Author: williamboutte

 

Affiliate Disclosure

 
Every month, I release never-before-seen videos, audios and .pdf’s inside the BenGreenfieldFitness “Premium” channel (just $10/year to access!). You can click here to go Premium and access an entire vault of all past, current and future protected content!

The podcast episode “How To Cure Yourself Of Cancer: An Epic Interview With A Man Who Defied Conventional Medicine & Cured Himself Of Prostate Cancer.” was one of the most popular and comment-filled episodes that I’ve ever released on alternative methods of healing cancer.

It was so popular, in fact, that I decided to approach Eric Remensperger, my guest on that episode, and propose that he address the host of comments and questions that materialized after that original show. He was kind enough to do so, and in today’s special Premium episode (available as a part of 300+ additional special episodes, videos and pdf’s you can access here), Eric delves into the following:

[00:00] Introduction

[01:57] Coffee Enemas

[05:39] Using Nystatin

[08:10] Wim Hof’s Breathing Techniques

[12:38] Emotional Blockages

[15:44] The Budwig Protocol

[21:21] Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide

[23:37] Acupunture

[24:24] Sulforaphane

[26:56] DCA

[30:47] Laetrile

[33:52] High Dose Vitamin C

[40:26] Children With Cancer

[43:19] Fitting In With The Regimen In Your Everyday Life

[46:23] Cancer and Lymph Node Removal

[48:08] Eric’s Diet

[57:58] End of Podcast


Introduction:

Thank you, Ben.  The questions posed will include the following: a discussion on coffee enemas, the use of Nystatin as an anti-fungal agent, Wim Hof breathing techniques and oxygenation at a cellular and tissue level, the Budwig Protocol, sulforaphane, Laetrile or vitamin B17, high-dose vitamin C, and balancing oxidative therapies with antioxidants.  But before I begin, I have to make my usual disclaimer.  I’m not a doctor and I don’t give medical advice.  I make no recommendations.  All I’ve done is looked at the data, and as an attorney I kind of applied my own kind of skill set to looking at evidence, and come to my own conclusions.  And I’m sharing information with you so that you can have the same perspective that I came to when you’re trying to sort through and make your own decisions.

Let me also mention that in the process of coming to my own theories and conclusions, I’ve formed what I consider to be some foundational elements for moving back from a cancering state to a healing state over and above kind of nutrition and supplementation, which obviously a lot of us spend a lot of time focusing on nutrition and supplementation, but these other elements include, there’s really four of them that I kind of list down here: one is oxygenation of the cells and tissues, number two is proper cellular communication because in my view all we are are our bags of cells, and cancer are cells that are not functioning the way they should within that community of cells.  And so we do really need to kind of focus on proper communication between the cells.  Detoxification, which includes physical, environmental, and emotional, and energetic wellness.  Those are kind of the four underlying foundational elements for all of the protocols and the pillars that you’ll see if you go on my site.  So let’s go ahead and get started.


Coffee Enemas

The first question I’m going to address comes from Kathy.  Kathy’s concerned about whether or not coffee enemas might be contraindicated for her because she had several lymph nodes removed as part of a treatment for cervical cancer, and she asks whether she should be concerned about doing enemas without lymph nodes.  And I think before answering that question, it might be useful to talk a little bit about coffee enemas generally.  Let me mentioned for those of you who haven’t already seen it that Ben has a great blog post on coffee enemas entitled “The Bulletproof Coffee Enema: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know About Coffee Enemas But Were Afraid To Ask”.  On that blog post, he goes not only into kind of how to do an enema, but why they do an enema and that sort of thing.  So if you haven’t or are not familiar with doing coffee enemas, I highly recommend that as a good source to go to.  But just kind of briefly, enemas are traditionally done to clean out the bowels of your colon.  Coffee enema, although this is an enema, it’s quite different, it’s done to help the liver do its job of detoxification.  As we all know, the liver is not just a detoxifier, it’s the ultimate multi-tasker.  It does everything from converting protein into glucose, storing vitamins and nutrients, regulating hormones, making bile, et cetera.

When a coffee enema is done, the caffeine from the coffee is absorbed into the system, where it goes into the liver and acts as a detoxifier.  It works there because there are these entrohepatic circulatory veins that carry toxins from the sigmoid colon to the liver for the detoxification process to run.  Coffee enemas also cause the liver to produce more bile, which as you probably know is stored in the gallbladder.  And as a footnote, I’ve discovered this recently, removal of the gall bladder is the number one surgery that’s done involving your organs.  But by producing more bile, the bile is necessary to move and provide for the process of elimination.  So the coffee has this affinity for the liver, and when it’s absorbed into the liver, it frees the liver up to do its job, which is processing toxic materials.  In addition, the coffee itself contains alkaloids that stimulate the production of glutathione s-transferase, which we’re going to talk about a little bit later on.  There’s a question that comes up on sulforaphane.  Glutathione s-transferase is an enzyme that’s crucial for these detox pathways to work properly.  So in short, a coffee enema will speed up and benefit the liver’s role in this entire detoxification process.

So to get back to Kathy’s question, I think, obviously speak to your doctor, Kathy.  But I would say rather than being contraindicated, it might be even more important if you’re short some of your lymph nodes to make sure that your liver’s functioning at its highest level because the two major detoxification processes the body has are lymphatic system and the liver.  And so I would also suggest that you, ’cause you still have plenty of lymph nodes, I think you mentioned 30 in your question, there are hundreds and hundreds of lymph nodes in the body, but obviously not having those lymph nodes means that that part of your body has less clearing capacity, and I would suggest that you do the dry skin brushing, and the rebounding, and all the other things, like exercise, movement to make sure your lymphatic system is functioning well.


Using Nystatin

Kathy also raised the next question, and there’s a few others actually, I think flagged this as a question as well.  She raised the impact whether or not Nystatin would be indicated for somebody like her in the impact, in particular the Nystatin might have on her liver.  She asked if she’d be concerned about this.  And in response, I should say that I am not a big fan of pharmaceuticals, and thus the decision to take Nystatin was a real challenge for me.  For those of you not familiar with it, Nystatin is an off-patent prescription drug.  It’s commonly used to address candida overgrowth and it’s been around quite a while.  I was told by my integrative doctor that, and she’s very cautious about prescribing integrated drugs, she’s an anthroposophical doctor, but she said as far as prescription drugs goes it’s about as safe as you get.  I’m not sure I’m necessarily convinced that that’s 100% true, but I do know that it’s, I did some research and the drug is designed not to leave the gut, it’s not designed to have any effect in the bloodstream.  It does what it does within the entire intestinal tract.  So therefore, it shouldn’t put the liver at any risk of damage by virtue of Nystatin itself going to the liver.

But you need to be very aware of the fact that the way Nystatin works is it literally blows up the organism.  So the fungus or the candida is literally blown up.  And this results in cellular die-off or residue of what was left to those organisms, which are then toxins that are distributed throughout the body.  And so this die-off, which is caused by Nystatin can be quite severe, and I don’t know how that might impact the liver.  I know some people have difficulty tolerating Nystatin because of the die-off if they have extremely high levels of fungus.  I didn’t have any issues.  So I think again it’s very important to make sure that both the lymphatic system and your liver are functioning at their optimal level.  So again, please talk your doctor if you’re considering fungal control therapies generally.  For those of you who might be interested in alternatives to pharmaceuticals, I think there are some natural agents that can be used that have anti-fungal properties and they include garlic, caprylic acid, grapefruit seed extract, and olive leaf.  Those are all effective anti-fungal, natural agents.


Wim Hof’s Breathing Techniques

The next question comes from Ben and it concerns Wim Hof’s breathing techniques.  Ben asks if the controlled hyperventilation and breath holding, which is intended to raise blood oxygen levels and also raise pH, might along with meditation, slow down cancering and help convert to the healing state. What do I think? Ben, the first thing I would say is I think Wim is an amazing guy who’s done amazing feats using his breathwork techniques.  And as I mentioned earlier on, oxygenation in the cellular and tissue level is at the core of my protocols to address cancer, and therefore I was very interested once I heard about Wim’s techniques.  And so I did actually take his course and practiced some of his techniques myself, including the meditation and the breathwork.  I didn’t actually do the ice baths.  I didn’t get quite that far.  But I thought it might be a good way to kind of help facilitate oxygenation of tissues, particularly in the prostate.  And I took the time, but what I found was that I didn’t really kind of understand the science behind it and so I really needed to get into the weeds a little bit to better understand exactly what it was doing within the functioning of moving oxygen into your lungs, then from your lungs into your blood, and then from your blood into your tissues.

I think that question was answered when I came upon a book which Ben referenced in one of his podcasts by Patrick McKeown called “The Oxygen Advantage”, and I should mention just as an aside, since my original podcast with Ben and this particular taping, Patrick McKeown has appeared on Ben’s podcast.  And so if you Google Ban and “maximize oxygen utilization efficiency”, you’ll find the blog post on that and the posting for that particular podcast.  And if you haven’t already heard it, I would suggest you give it a listen ’cause I think it’s well worth a listen.  But in his book and on the podcast, Patrick makes it very clear that deep breathing does nothing to increase oxygenation in the tissues themselves.  He promotes, in order to best oxygenate your blood, the use of the diaphragm as part of your breathing process, which is used far more if you breathe through the nose than it is if you’re panting through the mouth.  And so doing that kind of diaphragmatic breathing, slow breathing, brings in through your nose, brings in nitric oxide, and this allows for what he calls ventilation profusion.  Because when you breathe in through the nose, you’re bringing in the air from the upper part of the lungs than lower.  And since most of the concentration of blood is in the lower lobes of lungs and breathing occurs in the upper lobes, you need nitrous oxide to bring blood from the lower lobes to the upper lobes.  And ventilation profusion apparently does this.

Getting oxygenation into the blood is one thing, and it really does you no good unless you can get that oxygen out of the blood and into your tissues, and that requires carbon dioxide.  And this is the rub here for me, to get those levels of CO2 up, you need to have controlled breathing.  What I am familiar with, ’cause I’m a big fan of yoga and done a lot of yoga, we call it Ujjayi breath.  Very controlled, through the nose diagrammatic breathing.  Now classic Ujjayi breathing includes moving the [0:11:38] ______, making that kind of ocean sound in the back of your throat, that’s done really to bring heat into your body.  So if you’re doing yoga on a really hot day, you don’t have to make the ocean sound during your Ujjayi breath.  But the whole idea is to really get your breathing down to an extremely low, controlled state.  And what that does is it raises your level of carbon dioxide, and that effectively allows for the movement of oxygen out of your blood and into your tissues.  I think the deciding point for me in ceasing any more of the Wim Hof methods were when I stumbled upon an [0:12:11] ______ that breathing hard increases the bond between oxygen and the blood cells.  And in fact he mentions in the podcast then that the amount of oxygen in the brain is actually reduced, not increased, which is why you get that lightheaded feeling.  So over breathing to me is probably not the best, at least for therapeutic purposes, there might be other reasons to do it, but certainly not for getting oxygen into the cells.


Emotional Blockages

The next question comes from Pete who asks about emotional blockages.  He says, and I quote, “Does sexual activity always play a role in what processes work to address blockages?”  Well at first blush, this might seem like a bit of an odd question, but he might be kind of tying back into some discussions that I’ve had on podcasts about the theories Wilhelm Reich, who was a brilliant German scientist who came up with this whole Orgone theory of life and created this Orgone machine.  And the word Orgone ties into orgasm ’cause he was a very firm believer that sexual health really played a major role in physical health.  And so if there were any kind of serious dysfunctions at a sexual level, it would manifest itself at a physical level.  I’m not sure necessarily you need to buy into that perspective to still understand the importance of kind of just maintaining energetic flow.  And I think sexual energy is just one of many energies that in Chinese medicine we call “chi”.  This particular element of the various protocols has been a real challenge for me because I think when it comes to this emotional, sexual energetic low, I’ve fallen down a bit.

To answer Pete’s question, I don’t think so, no.  I think the sources of cancer are really all over the map.  In my view as a non-scientist but someone who has looked at all the evidence, I think cancer is caused by defects in respiration, which could be the result of many factors.  It could be environmental toxins, it could be sexual and emotional blockage, they could be excessive radiation, EMFs, all sorts of different things that can interrupt the ability of the mitochondria to respirate the way that it should.  And so, anything that kind of interrupts that respiratory capacity could result in cancer.  I think chi is the obvious one ’cause that’s kind of the source of what we considered, at least in the annals of Chinese medicine, it’s considered to be kind of the source of all life.

So bottom line, not to get too woo-woo here, it’s really important to just pay attention to your attention, where you’re putting your attention.  Pay attention to your thoughts, see how much of your energy is being wasted chasing ghosts with your monkey mind, and just keep in mind that it’s about that awareness and where you put your focus or attention is where your chi, your life energy actually flows.  So just be very cognizant of that.  And if your sleep is good, and your energy is good, you feel some real passion, you get out of bed every morning and conquer the world, I think you’re pretty much there, and just do the best you can in all times to keep things kind of fresh.  Like changing up every now and then, don’t let things get too stale, don’t let things stagnate.  If you feel like you need to say something, say it.  And the best way to address blockage is just to remain present, focused, [0:15:33] ______.  Don’t find yourself be distracted, frustrated, discouraged, depressed, or disappointed.  Yeah, it’s not just sexual.


The Budwig Protocol

The next question comes from Rob who asked about the Budwig Protocol.  He says, and I’m going to actually quote his question here because he does raise several things that I had others bring to my attention as concerns when it comes to the Budwig Protocol, and I think these are all valid concerns and I can kind of go through why I don’t think that these challenges warrant me not taking the chance at doing this protocol based on what I view as kind of how it ties into my theories.  But he says, “I did the cottage cheese, flaxseed for a while, then got concerned because I read somewhere that flax was high in estrogen and omega-6, and the omega-3 wasn’t as bioavailable as animal-based omega-3.  This is correct.  I also have heard, I think from Rhonda Patrick, that casein in higher protein dairy foods like cottage cheese exacerbates cancer.  On the plus side there is supposed to be a reaction that takes place to create a sulphurated protein, is that right?  Can you comment?”

Well, I think let’s start by just talking about Johanna Budwig who came up with these protocols and kind of who she was, I think it’s an interesting story if we know the purpose to raise it.  She was a student of nursing at a large hospital, a thousand beds, and it was also a pharmacy boarding school where she studied pharmacology, and she later went on to study chemistry and physics.  And in that process, she became an expert in lipids.  So much so that after World War II, she was appointed that Chief Expert For Drugs And Fats at the Germany’s Federal Institute For Fats Research, which was at the time in Germany the largest office issuing approvals for new drugs, very much like our FDA, and she discovered that fats played a very crucial role in cellular respiration, and I would say communication too, cellular communication.  But she focused on the respiratory issues.  Her opponents, interestingly, as an aside, really came down hard that she wasn’t qualified because she wasn’t a doctor.  So at the age of 47, she went back to medical school and became a doctor.  Clearly this woman had a love of science and really never had kids or had a family, she just loved her science.  That was her life.

But she was convinced, and I think we all know this now, not a big stress to come to this conclusion, that highly processed foods, hydrogenated oils in particular, block this oxidative process.  For those of you know the work of Jack Kruse, what he calls quantum tunnelling.  And that’s what leads to the development of cancer, which ties in perfectly to the Warburg Theory, and Wilhelm Reich’s theories, and the other.  While doing her job as the Chief Expert For Drugs And Fat, she observed that cottage cheese or cork, contains the same sulfhydryl groups as those found in the cancer treatment drugs that she was being asked to look at in her official capacity.

The sulfhydryl groups are cysteine and methionine amino, methionine amino acids.  And she established that essential polyunsaturated fatty acids are proof as a crucial for properly functioning cellular membrane.  And of course without a proper cellular membrane, this respiration itself is impaired.  She flagged, which we now know as omega-6 and omega-3s, two of which he considered essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that are absolutely critical for cell membranes [0:19:10] ______, that’s linoleic acid and linolenic acid.  Linoleic being six and linolenic being threes, and the chemical reaction takes place when sulfhydryl in the cottage cheese binds with the unsaturated fatty acids in the flaxseed oil.  And this allows the flaxseed to become water soluble and enter a cell to supply energy.  So if I were to draw a metaphor, I’d say imagine the cells in the body are like a battery in a car and they require electrical energy in order to run and provide energy for other biological functions.  If your car battery is not functioning as it should, is dead and needs jumper cables, and apparently this combination of cork and flaxseed oil work together to kind of bring back that energy, it kind of helps facilitate the flow of these electrons.

“Know that part of the protocol is particularly effective when coupled with sun exposure.”  That’s a quote from her book.  And she said of all living creatures, the human being has the highest concentration of photons from the sun’s energies.  So I think in my view, this all kind of squarely within my theories that underlie not only the respiratory issues, but the cellular communication issues, and getting that stuff to function properly is really important.  And so I did bring Budwig’s Protocol into my daily routine.  I was doing it early on in addressing my cancer.  I did it every day.  I now do it probably three or four days a week, on days typically when I’m getting a lot of sun because I have like that kind of marriage of the photons from the sun, at the same time I’m consuming this electron-rich mixture, which I’ll get into it on my website but we need to do it here, but I actually make it, so it tastes good because if you just have it plain, it’s not the tastiest thing in the world.  But you can doctor it up and make it quite delicious.  One way I’m making it taste almost like cheesecake. So hope that answers that question, but I do think that you raise some good concerns.


Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide

Moving on to the next question, Wayne asks about the use of food grade hydrogen peroxide, specifically about grade and dosage.  And again I have to make a disclaimer, ’cause hydrogen peroxide is an extremely caustic substance.  You got to be very careful that you’re not doing this without the proper advice and guidance of your healthcare professional.  But that being said, the supplement, maybe about the theory first, hydrogen peroxide, as the theory is, the folks that promoted it have the understanding that it really is a way of killing all pathogens.  Viruses, cancer, fungus, they’re all anaerobic and cannot survive in the presence of hydrogen peroxide.  It’s the absence of oxygen that really kind of helps these pathogens survive.  And so again getting too highly oxygenated environment is really important, ties back into a lot of the protocols.  So more oxygen slows the progression of cancer and less oxygen will allow for faster cancer growth.  That’s kind of one of the underlying themes.  And so hydrogen peroxide does fit into that.

