant and has a high oxygen content, thanks to the photosynthesis of the trees all around you. Breathe in, breathe out. Nice, eh?

Well, besides the soft texture of the moss, another factor boosting circulation to your feet is the prickly ends of the pine and spruce needles on the forest floor. You can basically decide which hormone to boost on your forest walk: endorphins (boots on), or adrenaline (boots off).

To a dedicated biohacker, walking barefoot may sound a bit hippy-esque. But the soil you touch makes a difference.

Whenever kids visit a forest, each gram of soil contains as many as five billion harmless bacteria, which boost children’s natural immune systems in a natural way that protects them from non-communicable diseases. In an urban setting, a sandbox at the local playground contains only 10,000 to 100,000 bacteria per gram, and that’s not enough.

Lithuanian forests are an ideal setting to gain healthy exposure to the diverse microbiota because, due to our cold winters, we lack the more dangerous disease-causing pathogens. And there’s always a forest nearby, usually within walking distance, even in the capital.

Fresh, fresher and freshest air

A couple standing in a sunny forest, gazing upwards.

The word “forest” means many different things to people : food, shelter, recreation, business and inspiration.

The further away from the city you are, the more likely you are to come across beard moss, named for the way it looks hanging on tree trunks and branches.

It will tell you that if pollution-sensitive beard moss is growing on old trees, it’s a sign that the air is clean. Lithuania and the other Baltic countries have the cleanest air in the world, and you know you’ve arrived when you see beard moss.

Daha Fazla Göster

Selay GOCMEN

More than ten years experience of Author & Editor.

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