There’s two ways that I do it.  I do it using hydrogen peroxide, and I’ll tell you in a minute kind of how I do it, but I also do it through the high dose vitamin C done intravenously because that, I’ll get to in a second ’cause we’re going to have a question on that in a little bit, asking about high dose vitamin C, but it actually converts to hydrogen peroxide.  Don’t even consider the 3% that sold at your local drug store.  That’s a pharmaceutical grade, it’s not to be ingested and it has toxic stabilizers.  You can only use food grade, whether you’re ingesting it or using it in your bath.  And I use 35% food grade, it’s available on Amazon.  And the two ways you can take it, you can take a cup of it in a bath of hot water and soak it in for 20 or 30 minutes.  Or you can put, what I do is I put eight drops into a glass about eight ounces of aloe vera juice.  You can also use distilled water.  Some people say you can put it in regular water, but others say that if it has too many minerals in it, it kind of causes some issues with hydrogen peroxide, something I’m not familiar enough to speak on.  But I just use aloe vera juice myself.


Acupunture

The next question comes from Horatio who asks, “You mentioned how early on you had problems with waking up a few times at night to urinate, throat phlegm, coughing, and runny nose.  Was it acupuncture that remedied those?”  This is an easy answer, Wayne.  Yes.  Next question, no, I’ll just quickly mention that I also did some dietary changes and took some Chinese herbs as part of my treatment protocols.  But acupuncture was done, in my view, is it is extremely effective for these types of chronic ailments.  The only, I think, footnote or caveat to that is you need to find a good acupuncturist, and that’s not an easy task.  So my suggestion would be to ask for referrals and try more than one acupuncturist until you stumble upon one that you think really can do the job.  That really works.


Sulforaphane

The next question comes from Rob, a listener who’s been using many of my same protocols, and he’s been using them just to keep his PSA level down.  And Rob asks, “What is your take on sulforaphane from broccoli seed sprouts?”  Okay, he mentions Rhonda Patrick, who’s a big fan, and cited a French study where prostate cancer patients reduced their PSA in doubling time.  Yeah, I would suggest, if anyone is interested in sulforaphane as a medicinal and therapeutic element, you should take a good listen to Rhonda’s podcast ’cause she does a really deep dive on sulforaphane and its effect on cancer.  But in the trial that Rob references, which Rhonda talks about on her podcast, they discovered that prostate cancer patients who were taking sulforaphane had a significant drop in the doubling of the PSA marker of prostate cancer growth.  It was something like 86% just taking 60 milligrams a day of sulforaphane.  So yeah, it’s an isothiocyanate and it has a considerable impact on the progression of certainly hard tumor cancers.  I don’t know any test that they’d had done outside of this one.  I think if you want to learn more about it, you should just go ahead and get Rhonda’s podcast and listen.

In the podcast, she also gets into the phase two detoxification enzymes and the NRF-2 pathway and its role as an antioxidant response element.  And guess what is the phase two detox enzyme?  Glutathione s-transferase, which we talked about when we were talking about coffee enemas.  What it does, the glutathione s-transferase, is inactivates the pro-carcinogenic agents by transforming them into water soluble compounds, which are then able to be excreted in the urine and bile.  Personally, I take three forms of sulforaphane.  I do get broccoli sprouts from my local farmer’s market whenever they have them.  They don’t always do, but typically they do and I get about six ounces for the week.  And I also take daily a supplement called Crucera-SGS, manufactured by Thorne, which has 50 milligrams of sulforaphane in it.  And finally, I put moringa in the powder into my new smoothie, which I don’t do every day, I do it two or three days a week.  And that is also extremely high in sulforaphane.  I think moringa powder actually has more sulforaphane than broccoli sprout.  You can also get sulforaphane from regular broccoli and cauliflower, but I don’t think the levels are high enough to have any real therapeutic benefit.


DCA

The same listener, Rob, asks for my thoughts on dichloroacetate, which I’ll refer to as DCA.  And I should mention before I get too far into this that there’s a great article that was published in the British Journal of Cancer back in 2008 that you should take a look at if you want to know all about DCA.  I found it fascinating not only because of how it kind of walked through efficacy of DCA and its impact on the progression of cancer, but how all of that kind of laid into the same foundational elements that fit into the protocols that support my own theories of cancer.  So I guess we can sidetrack for a moment on my own theories of cancer, which is that, and again I apologize for repeating myself, but for those who maybe haven’t yet heard the [0:27:46] ______ podcast, at least solid tumor cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer, these are all characterized by aerobic glycolysis.  They use glucose for energy even when oxygen is available, and this is a far less efficient means of energy production than the mitochondria-based glucose oxidation which is the normal ATP process.  I think they produced two rather than 36 ATP per glucose molecule.  And thus, cancer cells can only thrive when there is significantly increased levels of glucose, significantly increased glucose uptakes, which obviously need glucose to do.

I have also concluded that, at least for solid tumors, a hypoxic environment can result in the transformation of a healthy cell into a cancer cell.  And cancer cells kind of revert back to their pre-oxygen based life form way of respirating whenever they’re exposed to a hypoxic environment.  It’s almost like a method of the cells to kind of preserve themselves.  If they don’t get enough oxygen, then they revert to this other form of providing energy.  And in the study that I referenced on DCA, they specifically noted that in this hypoxic state, the cells express pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase, or PDK, which promotes or facilitates the conversion to aerobic glycolysis in the cytoplasm in the cell by metabolizing pyruvate into lactate.  And this lactate acidosis facilitates tumor growth and activates angiogenesis in the breakdown in the surrounding tissues.  So what DCA does as a drug is it increases the delivery of pyruvate into the mitochondria, which allows the cells to once again function the way they should, including returning to glucose oxidation and the functioning of apoptosis.  The way it functions not by inhibiting aerobic glycolysis, but by announcing glucose oxidation.  If it were the former, it would actually be fatal to non-cancer tissues that use aerobic glycolysis for energy production.

It does this again by bringing pyruvate into the mitochondria.  It’s been around for about I’m going to guess maybe a decade or so, maybe more, this trial was a while back, and there have been other trials done that indicate this same reference in this particular trial that indicate their concerns about peripheral neuropathy with DCA.  I don’t know that any of them concluded that that is something that won’t resolve itself if you stop taking DCA.  But I think there has not been enough clinical trial work to really know what the right dose strategy should be or how to manage any potential toxicity.  And unfortunately as this is now a generic drug, the likelihood of pharmaceutical industries coming in to help fund tests is very, very unlikely.  So if I ever decided that I had to kind of pull all the stops and use even some experimental pharmaceutical drugs, I think to answer to the question DCA would be on my short list.  No question about it.  But for now I’m just kind of adopting a wait-and-see, and I seem to be doing fine without it.


Laetrile

The next question comes from Steve who asks about the B17, also referred to as laetrile, and whether I take it.  And the quick answer is: yes, it is.  I do.  It’s part of my stack.  But I do take it in its natural state, i.e. apricot pits rather than taking a supplement form.  You can get it both ways.  I think there is even a version you can do via IV.  I’m not familiar with them, how to access that, or how that works, but someone mentioned it to me in the course of discussions I have had on laetrile.  One thing again I have to caution you on is that it’s not approved for use within the United States, and the National Cancer Institute has come up very strongly against laetrile.  So this discussion again is just for informational purposes.

How does it work? Well normal cells have an enzyme called rhodanese, which neutralizes benzaldehyde.  The benzaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide are what’s found in B17.  So normal cells have this enzyme, rhodanese, which render these two potentially toxic agents neutral.  Apparently this enzyme converts them into harmless compounds such as benzoic acid.  Cancer cells don’t have rhodanese.  They instead have an enzyme called beta-glucosidase.  Beta-glucosidase is an enzyme that’s only found in cancer cells.  And this enzyme releases the benzaldehyde and the cyanide from the glucose, which then kill the cancer cell.

There was another listener who I have to give a shout out to, I don’t have his name in front of me, but he referenced a documentary called, “Second Opinion”.  Hold on a second.  Let’s see if I have notes on this.  I don’t.  I think it’s worth a listen to.  It’s called “Second Opinion: The Sloan-Kettering Study”.  Anyway, in that documentary, they apparently did animal studies back in 1974 at Sloan and Kettering, and they took some specifically engineered tumor-bearing rats, rats designed to create cancer in their bodies.  In the control group they were testing for lung metastases and they found in the control group that only 25% of the rats that were given B17, or laetrile actually had lung metastasized cancer.  In the placebo group, 75% actually had metastases.  So you can see there’s almost an inverse.  Fairly high significant difference.  So that’s kind of the story on laetrile.  There’ve been some other kind of studies that have concluded it has no benefit, but those studies, I think the most recent one is far back as 1982, I found extremely suspect.  There were no control groups, there was no peer review, there were no experts, the people had no experience with laetrile.  It looked to me like it was kind of a functional equivalent of what we call fake news, just pure pseudoscience.  So I didn’t give those any credence at all, but you should draw your own conclusions.


High Dose Vitamin C

Next, I want to conflate two questions because there’s a bit of an overlap here.  The first comes in from Dave, both are normal patients who’s been using some of the protocols to keep cancer at bay for about four years, and he asks about hydrogen peroxide and mentions having taken as much as 125 grams IV of vitamin C.  That’s very high.  I’ve done 75.  And two other Ben listeners, Meg and Steve, also raise concerns about the use of antioxidants concurrently with using oxidative stress therapies.  And that’s an excellent question because that’s something I think people kind of gloss over.  They don’t really think about the fact that if you’re doing highly oxidative stress therapies, you don’t want to be taking a lot of antioxidants.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  One’s going to cancel out the other and you’re going to get good benefit from either one.  Let’s kind of maybe drill down a little bit on this.

Let’s start off just talking about antioxidants generally, kind of when you think about antioxidants, I think probably the first two that come to mind are glutathione and vitamin C.  And I think it’s interesting to note that if we kind of circle back for a moment on laetrile, tumors amass high concentrations of glutathione in order to protect themselves against chemotherapeutic attacks such as the hyperoxidative stresses in one of my protocols.  And those tumors need cysteine in order to produce that glutathione.  And what depletes the supply of cysteine?  Cyanide.  So laetril actually releases cyanide in the tumor cells, and one of the ways I think it destroys the cells is it reduces the cysteine levels and thereby reduces their intercellular concentrations of glutathione.  So we kind of think of glutathione as being nothing but a protective shield, but it can have other impacts.  It does with it needs to do, which is to offset oxidation or oxidative stresses.

So you really need to be careful when you’re trying to balance antioxidants while doing these oxidative stress therapies.  And I think probably the most clear and understandable way of looking at this question is to kind of take a look at and understand the redox effect.  ‘Cause the redox effect is what you’re striving for, and that’s where we’re going to kind of mention now when we get into taking high doses of vitamin C intravenously as a therapeutic intervention.  Linus Pauling, I’m sure many of your listeners know the name, he’s kind of the grandfather on the use of vitamin C as an orthomolecular medicine and he kind of set the stage for a lot of the science in this space.  All the materials that I’ve looked at that talk about high dose vitamin C as a therapeutic intervention intravenously evolve, come out of the Riordan Clinic here in the US, and so that’s a good place to go if you’re looking for more information.  In Japan, they do an extensive amount of, they use high dose vitamin C as a therapeutic intervention extensively.  So there’s also been an extensive amount of research as well, I would imagine, out of Japan.

And getting back to the redox effect, this is kind of where it gets interesting.  ‘Cause vitamin C, we think of vitamin C as antioxidant, and when it’s taken in normal doses in fact, it is an antioxidant.  But when it’s taken in extremely high doses intravenous, it actually turns into a proactive.  It has kind of an oxidative stress effect.  Dr. Riordan did a lot of testing and in his lab, came to the conclusion that you really want to get to between 350 and 400 milligrams per deciliter after getting an IV in order to really induce apoptosis in the cancer tumor cells to this highly oxidative stress.  I started with 25 grams, then went 50 grams, and then to 75, so that’s kind of where I am now.  And I do my IVs now every other week.  I was doing it once a week.  And when you take doses that gets you into the 350 to 400 milligrams per deciliter level, the vitamin C actually has a significant impact on the impact between the iron and oxygen in your tissues.  And in doing so, it kind of generates hydrogen peroxide.  And that’s what’s so lethal to the cancer cells.  So it’s kind of a way of doing hydrogen peroxide without putting hydrogen peroxide in your system your body’s creating.

And so, what we’re doing here is I would say we could call this redox therapy.  And getting back to Wilhelm Reich, his theories, all of life has these pulses, these ebbs and these flows.  This is like the ocean, our breath, things are constantly moving and what we’re talking about here are really just an ebb and flow of electrons.  Oxidation is a loss of electrons and reduction is to gain electrons.  And so it’s a cycling effect between the two is what kind of we know as like life energy.  You need this ebb and flow.  And so hydrogen peroxide generates free radicals, and the cancer cells just can’t handle the oxidative stress.  That, I hope answers the question.  Another interesting point about vitamin C that’s worth mentioning, and as it’s made from glucose, which we all know through Warburg studies and everything that’s happened since Warburg, that cancer feeds on glucose.

And it’s also important, I think to note that these molecules, the glucose molecules that are used are derived from corn products.  So you want to make sure that whoever is getting your vitamin C from is using clean, non-GMO, healthy sources of corn.  And if you ask your doctor, I’m sure you will get, make sure that before you take it, ask your doctor and get some comfort on that.  If not, find another doctor.  Mine said they’re very careful about where they source it.  Another corollary to this might be in others’ thought processes on vitamin C is this whole issue about liposomal vitamin C, which is kind of the newest thing, and there’s a ton of products out there.  Dr. Mercola has one, I take it as part of my normal daily stack.  That’s not high dose.  I take 2 or 3,000 milligrams a day.  It’s being studied as a potential alternative to IV vitamin C, but I don’t know there’s anything out there that you could point to answer questions about whether it’s an effective alternative.


Children With Cancer

The next question comes from Randy who raises an interesting conundrum.  He says, “Eric, and I agree with everything you said.  But if cancer is largely caused by stress, lack of creativity, drive, and general malaise, how do we explain the hundreds of thousands of two, three, and four year old children who get cancer every year?”  When I saw that, I said, “Wow.  This is a tough one.”  I totally get it. I totally get it, Randy.  You touch on a very important point.  In my view, there are several things at play, and again this is just my opinion, there’s no clinical evidence to back up what I’m about to say.  But first of all, cancer cells proliferate quite well when the environment is full of nourishing fuel.  Which could be one reason why it’s much harder for even kind of traditional doctors who are doing cancer treatments to have success with young kids.  They have better success with old people because young kids have so much chi, or life energy, so the cancer is much easier, it has much easier time proliferating, and growing, and spreading.

And I also, as a footnote, think that this could have played a role in my own cancer.  Because if you may recall from the prior podcast, when Ben and I met, I was constantly flooding my body with excess nutrients and not giving my body a chance to kind of clean itself out.  I was never going into the autophagy state, or allowing apoptosis to fully run its course.  And I think that probably contributed certainly to the aggressiveness of the disease.  It probably didn’t cause the disease, but it caused me to have a far more aggressive and prolific version of it.  I think another point worth raising is that young kids today are really exposed to environmental toxins that we simply were not exposed to in the past.  EMFs are an obvious example.  I mean every school classroom now has WiFi, and our bodies are clearly designed to heal themselves and deal with stressors, but there comes a breaking point when it can no longer remain in its healing state, it just has too many stressors to reverse its cancer state.  So I think these environmental toxins are a big problem.

And finally, I think kids are just not immune to the energetics of their parents.  They have the same genes, they grew up in the same environment, and they’re little sponges that pick up on everything they’re exposed to in the first two years.  So you know if there are any energetic deficiencies within the household, the kids are going to suffer from that.  And I think that coupled with the whole concept of Pottenger’s cats which show the impact of epigenetics on health and genes might also be a play too so that you have epigenetic impacts affecting future genes that end up having expression in subsequent generations.  So while it’s impossible to say what one element is, I think if you take a look at all these perspectives, you can kind of see why there might be this problem that we see with cancer in young children, which is unfortunate. Yeah, that’s a real downer.  It stresses me out to even talk about.


Fitting In With The Regimen In Your Everyday Life

The next question comes from Jackie and she raises probably one of the biggest challenges that anyone faces who’s trying to do alternatives to sanative care and it says, “How you manage the time involved in getting all these protocols in.”  I’m going to quote her.  She says, “Do you find yourself stressing out about everything you must do to manage your heath? It seems like you’re doing a ton of stuff.  I find myself getting overwhelmed try to fit everything into my schedule, like meditating, coffee enemas, energy work, going to appointments, so on, et cetera.  All that on top of having a job and a social life.  How do you fit everything in?”  That’s a great question.  That’s a really good question.  It’s interesting when I was originally was kind of asked about the challenges people face in addressing alternative treatments.  My initial response had always been, “Well, it’s unfortunate and I’m really, really upset over the fact that our insurance companies don’t pay for most of these treatments, hardly any of them.”  And so people that don’t have means or have to rely on insurance to cover them, [0:44:19] ______ we don’t have the option.  But a lot of the treatment protocols don’t cost much, if anything.  I mean sunlight’s free, grounding’s free, hydration is next to free, oxygenation, these are all things that really you just have to kind of, how you feel about yourself and how you feel about your life and all those things.  Those are not a problem as far as finances are concerned.

The bigger issue, the one that we’re touching on here, Jackie, is how do you fit it all into your schedule.  And that is a real challenge.  And I think the only way that I could maybe suggest that you approach this question is, first of all, you have to decide if you’re all in.  And you have to be all in.  In other words, you have to say, “Look, no matter what, I’m going to do what it’s going to take to heal myself” ’cause that’s the most important thing.  And that will mean that you may have to take some time sacrifices and take a period of time where maybe you’re not traveling, you’re not seeing your friends, you’re not doing anything because you’re just kind of putting down and focusing on some of these things.  Eventually you will get to the point where a lot of these protocols get to be part of your daily routine, and when that happens, it’s going to be a lot less time challenge.  ‘Cause anything you add that’s new to your routine, the first time you do it, it’s going to take a ton of time because you procrastinate, it is going to take a ton of time because you have to learn how to do it, it’s going to take a ton of time because you have to buy the equipment and whatever it is you’re using in order to do it, it’s going to take a ton of time to figure out how it best fits into your daily schedule.  All that stuff obviously eats up more of the time than it takes to actually do the protocol.

So the idea is to get as many of these into your daily regimen, your daily routine.  I personally like to get them all done early in the day if I can, so I get up very early and I get ’em all done.  And there’s probably a period of 4 hours between the time I wake up and the time to actually kind of, “okay, I’m going to take my coffee now, I’m going to the office, I’m upstairs in my office and get some work done.”  And so, it’s that period of time when I can really deal with most of these protocols.  And others, you kind of just figure out how to work it into your timeline.  But that’s a really good question.


Cancer and Lymph Node Removal

Moving on to the next question, Steve asks whether removal of a lymph node, which is an unnecessary surgery I had about 20 years ago in reference on the podcast, may have contributed to getting cancer.  And I think the answer Steve is, no, I don’t think so.  And there’s no way to know for sure, but because we have so many lymph nodes I don’t think that that would have been the cause.  But as mentioned, like I mentioned earlier on this particular recording, I think to get back to a healing state from a cancering state, you can really have to focus on getting your lymphatic system optimized and functioning.  And having a good, healthy lymphatic system is absolutely crucial to remaining in a healing state and clearing up the die-offs and everything else that occur when you’re uncancering yourself, you’re getting back into the healing state.

And so, I would caution those of you who are being advised to remove lymph nodes, obviously if you need to do it, do it, and I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t.  But do it judiciously, make sure it’s necessary.  Even if they’re saying, “Well, I have cancer.”  Well yeah, that’s what lymph nodes are designed to do.  They’re designed to absorb toxic things.  I’m sure my lymph nodes had cancer ’cause my prostate had cancer and they were trying to keep that cancer out of my system.  So I didn’t have them removed, they’re now normal and they seem to be functioning normally.  I’m not saying that everyone’s going to have that same result, but I’m saying that be judicious about it.  Understand what the lymph is doing and really talk to a doctor and say, “Okay, Doc.  I get it.  I don’t want to do anything that’s going to make it worse.  I know once it’s in the lymph system, it can spread throughout the lymph system.  These are all things that I’m well aware of.  Please advise me as to whether or not I can adopt more of a wait-and-see attitude or whether I have to do this right away, et cetera.”  So that’s just my advice.  Again, I’m not a doctor.  Talk to a doctor.


Eric’s Diet

Finally, Lisa asked me to drill down a bit on the diet.  And I think this is probably a good place to wrap this up.  There’s two parts to her questions.  The first one, and I’m going to read part of it because I think she raises something that I struggled quite a bit in trying to decide what dietary therapies I would adopt, and that is, she raises a question to kind of how can you reconcile the difference between Dr. Charles Majors’ juicing vegan versus the ketogenic diet, how could they both be equally efficacious.  I heard that you said you’re in therapeutic ketosis, but you have a highly plant-based diet.  What are you doing?  Are you doing juicing, et cetera, which I’m going to get into.  Thank you, Lisa, for that question.  And her second question was she asked about my super smoothie, which Ben referenced and actually put out a blog post on.  And she said, “Do you think it contributed to your disease?  Are you still doing it?  And if you’re not, why not?”

Let me first kind of jump to the second part of that question and that’s about my smoothie.  Yeah, I mentioned this just a few moments ago.  I was of the view that if a little is good, a lot is great.  So one of the reasons why I think I ended up where I ended up in this not-healing state is because I wasn’t giving my body a chance to clear itself out and I was flooding myself with far too many nutrients without really doing any blood work determining whether or not I really needed to be in these nutrients.  And so to answer your question, Lisa, I’m not doing that shake anymore.  I also had a lot of ingredients in the shake that were intended to raise my testosterone levels.  And obviously with the types of therapies that you’re dealing with prostate cancer, you don’t want to do that.  So I had to take all those things out of my shake.  And I just also changed my diet generally across the board, and so I kind of incorporated a lot of my new protocols or new dietary theories into a different version of that, which I now do on an intermittent basis.  And so that’s the answer to your second question.

Now let’s kind of go ahead and focus on the first part, and that is kind of about the diet generally.  Because I’m a firm believer in this whole Warburg theory on cancer and the works of you know Dom D’Agostino, and Tom Seyfried, and Travis Christofferson, and others who have really focused on cancer as a metabolic disease, and there’s a lot of stuff coming out on this now because obviously ketosis is kind of the hot thing.  I’m a firm believer that glucose is to be minimized if you want to get over cancer.  Period.  Full stop.  No further discussion necessary.  And so that definitely pushes me squarely into the ketogenic diet space because I don’t see how you could possibly do a plant-based diet and get enough fuel or energy in order to function unless you have extremely high levels of fat, and it’s hard to do in strictly plant-based diet.  Which is why most of my friends who are vegan and vegetarian end up consuming a lot of carbohydrates.  I’ve been to restaurants with them, these are great vegan restaurants here in LA and they have very tasty food, but I’m telling you, it’s nothing but carbohydrates.  And I don’t eat carbohydrates, so I walk out of those restaurants hungry every time.  That kind of forces you out of the more vegan approach to cancer and forces you more into the ketogenic, therapeutic ketogenic theory of cancer dietary modality for addressing cancer.

So, what I’ve done is I’ve kind of straddled both a little bit, and I’ve done this for intensive reasons too because I’ve read a lot of works that talk about the problems with too much animal-based protein is mainly contributor to the insulin growth factor, IGF-1.  I don’t think that eating healthy animal protein causes cancer.  I’m not one of these folks who think red meat causes cancer.  I do think eating factory farmed red meat, with factory farmed red meat fat full of factory farmed toxins in the fact could very well contribute to the, not the creation, but certainly the progression of the disease.

So obviously you want to source all your animal products from very, very clean sources.  And I do that, and others can, if you don’t have access to something locally, you can buy stuff now frozen from the mail, from all sorts of inventors.  But again, you don’t need much ’cause your body can’t assimilate more than a certain level of protein.  So you want to keep your protein down to whatever you need to kind of maintain muscle mass.  And in my case, that ends up being about three or four ounces of protein a day, of animal protein a day, which is not a lot.  I may, if I go to a nice restaurant, have a really nice prime rib.  I might do five or six ounces, but that’s rare.  When I’m eating at home, I keep the portions very small.  And then I have a ton of vegetables, which I think are great sources of fiber, which is great for the probiotics in your system, and they also have some micronutrients, but they’re a great place to put all your fat.  You need something to hold all that olive oil, or all that butter, all that wherever you get your fat from.

So I would say that my own version of the diet could be called a high fiber ketogenic diet, or perhaps a deuterium depletion diet because both the vegetable diet and a high fat diet are diets that are very low in deuterium, which I talk about briefly and I can talk about more perhaps later, but it’s a fairly new science.  It’s a hydrogen molecule that’s double the size of a normal hydrogen molecule that is found in trace amounts in the environment.  It’s in food, it’s in water, it’s in the air, it’s in the environment.  And when it gets into mitochondria, it’s much of the works.  So by depleting the amount of deuterium, you’re actually improving the function of the mitochondria, which gets back into the underlying tenure of [0:53:57] ______ protocol.  I get a lot of plant sources of fat, coconut oil, palm oil, MCT oil, avocados, I eat tons of avocado a day, olives, olive oil, nuts, et cetera, with a little bit of animal fat.  I do have butter, I do use ghee in my cooking.  I make my own Bravo yogurt out of goat milk, which I buy that’s raw.  I don’t know why I buy it raw ’cause I actually get to boil it before you make the Bravo yogurt, but that’s what I do.  It’s organic, it’s clean, comes in a glass bottle.  And I do consume carbohydrates, but they’re all from above ground vegetables.  I don’t eat any starchy carbohydrates other than when I have sushi with friends, I’ll have a little bit of rice with the sushi.  And all my animal proteins come from clean sources, mostly fish, shellfish.  I do have some ruminants and fowl, but again very much in its moderation.

And so my typical day goes something like this.  I have water to start with, about 30 to 34 ounces roughly to start with in the morning over about a two hour period.  And that’s all I have when I get up in the morning is just water, is just clean water.  I do have electrolytes, I do supplement with salt and some of the electrolytes.  Matcha green tea or coffee is what I’ll have kind of as I’m getting ready to start the day as far as work is concerned.  And the coffee, I drink at home.  I make it a version of decaf, kind of a Bulletproof decaf coffee with butter and MCT, Brain Octane.  The reason I do that decaf is because, first of all, it’s Swiss water organic, let’s be clear, decaf.  It’s not the garbage you’d buy if you went to Starbucks and asked for decaf.  The reason I do that is because coffee has that, the caffeine in the coffee has a very powerful diuretic effect and you really want to make sure your cells are being properly hydrolized.  And you can’t do that if you drinking too much caffeine ’cause you’re just peeing it out.  So if I go to a coffee shop, I would just get a regular coffee ’cause I’m not drinking that much coffee, one cup of coffee.  But if I drink coffee at home, I use decaf, but I have a large pot.

And then my first meal would usually be the Budwig blend, or my new smoothie, or a big salad if I’m out.  I go to a restaurant and get a big salad.  Or some leftovers.  And my dinners are kind of the main meal of the day.  And there I make myself a soup that’s made with bone broth and a lot of curcumin, turmeric.  I make a giant salad with steamed vegetables, add some sardines or anchovies on it, and all sort of goodies.  I cook a ton of veggies with a little bit of meat and a lot of fat.  I put olive oil and everything.  The diet, you couldn’t say what you eat in a typical day ’cause I don’t eat the same thing every day.  I do have kind of a fairly straightforward approach on a weekly basis is how I rotate through things, but I would say just take all the stuff I eat, just plan it out on the table, you’d see a big pile of vegetables, you’d see a couple of cans of coconut milk, full fat stuff, not the stuff you buy in a milk carton, you would see some ghee, you’d see some butter, you’d see some goat milk, you’d see a bunch of bone broth, you’d see maybe two cans of sardines, maybe a can of anchovies, maybe half a dozen eggs for the whole week.  I’m not just heavy on the protein, but I do have some animal-based products in there.  It’s just that I don’t have ’em everyday.

I don’t juice, to answer the question, and I think it’s probably going to end up becoming my next major project on my side is to kind of lay all the stuff out so people can understand it.  I hope that you found that informative.  And I want to thank Ben for giving me the opportunity to reach out to you.  And if you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to me.  And if you haven’t already done so, go ahead and pay a visit to my site, it’s questtocurecancer.com.  There’s a subscribe button there, just put in your e-mail address and you’ll be plugged in.  Thanks again.


Remember, you can grab the audio for today’s special Premium episode by clicking here (available as a part of 300+ additional special episodes, videos and pdf’s.).  Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Eric or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

 

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Ben Greenfield's Fully Updated Daily Habits
 

I stared out the window at the doe gently padding its way from the treeline of the forest, then across my driveway. It stopped and glanced my direction. Could it possibly hear the loud buzzing noise emanating from the modified car buffer I was massaging my head with as I stood barefoot in the kitchen, staring off into the wilderness behind my Washington state home? As the doe trailed off into the forest, I moved the car buffer from the right side of my skull to the left, gently digging into the tight craniosacral muscles at the back of the head with the rapid vibrational waves.

Why such a strange morning habit? In this case, better blood flow to my skull, a bit of a wake-me-up buzz for my head, and lower blood pressure and stress the entire remainder of the day from my relaxed neck and trapezius muscles. But my morning routine is not limited to taking a car buffer to my head – and indeed my entire day spanning into the afternoon and evening is rife with elaborate routine.

Why? Consider just a few brief snippets of the morning and daily routines of a handful of successful pop culture, historical and political icons:

“… secretary of state and president, John Quincy Adams skinny dipped in the Potomac River in the morning, always trying to see how long he could swim without touching the bottom (he got up to 80 minutes before his wife told him to stop).”

“…after putting his kids to bed, President Obama goes over briefing papers and does paperwork, and then reads a book for pleasure for a half hour before turning in…”

“…Stephen King writes every day of the year without exception beginning work between 8:00 and 8:30 am. He has a glass of water or cup of tea and takes a vitamin pill each day, ensuring he is in the same seat and his papers and desk are arranged in the same way every single day. King has a daily writing quota of two thousand words and rarely allows himself to quit until he’s reached his goal.”

“…the 31-year-old Harvard dropout and founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is well known for almost always wearing a plain gray T-shirt, saying in a 2014 interview that wearing the same shirt helps allow him to make as few decisions as possible.”

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As a matter of fact, I don’t know any successful people who do not have some kind of a relatively structured and occasionally elaborate daily routine. Heck, there’s even an entire book – a book I recommend you read – entitled “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work”. The book includes a quote from novelist Franz Kafka, who, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to his fiancee Felice Bauer in 1912…

…“time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.”

Kafka is just one of the book’s 161 great minds of history, including novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who all describe how they implement daily, often automated and slightly subconscious, rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether that be waking early or staying up late; self-medicating with a morning doughnut or a hot bath; drinking vast quantities of coffee (it is said the philosopher Voltaire consumed 40-50 cups per day), or taking long daily walks.

For example, Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his “male configurations” (and you thought my infrared light on the balls trick is strange!), philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin), ingesting ten times the recommended dose each day, and Descartes preferred to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced “every pleasure imaginable.” British author Anthony Trollope demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (at precisely 250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books, choreographer George Balanchine did most of his work while ironing, and composer and pianist George Gershwin worked for twelve hours a day from late morning to midnight, composing at the piano in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers.

While I don’t necessarily endorse establish a daily habit of beginning each morning with a doughnut or spending your entire waking hours “lingering in bed” for enhanced productivity, I do know this for a fact: not only does a daily routine provide for structure and productivity to each day, but it also gives something to fall back upon and to depend upon in times of stress, and routine serves to be a fantastic source of comfort, peace and relaxation when life gets moving too fast or become too difficult.

So to fully equip you with your own daily routine, this article will delve into many of my own morning, afternoon and evening routines that I’ve discovered to vastly enhance and optimize my own health, energy, body, brain, sleep and beyond, beginning with the most logical place to begin: the start of your day.


The Morning Ritual

Nearly ten years ago, I posted to my YouTube channel a video collection of me performing a set series of strange poses in my backyard while wearing teeny-tiny black shorts. That ten minute stretching routine was actually my very first foray into doing the same something at the beginning of each day: something that established blood flow, healthy breathwork patterns and the physical momentum that inspired me to achieve even more the rest of the day (call me crazy, but as a guy with an all-or-nothing mentality, I’m often far more inspired to hit the gym if I know I’ve already started my day with, say, 100 jumping jacks). Prior to beginning to do this morning physical routine, I would simply roll out of bed, make a quick coffee and head to work tight, tired and deoxygenated, with absolutely no clue as to how much better a morning ritual can make your day.

Since then, my morning ritual has progressed far beyond the level of just a few silly stretches in my underwear. It has, in fact, morphed into an absolutely epic series of journaling, elaborate exercises, physical twists, oils, supplements, toilet techniques and an entire host of other ridiculously complex self-care habits that I’ve managed to automate and insert into each morning while maintaining high productivity.

And I’m not complaining: not only do I absolutely love my morning routine, hopping out of bed each day with a steely determination to go check off all those items I know will make my morning that much better, but I also now know that a morning, an afternoon and an evening series of rituals, habits and routines are a healthy and fulfilling way to “bookend” sections your day (just like gratitude!). A morning ritual, in particular, allows you to prioritize all the items necessary to care for yourself and your body, your brain and your spirit at a time when your willpower, decision-making motivation and energy is high, grounding your body and mind, and even giving you something “old and reliable” to use when you’re traveling or starting your day in strange, new places.

Before you dive in, it’s important to understand that any new routine can initially feel intimidating and confusing until it becomes an automatic habit. But after two to four weeks of launching into a routine, you’ll begin adopting automation for the habits you’re about to discover without even thinking about it. You just need to stick with it each day until your new ritual or any add-ons to your existing ritual become automatic and even subconscious.

6:00-6:30-ish…

I wake. Unless I have a flight to catch, I do not use an alarm due to its ability to rip one out of deep sleep and leave the body groggy for the first hour or so of the day. If you must use an alarm, I’d recommend a natural light producing alarm clock or an alarm such as the Sleep Cycle that tracks your sleep, then wakes you in your lightest stages of sleep. This allows me to follow my body’s natural clock.

If you’re afraid you might upset a client, miss an appointment get “fired from work”, then you need to understand the importance of “zeitgeists”, which are circadian rhythm cues that let your body and brain know that it is either morning or evening. The most important such cues are A) light; B) movement; C) a meal. For example, if you desire for your wake time to be at 6 am, and you’re currently finding yourself sleeping in until 7 am, then at 6am, as close as possible to waking, you should A) get plenty of morning sunlight or use something like an ear-light “Human Charger” or eye-light “Re-Timer”; B) do morning movement between 6am and 7am and C) don’t skip breakfast, and preferably have breakfast within a couple hours after waking up. This habit works especially well when traveling outside your normal time zone.

Anyways, back to my own waking routine. Upon waking, I roll over, strap on a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor (most models work but one of the more accurate is the Viiiva brand), smear conducting gel all over the strap’s electrodes, and get a quick five minute measurement of my heart rate variability (HRV), nervous system readiness and stress using an app called NatureBeat. While I monitor my HRV, I read anything that feeds or teaches me about the spiritual disciplines I hold dear, particularly prayer, study, silence, solitude, meditation or fasting. This is usually my Bible, my “Our Daily Bread” devotional or a spiritual book, followed by completion of my daily entry into my Christian Gratitude Journal. I then take a quick 60-second glance at my Oura ring sleep data so that I can get any information I need about how any habits the night prior affected my sleep patterns, and I hop out of bed and head downstairs to the kitchen.

6:30-7:00-ish…

Once in the kitchen, I drink about 24 ounces of water, into which I typically add several goodies – most often 10 drops of lemon essential oil or a squeeze of half a lemon for alkalinity and 5 drops oil of oregano for immunity, along with a pinch of sea salt for electrolytes. As I drink this water, I take any morning supplements best consumed on an empty stomach. What I take varies depending on my goals. For example, if I have a workout planned for the morning, I’ll consume 1-2g of creatine monohydrate (the most the body can absorb at a time is around 1.5g). I’ll often also include a bit of thyroid support (my thyroid is still a bit sluggish from year of chronic cardio training for Ironman triathlon), a handful of nootropic pills such as Qualia Mind or Lion’s Mane extract, and, if I’m preparing for a competition, a handful of colostrum capsules, which are fantastic for keeping the gut lining from becoming permeable due to hard exercise in the heat. The way I describe my supplementation strategy to folks is that my supplement pantry is just like my refrigerator – even though you’ll open my refrigerator and find, say, ribeye steak, eggs, kimchi, saurkraut, mixed greens, carrots, yogurt, chia seed slurry, bone broth, mayonnaise, cucumbers and parmesan cheese, this doesn’t mean I eat all those foods every day. I simply choose the specific foods that I have on my personal “menu” for that day. The same goes for supplementation: if I’m injured, I include a joint support compound such as curcumin, if my gut is feeling under the weather, I’ll include digestive enzymes or digestif supplements such as ginger, or if I’ve been around sick kids or am hopping on an airplane, a dropperful of oregano.

After hydrating and taking my supplements, I put on the water to boil for my French Press coffee and then proceed to do my 15-minute morning movement routine. The series of moves that I perform are designed to turn on my glutes, activate my deep breathing patterns and decompress my spine. This is typically a mash-up of “Core Foundation” exercises, jumping up and down on a mini-trampoline or standing on a vibration platform (also a great way to get the bowels moving), a few choice yoga stretches and a bit of foam rolling and deep tissue work. If it’s a nice day, I’ll do all this outside into the sun in my bare feet to get the benefits of earthing or grounding along with my dose of morning sunlight.

7:00-ish…

Now fully energized, I charge back to the kitchen and grab the coffee, which, up until recently, has been caffeinated for 3 weeks, then decaffeinated for 1 week, allowing me to only be nursing a caffeine habit 75% of the time (and allow for resensitization of the adenosine receptors. And no, I do not use copious amounts of butter or MCT oil or any other form of calories. Just black coffee to keep me in my fasted state, thank you very much.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…

wait Ben: doesn’t coffee destroy your adrenals, give you the jitters, jack up cortisol and blood pressure and render you addicted to caffeine?

I’ll admit that one downside of frequent coffee consumption can be caffeine overload. Some people are fast metabolizers of caffeine, and some are slow metabolizer, and slow metabolizers tolerate far less caffeine (e.g. one cup a day) compared to fast metabolizers. You can easily test this via a 23andme genetic analysis. Or you can just listen to your body: if you start to feel that jittery feeling, you have likely reached your personal threshold for caffeine.

However, scientific evidence indicates that for the vast, general population of healthy adults, moderate caffeine intake is not associated with commonly cited adverse effects, and surprisingly, the health benefits are linearly correlated with the amount of coffee drunk. Acceptable caffeine levels for most adults with no major health issues comes out to about 4-5 mg per kg body weight and that about 400mg per day should be the max (that’s around 4-5 cups of brewed coffee, although rumor is that the philosopher Voltaire consumed more than 60 cups per day). Even low dose caffeine can improve mental performance and protect against Alzheimer’s. But acting in a similar manner to anti-depressants, high doses of caffeine (or ephedrine, ephedra, guarana, Ritalin, and any other central nervous system stimulant) can flood the brain with excitatory neurotransmitters, creating neurotransmitter resistance or long-term receptor damage.

The solution I’ve implemented in the past and alluded to above for not being overcaffeinated? Simple.

For seven to ten days out of every month, I pull out a bag of swiss-water processed decaffeinated ground coffee and make myself a piping hot, muddy black cup of decaf as a substitute for regular. Here’s why this works: people who use frequently use coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks actually change their brain’s chemistry and physical characteristics over time. Because it is both water and fat soluble, caffeine can easily cross your blood-brain barrier, and as you dump more and more caffeine into your body, your brain cells actually grow an excess of receptors for an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine causes feelings of tiredness, but the structure of caffeine closely resembles adenosine – so caffeine can easily fit into your brain cells’ receptors for adenosine. See what I mean below?

With its receptors constantly plugged up by caffeine, adenosine can no longer bind to those receptors and cause the feeling of tiredness. Unfortunately, your body’s response is to create more and more adenosine receptors, so you eventually need more and more caffeine to block the feeling of tiredness. Then, over time, you build up a tolerance to caffeine’s ability to achieve this effect.

The good news is that to kick a caffeine habit and “reset” your adenosine receptors, you only need to get through about 7-12 days of caffeine avoidance, which is why in the past, I’ve recommended that you should consider keeping a bag of decaf coffee or decaf tea handy and taking a week-long break from coffee about once every one to two months. This allows you to tap into the wonderful aroma, taste, social benefits and bowel-moving glory of a hot morning beverage without exhausting your neurotransmitters.

But my recommendations have since changed, and I’m really not using quite as much decaf. Why?

It comes down to the roasting process of the coffee that I now use. Roasting involves some pretty complicated science: it literally involves taking a substance that has 300 volatile aromatic compounds and converting it into a substance with over 1000 volatile aromatic compounds. As you can imagine, this comes down to a lot more than simply tossing a metal bucket of coffee beans into a giant oven.

Why is the roasting process so important when it comes to your health and adrenals, and the purity of the coffee you drink? Think about this: even the highest quality coffee beans contain a substance called acrylamide, which has been known to cause cancer in animals. Most roasters work to roast the hell out of the coffee bean to eradicate this substance, but this dark roast process will often introduce other cancer-causing chemicals. For example, at high temperatures, roasting produces Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and results in the burnt flavor that so many coffees are known for. Taste is also a factor: taking out the beans before they’re too well-done preserves things like citric acid and malic acids, which provide orange and apple flavors. But leaving the beans in long enough to develop sweeter flavors like caramel, cacao and vanilla is also important! And if you leave the beans in too long? Burnt charcoal-ey carbon flavor. Ew.

But if a smokeless roasting process is used (this is pretty rare in the industry, but a few folks still do it), it obliterates acrylamide without sacrificing the numerous antioxidants found in coffee or creating PAHs. In addition, and most important the caffeine issue, this allows for a coveted sweet spot between a dense amount of antioxidants with only a low-to-moderate amount of caffeine. Compare your coffee to a nice cut of beef: you wouldn’t blast a filet mignon to well-done – you’d instead gently cook to a tasty and tender medium-rare for the ultimate combination of taste and health.

In other words, with a medium roast and a smokeless roasting process, you can get all the benefits of coffee, without all the issues of adrenal exhaustion and the jitters. You can have your cup and sip it too, baby. 

Anyways…we digress.

While I drink my coffee, I do a bit of light morning reading, usually blogs or research articles. I stay far, far away from e-mail, social media and anything that would stress me out at this time of day. If I’m outside, then I’m already in the sunlight. But if I’m in the basement gym, I flip on the lights, which are powered by a special kind of bulb called “Awake And Alert“. These bulbs crank out massive amounts of blue light, and this is why, if the day is gray, I’ll head to the gym rather than the backyard patio for a massive dose of light. Remember: light is a good circadian rhythm cue.

7:15-ish…

So I’ll let you in on a little secret: I only poop once-a-day. That’s right – I get it all out of the way with one massive toilet trip first thing in the morning. There’s just something I don’t like about walking around during the current day with the previous day’s majority of solid waste still inside me.

I’ve pretty much got the morning poo down to a science. I stroll into the bathroom, hop onto my Squatty Potty then shift, shimmy and shake until everything is out. I’ve personally found that with about a half-teaspoon of the ayurvedic herb Triphala at night along with 400mg of magnesium citrate and that piping hot cup of morning black coffee, I can poo like clockwork right about this time every morning.

Typically, while on the toilet, I do indeed have my phone, and I scroll through emails and Facebook (yep, you know it and you’ve done it yourself once or twice I’d imagine), read any of my bathroom books and magazines, and just chill out until everything is expulsed. This is generally an oh-so-glorious 15-20 minutes. I walk out of that experience with a big satisfied smile on my face. In addition, every Wednesday, to increase the health of my liver, my gallbladder and my colon, I give myself a coffee enema, which is far simpler than you’d think.

7:30-ish…

I hang out with my twin boys before they head to the bus stop. We talk about their sleep, their dreams, their morning journaling, breakfast, and the day’s activities. Then they’re off until 4:00 pm, which gives me 8 hours of extreme productivity. My day’s goal is always to be finished up with all my hard, focused “deep work” by the time the boys get home, so we have plenty of time for afternoon workouts, adventures and fun father-son activities.

8:15-ish…

I complete 30 minutes of fasted morning movement. I prefer to ease myself into the morning with simple exercise, rather than a brutal morning sufferfest, and you can learn why in my last article on sleep patterns and circadian rhythm. The morning exercise varies a bit from day-to-day based on how my body is feeling but is generally comprised of some form of yoga, deep tissue and mobility work, infrared sauna, a sunshine walk, or an easy swim. I always finish any of these routines with a quick cold shower or cold plunge.

9:00-ish…

Optional breakfast. If I’ve eaten a late night dinner or large evening meal the night prior, I skip breakfast, and often simply have a second cup of coffee. With very little exception, on the days that I do eat breakfast, I make either A) a “big-ass” green smoothie (see below) or B) my famous “healthy Wendy’s frosty smoothie”. During breakfast or while sipping my second coffee, I surf through blogs, read research, review the day’s calendar of activities, and wipe smoothie goodness off my face.

For choice A)…to a decent blender such as a VitamixBlendtec or Ninja, add:

-A huge bunch of organic greens such as a spring mix, kale, spinach, bok choy, or mustard greens.

-Some kind of herb. Cleansing herbs like parsley, cilantro or thyme are nice. Preferably get ‘em fresh.

-Half an avocado, or a whole one if I anticipate a high calorie, high activity day.

-4-6oz of full-fat coconut milk that is BPA free or organic bone broth. The less liquid you use, the thicker your smoothie will be. I prefer an extremely thick smoothie that I can eat with a spoon so that the digestive enzymes in my mouth can work on pre-digesting before the food even makes it to my gut. Like my mother always said, “Chew your liquids and drink your solids.”

-2 teaspoons organic cacao powder.

-2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon

-1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt (I use the fancy Aztecan stuff).

-1 tablespoon MCT oil, extra virgin olive oilavocado oil, or coconut oil.

OK, stop there. Blend everything above for 60 seconds-ish. You don’t want to pulverize later additions such protein powder, collagen, etc., and you also don’t want to pulverize the chunky chunks of goodness you’re about to toss in.

Now, let’s keep going. To your blended green goodness, now add:

-15-30g of a “clean” protein powder with no added fillers or artificial sweeteners. If you choose a vegan source such as pea, hemp, or rice, you can break open a few digestive enzyme capsules into your smoothie to increase the bioavailability of the protein.

-For additional joint, skin and muscle support (especially if you don’t use bone broth as your liquid base) add 2 teaspoons of a good organic collagen hydrolysate.

Now blend again. Quickly this time so that you don’t pulverize the chunks. About 15 seconds will do.
Finally, stir (don’t blend) one or a mix of the following ingredients:

-1 small handful organic dark cacao nibs

-1 handful organic unsweetened coconut flakes

-1 handful organic spirulina or chlorella tablets

-1 handful of unroasted, non-vegetable-oil coated nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts or, if you can find them, my favorite: Baru nuts.

Boom. That’s it. You’re now ready to begin consuming your smoothie, preferably with a spoon or a spatula. I personally use an enormous mug with the inspirational “Man In The Arena” quote from Theodore Roosevelt. Depending on how exact your measurements are, this smoothie is going to weigh in at anywhere from 600-1000 calories, so scale yours accordingly if you want fewer calories.

The two morning supplements that I consistently swallow before diving into this smoothie are best taken before or with a meal are 10-20g of a good fish oil (I use the brand Superessentials) and a serving of a good multivitamin (I use the “Thorne AM/PM” formula).

Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention that I occasionally – especially when my wife and children are gone and I’m free to get as weird as I want with my diet – break the mold of my daily routine and instead implement what I call “The Ultimate Biohacked Diet”. A blend of ancestral foods blended with modern science, it includes skipping lunch and incorporating a neural-enhancing, ego-dissolving dietary approach comprised of the following groups:

Major calories and nutrients:

Meatwild-caught fishbone broth, bitter greens and wild plants – some of the most nutrient-dense food groups you can easily find.

Beverages:

Black and green tea, red wine and coffee – all chock full of antioxidants and longevity-enhancing compounds.

Supplements:

Exogenous ketonesfish oilcreatineessential amino acids

Nootropics: Micro-doses of psilocybin blended with Lion’s Mane and niacin (a mind-bending, productivity-enhancing, brain-spinning stack made popular by mushroom expert and mycology researcher Paul Stamets)

Here’s how a sample day looks on this diet:

-Morning supplements: creatinefish oilmushroom stack

-Breakfast: Salmon and dandelion greens with green tea

-Snack: One cup of bone broth.

-Lunch: Fasting – black coffee only.

-Pre-workout: Exogenous ketones and essential amino acids.

-Dinner: Celebration of a day of hard work with a bone-in grass-fed ribeye steak accompanied by red wine and nettle leaves or some other handful of wild plants.

So that’s it: the “Ultimate Biohacked Diet”. I’ve found this blend to work quite well on cognitively demanding days when I’m at home, when my wife and children are gone, and when I need to buckle down and tackle a good 12-16 hours of deep work, which I occasionally do.

9:30-ish…

The workday officially begins.


The Afternoon Ritual

9:30-ish-1:00-ish…

Breakfast finished, shards of green smoothie and spirulina often still lodged in my teeth, it is now time for work to commence. At this point, I am supercharged with nutrients and caffeine, and I’m ready and raring to launch into the morning’s activities, which will involve approximately four hours of “Deep Work” (the book by Cal Newport of the same name does a fantastic job explaining why the maximum amount of time the average human can spend immersed in deep, focused, productive work is approximately four to five hours). As I learned from a “Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire”, one’s most attention-demanding, left-brained tasks should be performed during your what is called “peak hours”, while the most creativeness-demanding, right-brained tasks should be performed during “non-peak hours”. Based on the results from my questionnaire, my own personal peak hours occur from about 9:30 am until 1:00 pm, and so I choose this time for my daily deep work session.

During these peak hours, I am like a horse with blinders, completely focused on my primary tasks for the day. I do not snack on anything but sparkling water with a few drops of stevia added (or a couple cans of Zevia soda), I do not answer my phone, I do not text message, I disable all push notifications on the computer and phone, and if I am working while traveling or at a coffee shop or shared workspace, I put in headphones (often playing Brain.FM focus tracks).

During this time, I alternate from seated to standing to lunging to kneeling to lying, etc. exactly as I outline in my last article on how to hack your workplace. Admittedly, I feel that a great deal of my productivity and hyperfocus is due to the fact that I have “hacked” my home office environment to be as natural as possible, with no brain-fog inducing dirty electricity, no WiFi (everything is hardwired with shielded Cat-6 ethernet cable), no stand-up desk motors or treadmill motors, a HEPA air filter, a hydrogen-rich water generator and many other “building biology” tactics you in my quick e-book How To Biohack The Ultimate Healthy Home. I also use only biologically friendly, low-flicker lightbulbs and computer monitors, diffuse pine or evergreen essential oil via desktop air diffuser, and keep a variety of NASA approved air filtering plants such as Weeping FigPeace Lily and Boston Fern scattered throughout both the office and the rest of the home. In other words, it’s like I’m working on a pristine Himalayan mountaintop, without the wind chill factor.

Although I work in one long intense session of four hours, which is primarily comprised of writing, recording, editing and phone or Skype consults, I take brief breaks throughout for quick exercise bursts, stretches and eye care. Technically, if I wanted to be ultra-scientific with these breaks, I would incorporate the research-based Pomodoro timing of “52 minutes on, 17 minutes off”, but frankly, I’ve found that my own personal preferences and productivity work best with 25 minutes on and 5 minutes off. As a matter of fact, I keep a device on my desk called a “NanoVi”, which circulates DNA-repairing air that has been infused with small amounts of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS’s), and I simply turn this on for 25 minutes. When it shuts off, it serves as my reminder to begin my 5-minute break. During these breaks, in addition to exercises such as jumping jacks, burpees, kettlebell swings or mini-trampoline jumping, I reset my visual balance by stepping out my office door or gazing out my office window and focusing my eyes on a series of close trees, more distant trees, the far horizon, the sun, and any moving objects such as cars or birds. A nifty program I have installed on my computer called “Iris” can remind you to do this. This software also reduces light, glare and flicker from a computer screen and can also be set up to remind you to take your Pomodoro breaks at whatever timing and frequency you desire.

1:30-ish…

Once I’ve slammed shut my laptop and turned off my working brain, the very first thing I then do is take a deep breath, listen to my body, and assess whether the day is a “nap day”. If I am coming off a non-taxing day of exercise the day before, it’s an easy recovery day, I have completed at least five 90 minute sleep cycles the night before (as mentioned in my sleep article here), or I’m simply not tired, I will typically forego my usual post-lunch nap.

But most days, I nap. So just before lunch, I consume something that will help me wind my busy mind down and decrease cortisol so that I can more quickly fall asleep after lunch. My afternoon napping weapon of choice is Inner Peace, which is a blend of Chinese herbal adaptogens, along with two packets of Four Sigmatic Reishi extract. I take both of these just before lunch, along with a digestive enzyme or more lemon juice in water if I feel as though the morning of work has created excessive stress that could threaten to impair my ability to digest lunch optimally.

Then, based on the Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine principles of dietary variation, best learned in the book “Returning To An Ancestral Diet” by my friend Dr. Michael Smith), I choose one of two lunches: a cold, big-ass salad if it’s a hot spring or summer day or more warming “stir-fry” if it’s a cold fall or winter day.

My entire lunch – and frankly, every meal I eat each day – is highly focused on the concept of…

…”glycemic variability.”

In a nutshell, as you learn more about in this article I wrote on blood sugar control, glycemic variability (also known as “GV”) refers to blood glucose oscillations that occur throughout the day, including hypoglycemic periods and postprandial (after a meal) increases, as well as blood glucose fluctuations that occur at the same time on different days. In plain speak, glycemic variability basically refers to how much your blood sugar bounces around at any given point in your life. When it comes to your health, it is, in my opinion, a more important variable to consider than cholesterol, vitamin D, minerals, telomere length, cortisol, testosterone or just about any biomarker one could ever measure (except, perhaps, inflammation, which I would rank right up there with glycemic variability).

Based on this concept of glycemic variability, and also based on the concept that to reduce decision making fatigue and to reduce dietary variation (e.g. not knowing how many calories you’re eating because your meals fluctuate so much) my lunchtime salad is focused on herbs and digestifs that enhance my own insulin response to the meal, along with limitation of both starches and high amounts of protein.

On most days, I add a handful of wild plants or organic produce, such as arugula, nettle, spinach, thyme, cilantro, parsley, etc. to a large bowl (it’s eerily similar to my smoothie, but the plants are in a bowl rather than a blender jar). Over the plants, I lay a bed of lightly sauteed Japanese shirataki noodles (they’re zero calories and zero carbohydrates harvested from Japanese yams)- along with one can of sardines (or occasionally a couple lightly scrambled eggs on the days I don’t feel like fish) and a choice number of oils, herbs and spices such fennel seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, cayenne and turmeric. If I want extra calories, I then top with half a sliced avocado, a slice of a good, hard fermented cheese such as Pecorino or a soft cheese such as goat cheese, or a handful of walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, or any other seed or nut option. Usually, rather than eating my salad with a fork, I eat my entire salad wrapped up like a burrito in a nori seaweed wrap. The size of my salad typically necessitates two seaweed wraps, which basically turns my entire lunch into two big-ass vegetable-sardine burritos. And that’s lunch, folks. I can make it in ten minutes flat, it tastes amazing, and if you haven’t yet tried this salad method, you are, in my opinion, missing out on a crucial component of your culinary existence.

As for the “warm” version of this lunch that I eat in the fall and winter when I don’t desire the intense cooling effect of oodles of raw vegetables and instead want something hot? It’s quite simple, really: I prepare essentially the identical salad I described above, but I toss it all into a cast iron skillet and lightly saute for about ten minutes. I then toss back into the bowl and eat the same way I eat my salad: using nori wraps as a hand-roll style delivery mechanism. Whether I’m eating this or the salad, I make sure to chew each bite 20-25 times to enhance digestion and to further improve glycemic variability.

Many folks have raised an eyebrow at my claims that I personally eat a couple dozen portions of plants each day, but as you can see, it’s totally possible to do with a breakfast smoothie, a lunchtime salad and a few choice vegetables with dinner.

Then, with olive oil and tomato juice drizzling down my chin from wrapping my salad or stir-fry contents burrito-style in a nori wrap, I generally eat outside in the sunshine on my porch or inside at my kitchen table, either listening to an audiobook or podcast, reading a magazine, watching an instructional video on YouTube (e.g. cooking, guitar, documentary clips, etc.) or doing anything else that is relatively non-stressful.

2:15-ish…

My post-lunch napping routine is a science honed down over years of practice, and I can now fall asleep within five minutes and wake completely refreshed. In addition to the Inner Peace and Reishi I mentioned earlier, my napping process is as follows:

Step 1: Unfold and plug-in Biomat on the floor of my office, bedroom, living room, or wherever else I plan on sleeping. This thing generates teddy bear-esque, warming, infrared heat that immediately calms my brain and body, and based on my own HRV testing, causes an immediate upregulation of my parasympathetic nervous system. If I’ve been traveling and am jetlagged, I’ll occasionally nap on the PulseCenters PEMF table instead, which is very good for lowering inflammation but doesn’t provide the relaxing warmth of the Biomat.

Step 2: Pull on Normatec gradated compression boots, which give me a full toe-to-thigh leg massage while I’m napping.

Step 3: On my smartphone, open Brain.FM napping app and place SleepStream app in “Power Nap” binaural beats mode with “Sleepstream Mix” as white noise in the background. You must wear headphones for this to work properly, and because people are still active in my home while I’m napping, I use a good set of Bose noise-blocking headphones.

Step 4: Put on SleepMaster wraparound sleep mask, which generously covers both eyes and ears.

Step 5: Turn on essential oil diffuser with lavender or any other relaxing scent.

That may seem complex, but it only takes me about two minutes to set all this up (remember: every ritual and routine in your day will eventually become automatic and slightly subconscious, just like your daily commute), and once my head hits the pillow, I’m out for a good 25-50 minutes of the afternoon. If your napping time is limited, you will be pleased to know that the Power Nap setting on the Sleepstream app will allow for adjustments of 10 minutes up to infinity, gently lulling you back into a wakeful state without any harsh alarms. The Brain.FM app also has a power nap setting.

2:45-ish…

The best part about taking an afternoon nap is that it gives you a “second day”. As soon as my eyes pop open, I’m groggy for about five to ten minutes, and then, typically after doing 100 jumping jacks and chomping on a nicotine toothpicknicotine mint, spoonful of black ant extract or some other quick, fast-acting cognitive pick-me-up I’m back in action. At this point in the day, I usually have a solid 75 minutes to “kill” before my sons arrive home from school.

So that I can spend quality, undistracted time with my kids, my goal is to be completely finished with any focused time-consuming tasks or fires that need putting out before throw open the front door and come running down to my office to present me with their latest project, new book or exciting discover.

Since my peak morning hours are now over, I typically devote this time of the day to my more reactive tasks, including:

-diving into the email inbox

-checking text messages, WhatsApp messages, important Voxer audios

-working on pieces that still need “tying up” from the morning work, such as finishing podcast shownotes or adding links to articles I’ve written.

Most of these activities tend to follow Parkinson’s Rule, which dictates that tasks will expand to the time you allot to them. Because I only allow a maximum of 75 minutes for these activities, they don’t wind up taking too much precious time, and I fly through them with maximum efficiency. If I have any time left over, I’ll jot down a few notes, open appropriate browser windows or skeleton out book chapters, magazine articles, podcast shownotes, blog posts or other copywriting tasks in anticipation of the next morning’s deep work session.

4:00-ish…

The boys arrive home from school, and now the fun begins. See, I’m a firm believer in challenging the human body and brain with novel movements and new learning challenges. Furthermore, my education philosophy is that an ideal one-two combo for a child is that they be given the opportunity to learn formal educational concepts such as reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, history, etc. from a tutor or teacher who is best equipped to teach them those materials, and that in that same school scenario, they also learn how to play well with others, how to be a good little “factory worker”, team player and cooperative group participant who works well with others.

When they arrive home from school, the parenting role is then not to assume the child has learned “everything they need to know at school”, but to instead immerse the child in less traditional schooling activities that teach them how to be a resilient, independent, free-spirited thinker, along with exposing them to hobbies, discoveries and interests they may not otherwise have been exposed to at school, including activities like hunting, plant foraging, meditation, fringe sports, new workouts, etc.

So a typical hour to hour and a half of activity with my kids after they’ve arrived home from school often includes:

-Shooting bows

-Playing basketball in the driveway

-Long walks with breath-holding and nasal breathing practices

-Plant foraging hikes

-Creating tinctures, oils and lotions from wild plants

-Slacklining

-Rope climbing and playing on the obstacle course

-Riding bikes, skateboards and scooters

-Sauna and cold

This part of the day is never the same. Some days, the kids walk in the door, grab a snack, then head back out for an extracurricular activity such as piano lessons or a playdate with their schoolmates and I’m left with an extra chunk of time for work. Some days, I’m “under the gun” to finish an article or work on a business project and must sacrifice this time for a quick snuggle with the kids and a focus on more quality time at our family dinner and bedtime later in the day. But most days, the late afternoon is set aside for the type of activities above.

5:30-ish…

Based on your built-in chronobiology discussed in my last big article on sleep, it’s in the afternoon when your body temperature peaks, your post-workout protein synthesis peaks, your reaction time peaks, a second rise in testosterone peaks and your overall ability to handle a difficult workout session peaks – making the latter half of the day a perfect time to throw down the day’s most demanding amount of physical activity. I’ve found this approach to be far superior to working out hard in the morning, when your body already has produced a natural surge of cortisol and when you’re far more likely to engage in post-workout compensatory eating and just sitting on your ass during the workday because you crushed a 5 am WOD.

Being the quintessential “biohacker” that I am, along with my hyperproductive mentality to achieve the minimum effective dose of exercise while maintaining maximum amounts of fitness, my afternoon or early evening workout is what I call a “Weird Workout”.

What do I mean by “Weird Workout”? While I can often be found running through the outside forest, climbing ropes, hauling sandbags, carrying rocks, flipping tires, riding my bicycle, swimming, trail running or spending time in nature for my workout routine, if I’m not in training for a specific event such an obstacle race or triathlon, my time is limited or I’m in an intensive season of writing, working or building Kion, I will definitely use specific biohacks to enhance the efficiency of my workout and squeeze a huge amount of fitness-building into a very short period of time.

For example, a typical Weird Workout for me would involve:

-15 minutes of hypoxic/hyperoxic training on my bicycle, which is set up next to a LiveO2 unit that allows me to switch between hypoxia (low oxygen) and hyperoxia (high oxygen) as I work through a series of short, explosive sprints. This exposes my body to the mitochondrial building equivalent of spending an entire 24 hours in a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber or going on a 3-hour bike ride but squeezes it all into a brief 15-minute window.

-15 minutes “single-set-to-failure” training. After a hypoxic/hyperoxic training session, I’ll then move on to perform 60-90 seconds of an isometric contraction to complete failure by using a special force plate called a “PeakFitPro“, which pairs to my phone and allows me to completely exhaust a muscle group during one single, difficult set. A typical workout would include bench press, pulldown, overhead press, deadlift and squat. Doug McGuff’s book Body By Science does a good job explaining how this approach develops both cardiovascular fitness and strength simultaneously while resulting in a very large surge of post-workout growth hormone (which is enhanced even more by the fact that I do not eat anything for 2-3 hours following my afternoon workout). Sometimes, I’ll use something called an “X3 Bar” to do the same thing with a series of heavy-duty elastic bands that are attached to a special rotating bar that simulates an Olympic lifting barbell. Other times, I opt for a more hybrid bodyweight/kettlebell approach using the “Neuro-Mass” system by Jon Bruney. I’ve found PeakFitPro isometric training, X3 bar elastic band training and Neuro-Mass training to all be very effective modes of strength training with the minimum effective dose of exercise.

-15 minutes infrared sauna finisher. To boost red blood cell production and nitric oxide production, and to further enhance cardiovascular adaptations to the workout above, I’ll often finish things off with a sweat and several ELDOA and Core Foundation moves in a full spectrum infrared sauna.

You do the math. That’s 45 minutes total, and includes better living through science and fun, cool tools to gain big breakthroughs in fitness in a relatively short period of time and the ability to simultaneously build important fitness parameters such as strength, power, muscle, mitochondria, cardiovascular endurance and VO2 max all in one fell swoop. When combined with an active workday in which I take frequent breaks for movements such as kettlebell swings, hex bar deadlifts, burpees and jumping jacks, I can keep myself in very, very good shape with just 3-4 hours per week of formal training using the scenario I’ve just described.

Of course, I understand that a LiveO2 system, a PeakFitPro, an X3 bar, or an infrared sauna cost a chunk of change. But look at it this way: if you’re biohacking on a budget, you can simulate these type of workouts with less expensive equipment.

For example, if you’re on a budget or on the go, you can easily try 10 rounds of a 30-second sprint with a TrainingMask on, with each round followed by a 30-second recovery with the mask off. Then you move on to a super slow 60 seconds up, 60 seconds down repeat of pushup, pullup, overhead press, deadlift and squat. Then finish up with an extremely hot soak in a hot tub, a dry sauna or a steam room at the gym. Everything I’ve just described is very similar to how I tackle my more intense workouts while traveling with limited equipment or gym access.

One other very important consideration if you’re a parent, know a parent or plan on being one: my boys often join me in parts of my early evening workout routines, and in these cases, the workout is sometimes a bit different. Why do I go through the trouble and often, the distraction, of including my children in these workouts? In my book “10 Ways To Grow Tiny Superhumans“, I detail the results of a fascinating study at the University of Essex that investigated the perception of children about their parents’ activity levels. In the study, researchers asked schoolchildren to rate how active they thought their parents were. Then they had those children complete a test of their own cardio fitness. In this case, they used a “beep” test, which is a common way to measure basic fitness levels.

What researchers found was that the likelihood of the child having greater fitness based on their performance on the bleep test was directly influenced by how active that child perceived their parents to be. In other words, kids who were under the impression that their parents didn’t exercise very much, did not appear themselves to be exercising very much. This resulted in a dramatic decrease in their fitness compared to peers who rated their parents more highly in the physical fitness department.

This means that no matter their age, kids really do pay attention to and mimic their parents. So a big step to getting your kids fit is to be an example yourself. It makes a much bigger difference than you may think. Because of this, I’ll often weave in routines such as:

1. Body Weight Workout:
-20 feet backward and forward crabwalks with kid riding on waist
-20 reps overhead child presses with squat
-20 feet bear crawls with kid on back
-10 pushups with kid on back
-20 feet crocodile crawls with kid on back
-10 arm curls holding kid upside down by their legs

2. Pool Workout:
-2 lengths underwater swimming with kid on back
-2 lengths doggy paddle with kid on back
-20 reps pool pullouts with kid on back
-2 minutes treading water with kid on back

3. Kids “Mini-Version” of My Workout:
-I sprint hill in weighted vest, kids sprint hill weight-free
-I do 10 reps barbell squat, kids do 10 reps bodyweight squat
-I do 10 reps barbell deadlift, kids do 10 reps sandbag deadlift
-I do 10 reps kettlebell swing, kids do 10 reps smaller kettlebell swing
-I do 30 burpees, kids do 10 burpees
-I spend 30 minutes in infrared sauna, kids join me for first 10 minutes

You get the idea. Sure, sometimes my workout simply isn’t conducive to including children, such as when I’m training for an obstacle course race or triathlon that dictates a 40% incline walk on treadmill for 45 minutes or a hammerfest bike session in the hills behind the house or one of those “Weird Workouts”, but I try to save these “adults-only” focused solo workouts for when the boys have some kind of post-school activity such as tennis, Awanas, piano lessons, etc.

7:00-7:45ish…

By this time of the evening, my workout is typically done, which important, because – as you can read about in my last big article on sleep – you should finish any intense workouts at least three hours prior to bedtime so that cortisol subsides and your core cools for better deep sleep cycles.

Because I highly value my family dinners and don’t want to be distracted by work or thoughts racing through my mind later on in the evening, I spend this last forty-five minutes of my day, prior to my evening routine:

  1. Putting out any last minute workout fires, taking one final deep dive into the email inbox, getting any brainstorms, thought streams, ideas, tasks, to-do’s and other distractions out of my head and onto a document or calendar on my computer.
  2. Spending at least twenty minutes writing in my fantasy fiction book series.

During this time, nearly seven days a week, I’m typically vaporizing herbs, essential oils and loose-leaf teas, while simultaneously sipping on a glass of organic, biodynamic red wine from a giant fish-bowl size glass or a homemade Moscow Mule from a copper mug.

For those of you unfamiliar with vaporizing: one nifty trick I learned from friend and health pioneer Paul Chek is that by using a vaporizer in a very non-traditional way, one can get a dose of uplifting nicotine form organic tobacco, along with a lung-based delivery of a host of other compounds that can instantly act for either stimulation and relaxation, depending on the blend you pick.

For example, one pick-me-up blend I use in the “Da Buddha” vaporizer that sits on my desk is organic tobacco, dried and ground green tea leaves, and a couple drops of cinnamon or frankincense essential oils. For a more relaxing blend, I’ll use a relaxing indica cannabis strain, dried and ground chamomile tea leaves, and a small sprinkling of lavender essential oil. It’s plenty of fun to come up with your own recipes, but here are a few ideas to get your brain spinning:

-Peppermint leaves or oil: Improves blood circulation, raises alertness and clears the lungs and respiratory passages.

-Gotu Kola leaves or extract: Sharpens memory and concentration.

-Skullcap or Hops: Mild sedative with a calming effect. Skullcap also good for headaches, which makes me wonder if that’s why it’s named that.

-Wild Oat: Reduces mental tension and anxiety.

-Cloves: Reduces food cravings.

-Primrose: Helps heal lung damage from smoking.

-Chamomile: Antidepressant, relaxation and sleep.

-Ginger Root: Good for indigestion or stomach cramps, or pre-meal as a digestif.

-Marijuana: Indica strain good for relaxation, sativa strain good as a pick-me-up.

Whatever you choose, be sure to select herbicide and pesticide free leaves and plants. I do indeed recommend the Da Buddha vaporizer due to its ability to offer a variety of temperature settings for the strains and blends that you choose. You can learn more about the benefits of vaporizing in my Q&A podcast where I discuss vaporizing essential oils.

Why do I also choose this time of day to drink? Three main reasons, really.

First, I love the taste of wine, but I’m also well aware that alcoholic drinks and the fructose and other sugars therein can make you fat if you consume them in a fed state, so I instead consume my daily glass of wine in a “fasted” state post-workout (vs., say, having a big glass of wine during dinner or after stuffing my face with dinner). In this post-workout situation, the fructose sugars in the wine simply help to replenish my liver glycogen stores (muscles do not contain the enzyme to store fructose as glycogen, but the liver does), and the glucose and sucrose sugars are far less likely to spend significant amounts of time in my bloodstream. It’s important to realize that calories from alcohol must be preferentially burnt by your body prior to any calories from carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and that alcohol also inhibits fatty acid oxidation, so drinking on an empty stomach trumps drinking with dinner for this reason and also because – let’s face it – if you’re drinking to destress and induce a bit of a happy head high, it’s far easier to accomplish on an empty stomach.

The other compound I’ll often consume during this final workout of the day is essential amino acids (EAA’s). If my workout has included any eccentric, muscle-damaging activities such as running or weight training, I pop 10-20 grams of EAA’s, which help drastically with muscle repair and avoidance of tissue catabolism, but don’t contain many calories, so they keep me in a post-workout, relatively fasted state that boosts my natural testosterone and growth hormone.

So that’s how the afternoon ends these days: a final head-clearing session performed while sipping wine, munching on amino acids and vaping odd supernutrients.

But wait, Ben! What about what happens after 7:45 pm? Dinner macronutrient ratios? Sleep routines? Evening hacks? Making love? Black-out curtains? Epic fireside dance routines?

Let’s find out, shall we?


The Evening Ritual

8:00 pm-9:00 pm-ish…

At this point in the day, I emerge from the office to help prepare dinner and to assemble the family for our evening meal. Yes, we are absolutely a late dinner family. While we do indeed eat together as a family most nights of the week, we’ve simply found that in our household, it works best to save dinner for later in the day, after nearly everything else is complete.

Since my entire family is on board with the concept that snacking and grazing is overrated and that three square meals a day is about the most that you need to keep your metabolism elevated, nobody in the family really creates any grief over waiting a long time for dinner. I’ll readily admit that I’ve seen plenty of evidence that eating a large meal too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep but, fact is, there’s only so much time in the day, and I’d personally rather sit down to a meal completely de-stressed after having accomplished all my tasks for the day rather than eat dinner early just to get that extra one percentage of deep sleep. In addition, because I fast most mornings until at least mid-morning, this typically shifts my entire meal pattern forward just slightly anyways.

When we do sit down for dinner, unless it is a very special “movie night” (about once a month), or we’ve decided to watch a cooking or travel TV show, we go completely screen and device free for dinner, and typically play a board game, spark table topic conversations with questions such as “What Superhero Would You Want Here At Dinner With Us?” or “Where Would You Travel If You Could Snap Your Fingers And Transport Us Anywhere Right Now?”, chat about the day, discuss what it is that we learned in our morning devotionals, and name what it is that we were grateful for that day.

As a rule, dinner is nearly always the most carbohydrate-rich meal of the day, and I typically, depending on the day’s level of physical activity, will typically eat 100-150g (400-600 calories) of carbohydrates with dinner. The concept here is that while carbohydrates will indeed spike insulin, as long as your muscle glycogen stores are not full (as will be the case at the end of an active day, and especially at the end of the day that includes a hard workout in the afternoon or early evening) the insulin will drive carbohydrates into muscle tissue, not into fat tissue. John Kiefer explains this concept quite thoroughly in his “Carb Backloading” book. In addition, consuming carbohydrates with dinner allows for a slight spike in serotonin levels, which can assist with sleep, especially in highly active individuals.

For blood glucose control, I consume bitter melon extract capsules (which act very similarly to the diabetic drug Metformin) prior to dinner every night, and will often take a larger dose (3-4 capsules), if the dinner is very large in carbohydrate content (e.g. 100g+) or if I’m going to a restaurant or a party where I do not know exactly what I’m going to be eating or I anticipate high carbohydrate intake. You can discover plenty more about my tactics for controlling blood sugar, and why I’m a big fan of digestifs or bitters prior to a meal, in my blog post entitled “The Ultimate Guide To Biohacking Your Blood Sugar Levels (And Why Sugar Sometimes Isn’t Bad”.

The homemade Moscow Mule I referred to earlier is a perfect example of a digestif. Over a copper mug full of ice, I add a touch of ginger beer, half a shot of gin or vodka, the squeeze of half a lemon or lime, several fresh mint leaves, a pinch of sea salt and a sprinkling of any cocktail bitters I happen to have around. If I haven’t had that to drink during my evening work hours, I will either take a few digestive enzyme capsules prior to dinner or even put a few drops of a digestive essential oil such as peppermint or “Digize” into a glass of water.

So what exactly do we eat for dinner here in the Greenfield house?

As you’ve already read, I eat nearly the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch each day, but dinner tends to be the most varied meal of the day and is a chance for the ultimate foodie to try new recipes, new meals or even new restaurants. Making dinner the most complex or random meal of the day also allows for the fact that dinner is often the perfect meal to place yourself into social situations, be surrounded by friends and family, and celebrate the end of a productive, hard-working day.

Typically, dinner includes A) an organic meat or protein source such as sauteed wild-caught fish, barbecued grass-fed beef, fried pastured eggs, roasted chicken or grilled pork; B) a carbohydrate such as beets, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, slow-fermented sourdough bread, quinoa, amaranth or millet; C) a fat such as a hard parmesan, soft goat cheese, avocado, extra virgin olive oilavocado oil mayonnaise, bone broth, grass-fed butter or a homemade gravy or sauce; D) herbs and spices such as turmeric, cayenne, ginger, thyme, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, mint, paprika, sea salt and black pepper.

Contrary to what many folks seem to assume (since I’m a hunter and often hang out with the Paleo crowd), we actually don’t eat meat every night, especially red meat, and I personally only have a hefty portion of meat once every 3-4 days.

Why the meat moderation? Three reasons, really:

#1: Meat has been shown to cause what is known as “Neu5Gc-mediated autoimmunity”, which can cause everything from skin issues to hypothyroidism to increased cancer risk. You can read about this in Part 1 and Part 2 of author Paul Jaminet’s recent treatise on the topic of red meat and Neu5Gc.

#2: Excessive meat and protein intake is very anabolic, can cause uncontrolled division of a population of rogue cells in the body, and can increase cancer risk, especially if that meat is cooked or processed. Stephen Guyenet has written an excellent research-based article series on this topic.

#3: Due to meat and high protein intake activation of a protein called mTOR and an increase in the rate at which telomeres shorten, there is a definite tradeoff between meat intake, protein, growth and longevity. Ray Cronise details this in his Metabolic Winter Hypothesis by Ray Cronise.

If we’re not eating dinner at home, we will typically wind up at a sushi, Korean, Japanese, or local “farm-to-table” restaurant, at which we implement the following best practices:

-Always substitute roasted vegetables for any bread or mashed potatoes, and turn down or avoid bread or chips if brought to the table, unless they are something like slow-fermented sourdough bread or non-GMO corn chips in moderation.

-Acceptable starches: rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, sweet potato, yam, squash, carrot, beet or other non-gluten, non-GMO sources.

-Acceptable proteins: nuts, seeds, grains and any non-fried meat that is cooked in preferably low temperatures with healthy oils and is organic, local, wild or grass-fed.

-Acceptable fats: coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and any fat that is 100% natural, that is not a vegetable oil, that is not batter-fried, and that is not an oil with a low smoke point (e.g. canola oil, sunflower oil or safflower oil) that has been heated. When in doubt, we ask for creams, dressings and sauces “on the side”. You’d be surprised at how many restaurants are willing and able to take those tasty fried Brussels Sprouts and cook them up in grass-fed butter or extra virgin olive oil for you, rather than the canola oil they typically use on such appetizers.

I’m also often asked about post-dinner snacks and desserts. I am indeed a fan of polishing off dinner with something sweet or fun, including:

-A quarter bar of 85%+ dark chocolate dipped in almond, walnut or cashew butter…

-A spoonful of coconut oil or coconut butter topped with nut butter and raw honey…

-A golden milk bedtime elixir or cup of the done-for-you version: Organifi Gold

-Or my favorite of late: a few dollops of my Salted Caramel Chocolate Collagen Ice Cream recipe (see sidebar)…

Once I’ve finished stuffing my face, I glance at my watch. While I don’t get too obsessed over quantification, I do indeed perform a quick mental calculation and plan to wait at least 12 hours before eating again. This means that if I’m finished with dinner and snacking at 9 pm, I won’t eat again until 9 am. If 10 pm, then I will put off breakfast until 10 am. If I eat a midnight snack, I won’t eat again until noon. Due to the extensive research on the link between intermittent fasting and longevity, cellular repair and gut health, on nearly every day of the year, I incorporate this 12 to 16 hour fasted window. During this time, the only items I consume are any non-calorie based supplements such as my multi-vitamin, water, sparkling water with steviaZeviacoffee or green tea.

9:00pm-ish…

With dinner over, it’s now time to begin winding down for the night. In my last big blog post on blood sugar control, you learned about the importance of a postprandial stroll for improving the glucose response to a meal. If I’m at a restaurant or traveling, I use this technique, but when I’m at home, I’ve found that cleaning the kitchen, trudging up and down the stairs, putting the goats and chickens to sleep, and all the other household to-do’s that must be accomplished before bed seem to easily get me the equivalent of 15 minutes of walking.

During this time, our bedtime ritual begins. It all begins with helping my twin boys, River and Terran. They personally take very, very good care of their teeth and bodies prior to bed, and I don’t need to help them too much. We raised them on Kid’s Calm Liquid Multivitamin, but now that they have teeth, they each use the no-sugar version of the Smarty Pants Kid’s Multivitamins, then brush their teeth with a special tooth powder that my wife Jessa makes (thanks to my friend The Wellness Mama for this tooth remineralizing recipe). While the boys are taking their multivitamin, brushing their teeth, doing their coconut oil pulling and getting into their pajamas, I take care of my own body, using their same tooth powder and implementing all the pre-sleep supplements and steps I discussed in my blog post “The Last Resource On Sleep You’ll Ever Need”.

After this, the entire family up to the boy’s bedroom, where I play them a bedtime song, lullaby, hymn or my own twist on their favorite pop song, usually on the guitar or the ukulele. We then gather around to give thanks to God for one little thing we’re grateful for that day and also pray for one way that we can help make someone’s life better the next day (this is very similar to our morning Christian Gratitude Journal practice). I say General Douglas McArthur’s prayer over them, the same prayer I highlight in “Five Quotes I Live By, Three Keys To Happiness, Two Questions To Ask Yourself & One Must-Do Thought Experiment.“, and then tuck them away to sleep.

10:00pm…

Once the kids are tucked away, Jessa and I head for the bedroom. Let’s face it: I’ve outlined my sleep habits in nitty-gritty details in previous blog posts, including this latest comprehensive one. I also have an upcoming article in which you’ll learn plenty about lovemaking sessions and optimizing sex. But below, I’ll give you a few bullet points for both sex and sleep.

Let’s begin with the former. Jessa and I generally don’t waste too much time staying up after putting the kids to bed, and rarely watch TV or spend time on a computer, Kindle or phone at this point in the evening. But if we do get it on, we typically get it on in the evening. I really don’t feel I need to get into too much detail as I don’t use too many “sex hacks” or crazy sex toys, and am seldom dressed in leather and handcuffed with an apple in my mouth, but nonetheless here are a few quick tips:

-We use natural lambskin condoms for the ultimate sensory experience…

-If it’s legal in your state, a THC balm can also make things a bit more exciting, and we use one called “Bond“…

-We use a special kind of bulb in our room made by Lighting Science. It is a biological LED bulb engineered to remove blue light, but the nice thing is that it also gives off a bit of a red glow that seems to be perfect for sex…

-We have big stand-up mirrors in the bedroom – can’t recommend them highly enough…

In my recent presentation at the Men’s Sexual Satisfaction Summit, I get into plenty more details about sexual habits, sexual practices, and sexual health, so go listen to that, and if you want to enhance sexual fitness, I’d also recommend you check out my article on “The Private Gym”, my recent Men’s Health January 2018 article, and also stay tuned for an upcoming, very comprehensive post on sex health, sex hacks and sex habits.

After making love, I typically settle myself down by reading fiction (currently I’m knee deep in “Game Of Thrones” for about twenty minutes), then, by 10:45 pm at the latest, it’s time for sleep. Again, I’ve got some very comprehensive blog posts on sleep, but in a concise format, here’s my entire current pre-sleep routine:

-Turn on the “Flexpulse” PEMF in sleep mode (if I’m traveling) or if I’m at home, turn on my latest toy: a “Biobalance” mat for PEMF. Both were developed by my former podcast guest Dr. William Pawluk.

-Turn my ChiliPad to 60 degrees…

-Put the room temp at 64-66 degrees…

-Close the blackout curtains

-Rub down any sore muscles or tight spots with magnesium lotion

-Flip on essential oil diffuser or (if traveling) sprinkle a few drops of essential lavender oil on the pillow…

-Put on my MindFold sleep and relaxation mask (this is the same type of mask often used for DMT trips, plant-based medicine journeys, etc. but also works perfectly for sleep).

-Put on my Sleepstream app and play it in “Deep Sleep” mode and/or play Brain.FM sleep track through my SleepPhones (better for side sleepers) or through Bose noise blocking headphones (better for back sleepers)

-And…that’s it.

I realize this seems like a lot of “stuff”, but now that it’s a nightly habit, I fly through this entire routine in about 2 minutes, and makes a night-and-day difference (pun intended) in sleep quality and quantity.

Finally, for the final five minutes before I drift into la-la land, I ask myself one final question “What Good Have I Done This Day”. This single act of self-reflection, which was a regular habit of Benjamin Franklin, allows me to dwell briefly upon any ways that I could have lived my life better that day and small positive adjustments I can make to my daily routine.


What About Travel?

You’ve done it. You set up your own personal, flawless, tried-and-true morning, afternoon and evening routines. You know when to eat, when to stretch, when to poop, when to exercise, when to meditate, when to journal and when to sit in your lucky chair. And then a week of travel strikes. Your entire routine goes to pot as you sit on an airplane during your normal morning walk time, you’re stuck in a hotel that removes you from the habit-forming zone of your familiar office, and when you step into the health club, it’s a completely different scene than your customary gym. You suddenly feel out of control. Sound familiar?

Fact is, as a guy who is traveling for an average of 180 days a year, I know exactly what you’re experiencing, and I’ve had to figure out how to take my own elaborate rituals and routines “on the road” to allow me to optimize my body and brain and stay sane when I travel. Here are a few of my own personal habits for travel that allow me to effectively “transfer” my habits into new environments:

1. I Include 15 Minutes Of “Me-Time” Upon Waking

No matter where I am at in the world, whether the coffeemaker is in the hotel room or the lobby, whether I have to be on stage speaking in an hour or my flight arrived at 3 am the evening prior or it’s snowing, sleeting or sunny outside, I always set the chronograph on my stopwatch to 15 minutes and spend 15 minutes “making my body better”, usually using the same tried-and-true stretch routines I do at home. As a matter of fact, I have a few such routines in my back pocket that I can do anytime, anywhere in the world, including:

-15 minutes yoga warriors and sun salutations

-15 minutes of ELDOA stretches

-15 minutes foam rolling and deep tissue work

-15 minutes arm swings, leg swings and calisthenics

-15 minutes walk with deep nasal breathing and box breathing

2. I Have Airplane “Rules”

Even if I’m jetlagged, tired as hell, or simply don’t want to budge my butt out of my comfy window seat on the plane, I follow specific rules and habits that make every flight for me include a set routine I can rely on. My rules are as follows:

-every time I use the bathroom on the airplane I perform 20 air squats

-for every hour of flight time, I go to the back of the plane and perform a set toe-to-head stretch routine I know I can do in small spaces without annoying people, specifically: 10 ten calf raises with shoulder shrugs, ten deep squats, ten torso twists side-to-side, ten arm circles in each direction and ten neck circles.

-for any airplane naps, I use foam earplugs, a very good eye blocking mask (I use Mindfold brand), Bose noise-blocking headphones, the Sleepstream sleep app, a J-hook inflatable travel pillow and 2 packets of FourSigmatic Reishi extract. I’ve trained myself to fall asleep very quickly on airplanes by using these airplane napping tools.

Of course, you can grab even more airplane and jet lag tips from my last big sleep article here.

3. I Replicate My Home Working & Sleeping Environment

When I’m at a hotel or Airbnb, I do as much as I can to replicate my home office environment. Using the desk the TV is on, a kitchen counter, or a chair stacked on top of a coffee table, I fashion a standing workstation. I create a dark sleeping environment by fastening the clasps of closet hangers across the window curtains and unplugging everything in the room I don’t use (e.g. the microwave, the TV, etc.). I sprinkle lavender essential oil on the bed pillows, I set the room to exactly 66 degrees Fahrenheit and I hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door.

4. I Have A Travel Sleep Kit

I may not be able to take a giant Chilipad, a knee pillow or red lamp with me when I travel, but I do have a minimalist sleep kit that neatly fits into a small, blue silk bag that I place the corner of my laptop messenger bag, namely: a sleep mask, earplugs, noise blocking headphone, lavender essential oil, noise-blocking headphones, a small portable “Flexpulse” PEMF device and typically some type of CBD, such as a CBD vape pen or CBD oil.

Just like a child can stay content and happy when traveling with their lucky teddy bear or precious sleep blankie, I’ve found that these type of specific tools, rituals and habits that I use when I travel keep me sane, well rested and productive.


Summary & Sample Day

Whew! You made it through.

Before closing, I’d like to make three final resource recommendation to you. One is a very quick read that I discovered this weekend entitled “Goals vs. Habits”, in which you discover why implementing small habits in your life may indeed be even more important than setting big goals. A place where you can hunt down the routines of many famous folks is the blog Daily Routines. Another place where you can find the routines of some interesting, famous and successful folks is the excellent book “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work“.

And finally, remember: this exhaustive list of habits may seem – well – exhausting! Or intimidating. Or excessive. But frankly, after making these routines and habits subconscious and automatic rituals, I barely even think about them, and I simply flow with ease through the day. You’ll discover that the same thing happens to you once you make a commitment to one month of establishing a morning, afternoon and evening routine. You don’t need to do everything at once but can gradually begin to incorporate into your own life in your own way each of the tactics I’ve described.

When you do, you’ll sleep amazingly your productivity will go through the roof, your exercise will become easy, your body and brain will start working the way they’re supposed to, and you’ll live in an upgraded fashion, unlike 99% of the world’s population, with performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep and hormone optimization. Enjoy the feeling.

In the meantime, from this article, identify one (yes, just one!) morning habit, afternoon habit and evening habit you can incorporate into your life beginning today. Gratitude journaling? A morning walk in the sunshine? A big-ass salad? A post-lunch nap? Drinking wine before instead of after dinner? Lavender on your pillow? You get the idea. Start small, but start with something to begin to gain momentum today.

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about my daily routine? Leave your comments below and I will reply!

 

 

Affiliate Disclosure

 

Welcome to Part 2 of 2 of my top 10 steps to biohack longevity. If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here. In this two-part series, I’m outlining in nitty-gritty detail some of my top tactics, hacks, strategies, systems and habits for ensuring that each of my days are completely conducive to optimizing not just physical performance, but also long-term health and longevity.

Before jumping into the seven habits I didn’t have a chance to address in Part 1, let’s begin with something highly relevant to longevity that just happened yesterday and that I’d be remiss to leave out of this article…

…I recently posted the following to my Instagram page:

So what exactly was I alluding to?

If you listened to the podcast episode “Telomere Testing: Everything You Need To Know About A Cutting-Edge New Longevity Test That Tells You Your Cellular Age.“, then you may already know about the company “TeloYears“, which I’ve been using for the past couple years to measure the efficacy of my anti-aging “biohacks”.

In short, inside every cell in your body are telomeres, the changing protective caps on the ends of your DNA strands that get shorter with age at a rate that can increase or decrease with lifestyle factors either positive or negative. Decades of research published in scientific journals has shown that shorter telomeres are associated with accelerated aging and aging-related conditions. When you are born, your telomeres are generally at their longest. However, throughout your life, every time your cells divide, the telomeres shorten. At a certain point, your chromosomes will reach a critical length and can no longer be replicated. When this occurs, a cell enters into a state of growth arrest known as “cellular senescence,” which is the cellular equivalent of aging.

TeloYears is a is a telomere health tracking program that uses your DNA to help you measure and improve your telomere. They specifically measure the length of your telomeres, then provide a results report that shows the age of your cells. This is important, since the rate of change of your telomere length is very individual and can be affected, both positively and negatively, by many contributing factors – including genetics, lifestyle, stress and environment. In fact, the rate of change is not constant even within the same person’s lifetime. You may be able to slow the rate at which your telomeres shorten with lifestyle interventions. For example, telomeres can shorten more rapidly during periods of stress such as serious illness or infection. Likewise, during periods of good health, the telomeric rate of shortening can slow significantly. Proper diet, exercise and stress management have all been shown to even increase telomere length.

Get The Low Carb Athlete – 100% Free!Eliminate fatigue and unlock the secrets of low-carb success. Sign up now for instant access to the book!

 

In the Telomere Diagnostics lab at TeloYears, they measure the average telomere length (ATL) found in the DNA using a procedure called qPCR (quantified polymerase chain reaction), which is apparently a pretty accurate method of measuring telomere length and by far the most referenced in scientific literature. ATL is the mean length of all telomeres in a given blood sample that you provide via a single drop of blood from your finger that you mail into TeloYears.

So why am I telling you all this?

As I alluded to above, I was pretty shocked when I received the results of my latest TeloYears analysis. Check it out:

In short, compared to my first TeloYears test, in which I tested at a chronological age of 34 and a biological age of 37, and my second test, in which I tested at a chronological age of 35 and a biological age of 36, I’m now at a chronological age of 36 and a biological age of…

…20!

That’s right: what you are about to read here in Part 2 and what you already discovered in Part 1 actually freaking’ works. And as I briefly alluded to in Part 1, this isn’t all about grasping at straws and an endless pursuit of trying to live longer simply for the sake of living longer or desperately “running from death”.

Instead, this is about looking, feeling and performing like a million bucks – being able to leap out of bed in the morning, jump and click your heels together, and tackle the day; being able to not just see your grandkids hit a home run but actually be out on the baseball field throwing the ball around with them; being able to have sex, climb mountains, do triathlons, lift weights and experience life’s adventures in your 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and beyond.

In other words, it’s not just about quantity of years, but also the quality of those years. That’s what I’m trying to teach you with posts like this. So, that being said, let’s dive into Part 2, shall we? 


Step 4: Eat A Big Ass Smoothie (Or Some Kind Of Biohacked Cocktail)

In the past, I’ve recorded some very interesting podcasts with folks such as Darin Olien and Shawn Stevenson, in which we discuss specific foods and compounds that can increase one’s own stem cell health and support endogenous production or proliferation of stem cells. 

Since I’m a big fan of the shotgun approach (AKA, take everything that’s been proven to be good for something and simply shoving it all into my gaping maw at once), I dump quite a few such nutrients into my morning smoothie, including:

Pau D’ Arco bark tea blended with turmeric and sunflower lecithin as a smoothie “base” (read details here)

Colostrum, consumed in capsule form or broken open and dumped into a smoothie

Curcumin, found in both my morning multivitamin and also added to the bark tea mentioned above

Marine phytoplankton, added as a whole dropperful into the smoothie

100% aloe vera juice, added as a shot to the smoothie

Coffeeberry fruit extract, added as a whole dropperful into the smoothie

Moringa, added as a heaping tablespoon to the smoothie

Typically, I’ll blend the concoction above with about 20g of a good, clean protein powder along with a big Theodore Roosevelt sized mug of ice and a dropperful of organic stevia, and then, once blended, I top with crunchy goodies such as organic unsweetened coconut flakesspirulina or chlorella tabletscacao nibs or organic frozen blueberries – all of which (except the coconut flakes perhaps) also confer good longevity-enhancing properties.

Finally, it should be noted that although my morning smoothies are hefty, voluminous, and push 800+ calories, I’m only consuming them after having fasted for the previous 12-16 hours (e.g. if I finish dinner at 8pm, the approximate time I’d eat breakfast would be about 10am), and during that fasted window, I’m typically performing some kind of easy morning workout, along with a cold soak or a cold shower. Once I drink this smoothie, I don’t eat anything at all again for the next 4-6 hours.


Step 5: Don’t Work Like A Normal Person

I’m often asked how I get anything productive done when I’m “biohacking” all day long. After all, how can one churn out an article like the one you’re reading when they’re splayed out on the cold bathroom floor with a coffee enema up their butt?

In reality, the majority of the self-improvement techniques I use are simply things I’m incorporating passively while I work. Allow me to paint a picture for you to show you what I mean. As I type this article…

…my desktop essential oil diffuser is diffusing rosemary essential oil for cognition and memory…

…behind me is an infrared JOOVV light panel for promoting collagen and skin health, along with testosterone and nitric oxide production…

…on my head is a Vielight photobiomodulation device for enhancing alpha brain wave production and increasing mitochondrial activity in neural tissue…

…I’m sitting on a Salli saddle chair to keep my pelvic bones in alignment, but I’ll switch frequently through the workday (about every 20 minutes) to a FluidStance balance board, a Topo Mat, a TruForm treadmill and a Mogo stool

…I’m blasting the air I’m breathing with a NanoVi Eng3, which enhances DNA repair and good reactive oxygen species production…

…my overhead lights during the day blast me with blue light via the Lighting Science Awake & Alert Bulbs, and then switch to a RubyLux red bulb for the evening work…

…I have a Flexpulse PEMF device that I move around my body throughout the day as I’m working to hit any sore spots or injured areas…

…I’m sipping throughout the day on mushroom tea blendsgreen tea polyphenolsexogenous ketones and essential amino acids – all calorie-free ways to mimic calorie restriction, increase muscle repair and protein synthesis, and increase cognition…

…and most importantly, none of what you’ve just read takes me any additional workday time to implement. I walk into my office, hit a few switches, and jump into 4-5 hours of deep work with all this stuff working on my body while all I do is simply focus on working.

In other words, figure out how to hack your environment to sustain movement and “making your body better” throughout the workday, but figure out how to do it in a way that still allows you to be a productive member of society. You’ve just discovered how I do just that.


Step 6: Eat A Big Ass Salad

I’m a firm believer that about the maximum amount of deep, focused work that one can do on a daily basis is about 4-6 hours (read Cal Newport’s book “Deep Work” to learn more about this idea). Based on this, after I’ve finished my morning smoothie around 9:30 or 10 am, I often don’t emerge from my office to eat lunch until 2 or 3 pm.

My entire lunch – and frankly, every meal I eat each day – is highly focused on the concept of…

…”glycemic variability.”

In a nutshell, as you can see in the article, “Glycemic Variability: How Do We Measure It and Why Is It Important?“,glycemic variability (also known as “GV”) refers to blood glucose oscillations that occur throughout the day, including hypoglycemic periods and postprandial (after a meal) increases, as well as blood glucose fluctuations that occur at the same time on different days. According to the article I referred to above “the broad definition of GV considers the intraday glycemic excursions, including episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia”.

Now, if you find white lab coats sexy, science makes you salivate, and you know your biochemistry cycles back-and-forth, you may want to get into the nitty-gritty science of glycemic variability in this fantastic podcast by my friends from NourishBalanceThrive.

But in plain speak, glycemic variability basically refers to how much your blood sugar bounces around at any given point in your life. And when it comes to your health, it is, in my opinion, a more important variable to consider than cholesterol, vitamin D, minerals, telomere length, cortisol, testosterone or just about any biomarker one could ever measure (except, perhaps, inflammation, which I would rank right up there with glycemic variability).

This is why, in a food presentation I gave last month in New York City, entitled “A Biohacking Adventure: 7 Culinary Tactics For Enhancing Health & Longevity“, I began by tackling the concept of glycemic variability, and discussing a host of tactics to keeping blood sugar fluctuations at bay, including chewing your food 25-40 times, carb backloading, the pre-meal use of digestifs and bitters, two teaspoons of ceylon cinnamon each day, bitter melon extract , organic apple cider vinegar shots, fish oil, pre and/or post-meal physical activity and much more.

Based on this concept of glycemic variability, and also based on the concept that to reduce decision making fatigue and to reduce dietary variation (e.g. not knowing how many damn calories you’re eating because your meals fluctuate so much) my lunch is just about the same thing every day, this is what my midday meal looks like:

I add a handful of wild plants or organic produce, such as arugula, nettle, spinach, thyme, cilantro, parsley, etc. to a large bowl. Over the plants, I put Japanese shirataki noodles (they’re zero calories and zero carbohydrates) that I have sauteed – along with one can of sardines – in fennel seeds, olive oilsea salt, black pepper, cayenne and turmeric. I then top with a handful of walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, almonds or any other “healthy” nut and a squeeze of half a lemon. I then eat the entire salad wrapped like a burrito in a nori seaweed wrap. The size of my salad typically necessitates two seaweed wraps, and thus my lunch is basically two big-ass salad-sardine burritos. And that’s lunch, folks. I can make it in 10 minutes flat, it tastes amazing, and if you haven’t yet tried this salad method, you are, in my opinion, missing out on a crucial component of your culinary existence.


Step 7: Nap Like A Princess

Lunch now gently settled in my stomach and my blood glucose well-stabilized, it is now time for my daily nap. Not only do I sleep 7-8 hours each night, but nearly every day of the week, I inject my body with an enormous “second surge” of energy by passing out in bed for an afternoon 20-45 minute siesta.

But – and you probably saw this coming – in the same way that I do not work like a normal person or eat like a normal person, I do not nap like a normal person. Here is my patented 3-step napping sequence, which allows me to blast my body with infrared rays, negative ions, artificial intelligence relaxation sounds and pulsated compression therapy, all while asleep.

Step 1: turn on Biomat. This bad boy produces deep-penetrating, far infrared rays along with negative ions that act on the cell membranes to restore a proper electrochemical gradient. It’s basically like snuggling up with a warm, highly scientific teddy bear.

Step 2: slip into Normatec boots. Designed by a NASA engineer, these boots use pulsated compression to pump blood from my toes all the way up to my heart, making my legs feel light as a feather when I get up from my nap.

Step 3: turn on my Brain.FM app with Sony noise-blocking headphones. This app, which has settings for creativity, focus, and relaxation, uses a sequenced series of sounds to lull my body out of work mode and into sleep mode, and has settings for a 15, 30 or 45 minute power nap.

And that’s it. Yes, I will admit: that is one damn spendy nap. But it is oh-so-glorious to wake up with a head as clear as a bell – ready to conquer my workout and crush the rest of the day, instead of spending the latter half of my day tired and demotivated with a slight haze of brain fog.


Step 8: Do A Weird Workout

Based on your built-in chronobiology, it’s in the afternoon when your body temperature peaks, your post-workout protein synthesis peaks, your reaction time peaks and your ability to handle a difficult workout session peaks – making the latter half of the day a perfect time to throw down a difficult workout. This is far superior to working out hard in the morning, when your body already has produced a natural surge of cortisol and when you’re far more likely to engage in post-workout compensatory eating and justifying sitting on your ass during the workday because you crushed a 5 am WOD.

So what do I mean by “weird workout”?

While I can often be found running through the outside forest, climbing ropes, hauling sandbags, carrying rocks and flipping tires, if my time is limited or I’m in an intensive season of writing, working or building Kion, I will definitely use specific biohacks to enhance the efficiency of my workout and squeeze a huge amount of fitness-building into a very short period of time.

For example, a typical afternoon workout for me would involve:

-15 minutes of hypoxic/hyperoxic training on my bicycle, which is set up next to a LiveO2 unit that allows me to switch between hypoxia (low oxygen) and hyperoxia (high oxygen) as I work through a series of short, explosive sprints. This exposes my body to the mitochondrial building equivalent of spending an entire 24 hours in a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber or going on a 3-hour bike ride, but squeezes it all into a brief 15 minute window.

-15 minutes “single-set-to-failure” training. I’ll then move on to perform 60-90 seconds of an isometric contraction to complete failure by using a special force plate called a “PeakFitPro“, which pairs to my phone and allows me to completely exhaust a muscle group during one single, difficult set. A typical workout would include benchpress, pulldown, overhead press, deadlift and squat. Doug McGuff’s book Body By Science does a good job explaining how this approach develops both cardiovascular fitness and strength simultaneously, while resulting in a very large surge of post-workout growth hormone (which is enhanced even more by the fact that I do not eat anything for 2-3 hours following my afternoon workout). 

-15 minutes infrared sauna. To boost red blood cell production and nitric oxide production, and to further enhance cardiovascular adaptations to the workout above, I’ll finish things off with a sweat and several ELDOA and Core Foundation moves in a full spectrum infrared sauna

You do the math. That’s 45 minutes total. If you complete a workout like this 2-3x/week, you are using better living through science and fun, cool tools to gain big breakthroughs in fitness in a relatively short period of time. When combined with an active workday in which I take frequent breaks for movements such as kettlebell swings, hex bar deadlifts, burpees and jumping jacks, I can keep myself in very, very good shape with just 3-4 hours per week of formal training using the scenario I’ve just described.

Of course, I understand that a LiveO2 system, a PeakFitPro and a Clearlight infrared sauna cost a chunk of change. But look at it this way: if you’re biohacking on a budget, you can simulate these type of workouts with less expensive equipment. For example, try 10 rounds of a 30-second sprint with a TrainingMask on, followed by a 30-second recovery with the mask off. Then move on to a super slow 60 seconds up, 60 seconds down repeat of pushup, pullup, overhead press, deadlift and squat. Finish up with an extremely hot soak in a hot tub, a dry sauna or a steam room at the gym. Voila!


Step 9: Be With People & Learn Stuff

I’ve always taught my twin boys that love is the greatest emotion you can have in your life. Heck, love is the greatest emotion in the universe. In the book “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest“, you can read about how love in relationships, love in families, being loved, feeling love and giving love is one of the biggest keys to happiness and longevity.

On the flipside, the mortality risk for people who find themselves socially isolated is just about equal to that caused by obesity and physical inactivity. Having close relationships actually increases your lifespan at a rate equal to that of quitting smoking (a Dr. James House at the University of Michigan has discovered the chance of dying over a period of 10 years increases by 10% for people who live alone or have only a few friends compared to people surrounded by friends and family). Dr. John Cacioppo from the University of Chicago and Dr. Steve Cole from UCLA have also  researched the effects of loneliness on health, and shown that people who are socially isolated possess weaker immune systems and have  higher rates of cancer, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes than people with more social connections, along with increased levels of inflammation, higher blood pressure, and higher heart rate.

This is why, as evening approaches, we place such an enormous value on hanging out as a family, eating dinner together, sharing our gratitude journals, gathering with friends, playing music, singing, sitting in the sauna and hot tub and (my personal favorite) playing Exploding Kittens and Bears vs. Babies.

The evening is also a time I often reserve to learn new stuff and “make smoke come out my ears”. Why? It’s just another longevity tactic. See, for a long time, it was believed that as we age, the connections in our brain become fixed. But research has since shown that the brain never stops changing through learning. Neuroplasticity is the name given to this capacity of the brain to change with learning, literally by forming new neuronal connections and altering the internal structure of the existing synapses in the brain.

Take London taxi drivers, for example. They possess a larger posterior hippocampus than London bus drivers. This is because this specific region of the brain specializes in acquiring and using complex spatial information in order to navigate efficiently. Taxi drivers have to navigate around London while bus drivers follow a limited set of routes. No…I’m not cruising a taxi around town at night with my family. Instead, I’m a fan of relaxing but challenging activities that have been proven to induce neuroplasticity such as delving into a new language, reading a challenging book, or playing guitar and ukulele.

I’d be remiss not to mention the fact that the evening is also the time when – after restricting carbohydrates the entire day – I eat carbohydrates ad libitum (that means “as much as I feel like” for those of you who don’t fancy Latin) from healthy starches and sirtuin-rich foods that promote longevity. This means that I typically eat about 100-200g of carbs from sources such as sweet potato, yam, taro, slow-fermented sourdough bread, berries, soaked and rinsed quinoa, amaranth, millet, etc. – along with a touch of dark chocolate and red wine. This is always preceded by a couple capsules of Kion Lean to shove that glucose into muscle and liver tissue more easily. If you really want to wrap your head better around why I do these carb evening “refeeds”, then check out the carb backloading program by my friend John Kiefer.

As for the wine? I do indeed have a specific timing sequence for any alcohol I drink at night. Here’s a separate article I wrote that spells it out.


Step 10: Sleep Like A Ninja

My sleep is amazing. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but after years of struggling with insomnia and poor sleep cycles or lack of deep sleep, I really have cracked the code on getting a good night’s rest. My friend and Kion Certified Coach Alex Fergus has written an excellent post at “How To Improve Sleep: 25+ Experts Share Their Helpful Tips” that is jam-packed with plenty of amazing sleep hacks, but currently, my biggest wins are as follows:

Sleepstream app to play relaxing sounds and binaural beats while I sleep. I prefer to set it on the white noise-ish setting of “Sleepstream Noise” and use the “deep sleep” setting for the binaural beats. 

Chilipad. I set mine at 55 degrees to keep my core temperature low during the evening.

Lavender essential oil. Similar to how I diffuse rosemary, peppermint or cinnamon in my office to keep me awake and alert, I diffuse lavender (or occasionally chamomile, rose or bergamot) at the bedside to enhance relaxation.

Wraparound sleep mask. You need something luxurious that will block out all light – not the free, crappy sleep mask you received on your last international airline flight.

Blue light blocking glasses. A must for any evening screen-viewing activities, and for a bonus, pair this with Iris installed on your computer and this nifty phone red light trick.

-Low blue lights in the bedroom. I prefer the “biological LED” sleepytime bulbs created by the company “Lighting Science”.

-PEMF via the FlexpulseDeltaSleeper and/or Earthpulse. I have a few different Pulsed Electromagnetic Field devices and each acts somewhat similarly by simulating the natural electromagnetic frequencies the planet earth produces to enhance deep sleep. 

CBD. I take about 40mg before bed.

Sleep remedy. I take one packet before bed (with the CBD) then another packet if I wake up during the night.

CBD vape pen. I take a few puffs on this if I wake up during the night.

Similar to my office setup, this isn’t as laborious or time-consuming as it appears at first glance. Within 5 minutes I can have all these sleep hacks set up and ready to rumble for a solid night of rest and recovery.


Summary

So that’s it!

You can click here to go check out Part 1 if you missed it.

You can click here to get your own telomeres analyzed with Teloyears.

You can click here to see 10 of the other best ways to see how fast you’re aging and what you can do about it.

And sure…I know things can get confusing because as a self-experimenting immersive journalist and author I certainly try new supplements, tools, gear, technology and biohacks for many of the health and longevity enhancing goals you’ve just finished reading about. So yes, this means my “routine” two years from now may be markedly different than what you’ve just discovered, but my promise to you is that I will continue to keep you informed of all the new tactics I discover, implement and find success with so that I can tell you what works best, what doesn’t work at all, and what simply gives you explosive diarrhea, a pounding headache, strange smelling sweat and odd skin growths. Fair enough?

And finally, if you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about any of the ten steps you’ve just discovered, simply leave your comments below and I will reply! Thanks for reading.

 

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

37 THOUGHTS ON “PART 2 OF 2: MY TOP 10 STEPS TO BIOHACK LONGEVITY (& HOW TO GET MANY, MANY WEIRD LOOKS FROM YOUR NEIGHBORS)”

  1. Trisha says:

    Do you still recommend honey (with coconut oil and sea salt) before bed to promote sleep? Would that interrupt the fast that began when you finished dinner? Does having a tiny shot of glucose help your brain “clean house” while you are asleep?

    1. Yes, it would break your fast, but it can still be helpful for sleep… Simply start your fast after consuming your “treat”, and probably best to do so a couple hours before sleep.

      1. Trisha says:

        Thank you for replying so quickly! I have tried what you suggested for the last month or so, and I’m not sure the honey/oil/salt mix is as effective when consumed a few hours before sleep. I’ve read that some people keep this sort of salty sweet fat “treat” mixed up in a jar by their bed to take immediately before sleep, because it is meant to fuel your brain during sleep, not to be burned off by your body by activity in the hours before sleep (not exercise, just movement and tasks). So you have an opinion on this?

  2. My associate just said – Ben is a better version of you! (currently working at my desk with a blue light filter on the computer and kneeling on an air disc). Great post, keep it up

  3. CSue says:

    I did a teloyears in May 2017 and was 4% older than my chronological age. I re-tested in Sept 2018 and was 29% younger than my chronological age! I am now 54 and am 37 in teloyears

    I live a healthy lifestyle, had been taking supplements and exercising, using a sauna, intermittent fasting, eating lchf, always trying to optimize sleep. What I changed between the 2 tests was:

    – started extended fasting (42-120 hours)

    – took NAD+ (nicotinimide riboside) the last 7 months

    – took DHEA the last 7 months

    – started bio-identical estrogen and progesterone around the time of the first test

    – started lifting weights regularly and built muscle

    – used Oura to track sleep (although haven’t really made any progress on improvement)

    1. CSue says:

      I forgot, I also started taking iodine during this time. This has improved my thyroid function and improved my fluoride toxicity.

  4. Attila says:

    Hi Ben. Is there a possibility to have teloyears measurement in Europe?
    Thanks,
    Attila

  5. RangerUp13 says:

    Ben, regarding glycemic variability, what blood glucose range should a healthy, fit, non-diabetic in their 20’s shoot for? Thanks.

  6. Drew Fairman says:

    Hi Ben! Do you have a “in the bathroom” routine of which cosmetic (toothpaste, cleansers, body wash, etc ) that you do? Do you always dry brush ? Do you always do a facial cleanser ? How many times a week do you shampoo and what do you use ? I’m intrigued because everything else that you suggested that I have tried has worked ! Thanks !

  7. Ian Cruz says:

    I was wondering how running a marathon would affect your telomere testing? I ran the LA Marathon on Sunday so I sent Teloyears a quick email asking if it would make sense to wait before testing.

    They said to wait a MONTH! In a month I’ll be almost ready for my next marathon on April 28th! So while it won’t be a few days after a marathon, I’ll still be in heavy training possibly having run a 20+ miler close to the testing date.

    When would be the optimal time to test and how much does a marathon affect the testing?

    1. I would listen to them, they’re the experts.

  8. Lee says:

    Hey Ben, do you have any suggestions on becoming a health/wellness “coach” or consultant. Education for it. Ways to get there.

  9. Lee says:

    Hey Ben,

    Do you have anything on alcohol use and the human body. Such as avoid it completely? The major effects aside from just liver? How to detox it from your body, etc.

    Thanks!

    1. Just do a search on my site. All the info I have on alcohol is there. I use it sparingly.

  10. Lee says:

    What do you recommend for someone new to this as myself. Diet was off, excercise not routine, bad sleep patterns, etc. I want to dive in to this lifestyle instead of feeling sluggish and fatigued all the time. Just unsure how/where to start. I’m 36 as well. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge!

    1. This is a good place to start: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/article/anti-agi… Also, you should definitely join the Kion Community. It’s an online community I built of like-minded people who both have advice and are seeking advice! Facebook.com/groups/getkion/

  11. Jason says:

    Where did you get the idea Kiefer is a Dr?

    1. I’m not sure, because he’s not. It’s been edited, thank you for bringing this to my attention!

  12. Peter says:

    Hey Ben, for your morning smoothie, do you add the ingredients you mention above to the greens/coconut milk etc. smoothie you describe here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/article/nutritio…
    Or have you switched to not using any greens at all? Thanks, you’re a great inspiration!

  13. Riker says:

    Hi Ben do you still include leafy greens and half an avocado with the new smoothy ingredients or are you currently just using what you listed in this article? Thanks!

    1. I vary, but currently it’s exactly as I described in this article.

  14. Jake says:

    Hi Ben – would the x3 Bar be a good tool for doing the single sets to failure workout at home?

    1. Yes it works very well for that.

  15. Matt Lane says:

    I love all the details of these posts! I wonder, is it possible to distill this down using the 80/20 rule? What are the few things that might be affordable to the masses (subjective I know) that would give the most bang for the buck? Thanks for all the great content!

    1. Cold showers, a morning routine, staying active at work, optimizing sleep and having family time at end of day.

  16. Carol says:

    Question: Any advice on an aloe vera drink that is primarily gel without the latex portion of the leaves (“juice”)?

  17. Scott Chaverri says:

    Ben – this is a great article – thanks for sharing.

    Curious why specifically you use Pau D’ Arco bark tea – ie what benefits are you hoping to realize by consuming it?

    1. Scott Chaverri says:

      Also, on the telomere improvement – how much time passed between the 2 measurements? And, you are a pretty healthy guy to begin with – do you have any thoughts as to why your first measurement was not better?

      1. A little over a year, it’s all in the article. As far as my original numbers, I spent a decade of my life destroying my body by racing Ironmans, competing as a bodybuilder, etc. A lot of these things can shorten telomeres or take years off of your life.

        1. Mihai says:

          Hello, I found out things that made me wonder when you said the telomers got smaller by attending IronMans and bodybuilding … Then what about physical activity? Is it good or not to exercise, sports? Or does the intensity / complexity of exercise matter?

          1. Exercise is obviously a positive activity, but there’s an upper limit as with all things… The intensity and rigors of something like an ironman over time can have implications on hormone levels, recovery, etc. That’s why I’ve become so fascinated with the idea of “minimum effective dose”

    2. It’s in the article. Stem cell health!

  18. Mark says:

    Hi Ben do you still recommend epithalon for longevity?

    1. It’s a pretty good one, yes. Just have to make sure you get it from a good source. Go read my posts on bpc-157 and tb-500 or search for “peptides” here on my site.

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The Habits Guide: How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Before we get into the guide, I want to recommend the most comprehensive guide on how to change your habits and get 1% better every day: My new book Atomic Habits

Packed with evidence-based self-improvement strategies, Atomic Habits will teach you how to make the small changes that will transform your habits and deliver remarkable results.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits—whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, and achieve success that lasts.

Want to get Chapter 1 of Atomic Habits for free? Just enter your email address below.


Let’s get to the habits guide…

What Are Habits?

Let’s define habits. Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. 

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. Everything I write about – from procrastination and productivity to strength and nutrition – starts with better habits. When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.

This page includes recommended resources on forming better habits and breaking bad ones in any area of life, but if you’d like to explore information on specific types of habits, check out these articles:

3 Ways to Form Better Habits

  1. How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide: Read this guide right now to learn 5 easy, powerful strategies for changing habits.
  2. The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick:  Every habit you have — good or bad — follows the same 3–step pattern: Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior), routine (the behavior itself; the action you take), and reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior). This helpful framework can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general.
  3. Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year: Most of the time we set our goals in the wrong way. Read this article to learn how identity-based habits can help you achieve your goals more easily.

3 Ways to Break Bad Habits

  1. How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One: Want to learn how to break a bad habit? Read this article to discover the science of breaking bad habits and practical suggestions for making it happen.
  2. How Vietnam War Veterans Broke Their Heroin Addictions: By simply removing yourself from an environment that triggers all of your old habits, you can make it easier to break bad habits and build new ones.
  3. How to Declutter Your Mind and Unleash Your Willpower by Using “Bright-Line” Rules:  A bright-line rule refers to a clearly defined rule or standard. It is a rule with clear interpretation and very little wiggle room. It establishes a bright line for what the rule is saying and what it is not saying. Most of us could benefit from setting brighter lines in our personal and professional lives.

How to Make a Habit Stick

How to Build Habits That Last and Design Life as You Want It

Want to learn everything you need to build better habits and break bad ones? I recommend the Habits Academy.

The Habits Academy is the world’s most comprehensive course on habits and the science of human behavior. More than 5,000 students have taken the course. Over 40 video lessons are available to Habits Academy students.

Learn more about The Habits Academy.

 Best Habits Books

Want more great books on psychology and self-help? Browse my full list of the best psychology books and best self-help books.

All Habits Articles

This is a complete list of articles I have written on habits. Enjoy!

Best Articles on Topics Related to Habits

Or, browse my best articles.

 
 

Top advice for life from the most prolific members of the U.S. military’s most elite force.

 
GETTY IMAGES

(Note: Check out my colleague Jessica Stillman’s examination of how SEALs push themselves beyond their limits.)

There’s probably no tougher military training than the U.S. Navy SEALs. I say this despite the fact that I come from an Army and Marine Corps family.

Even if you don’t plan to jump out of an airplane and into battle, or burst through the doors of an enemy compound anytime soon, there’s a lot you can learn from these elite warriors.

 

Recently, I’ve looked at how the SEALs’ leadership principles can help your kids to become more resilient, or even how to make your life more extraordinary

Last  year, one of the top Navy SEALs commanders gave one of the best commencement addresses of all time. The New York Times recommended a Navy SEAL book lately–The New York Times!): DEADLY SKILLS: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation. 

Heck, there’s even a real U.S. Navy SEAL who is an Inc.com columnist. You should check him out.

Now, here’s the ultimate Navy SEAL guide to exceptional success and achievement–combining the key advice from some of the most storied and prolific members of this elite force. Learn their lessons, follow their lead–and you’ll find you’re more likely to succeed.

1. Develop mental toughness.

 

Roughly 75 percent of people who make it into the initial six-month SEAL training cource, known as Basic Underwater Demolitions/Seal Training (BUDS), wind up washing out. In his book, Navy Seal Training Guide: Mental Toughness (which by the way goes for $790 on Amazon), author Lars Draeger says there four pillars of mental toughness: goal-setting, mental visualization, positive self-talk, and arousal control. We’ll tackle them in turn.

2. Set (and achieve) micro-goals.

SEALs, according to Draeger, learn to focus on one thing at a time, avoiding all distractions. They do that by determining the overall objective, breaking it down into smaller pieces, and repeating as needed until they get to minute-by-minute pieces. That’s the kind of planning that allowed Navy SEALs to capture and kill bin Laden–and also the same kind of strategy that can help you achieve your goals.

3. Visualize success (and overcoming failure).

During SEALs training, there’s an exercise in which students are required to accomplish a series of difficult tasks…

underwater…

 

while wearing SCUBA gear…

while instructors attack them and try to destroy their equipment and keep them from breathing.

Become flustered, and you fail. So the successful ones learn not to visualize ahead of time how they’ll handle each calamity. As the folks at Examined Existence wrote:

 

Navy psychologists discovered that those who did well and passed the exercise the first time used mental imagery to prepare them for the exercise.  They imagine themselves going through the various corrective actions and they imagine doing it while being attacked.  … [O]nce the exercise (and the attack) happens, the mind is ready and the [SEAL] is in full control of their physical and mental faculties.

4. Convince yourself you can do it.

As entrepreneurs, how many times do we hear that you should fake it until you make it? That’s part of how you get through SEALs training, apparently. The folks from Examined Existence summed it thusly:

Those who graduate from BUDS block all negative self-talk … and …  constantly motivate themselves to keep going.  … They remind themselves that should be able to pass no problem because they are more physically fit than their predecessors.  They remind themselves to go on and not quit, no matter what. 

5. Control your arousal.

Arousal. Heh-heh. We’re talking here about all kinds of sensual distractions–thinking about the lost love back home, or the things they could be doing besides training, or even the warm bed they had to leave in order to go through the day’s training. 

Once more, Examined Existence:

 

When our bodies feel overwhelmed or in danger, [we] release … cortisol and endorphins. These chemicals … cause our palms to sweat, our minds to race, our hearts to pound, and our bodily functions to malfunction.  This is the body’s natural response to stress, developed over millions of years of human evolution.  But SEALS learn to control this natural response to arousal so that they are poised even under the most stressful of circumstances.

6. Be aware.

The next two are pretty basic, but I guess if you’re a Navy SEAL, it’s why they work. If you want to be in a position to overcome danger, be aware of your surroundings.

So few other people pay attention to their surroundings anymore. In fact, I should take a photo of the slow-moving people I see on the subway each morning, immediately and obliviously checking their devices as they get off the train.

“Get your head out of your phone. … Just look up,” former Navy SEAL Dom Raso told TheBlaze . “It’s just a very, very simple thing to do and no one does it anymore, and it’s really scary.”

7. Avoid bad stuff.

This one also is obvious–so much so that former Navy SEAL Raso seems pretty upset about that others don’t do it. And it goes against the uninitiated, who might believe that a Navy SEAL’s first reaction is always to fight.

“Avoid, avoid, avoid,” he said. “I want to avoid any [bad] situation before it happens.”

8. Practice humility.

Given that last bit of advice, the next one makes sense. Success as a Navy SEAL leader means recognizing that you’re not the solution to every problem. Fail to recognize that, and you’re likely to flat-out fail.

 

“What it has to do with is the fact that the person is not humble enough to accept responsibility when things go wrong, accept that there might be better ways to do things, and they just have a closed mind,” says Jocko Willink, coauthor of Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. “They can’t change, and that’s what makes a person fail as a leader.”

As his coauthor, Leif Babin added: “No leader has it all figured out. You can’t rely on yourself. You’ve got to rely on other people, so you’ve got to ask for help, you’ve got to empower the team, and you’ve got to accept constructive criticism.”

9. Find your three mentors.

Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week among other giant mega-bestsellers, interviewed General Stanley McChrystal, along with McChrystal’s aide, former Navy SEAL officer Chris Fussell, who offered him some key advice:

You should always have three people that you’re paying attention to within your organization:

  • Someone senior who you would like to emulate
  • A peer who you think is better at the job than you are
  • A subordinate who is doing your previous job better than you did

“If you just have those three individuals that you’re constantly measuring yourself off of and who you’re constantly learning from,” Fussell said, “you’re gonna be exponentially better than you are.”

 

10. Do small things right.

The last items on this list come from a speech that Admiral William McRaven, a Navy SEAL commander who was in charge of the raid that killed bin Laden, gave in Texas last year.

His first commandment–a fairly famous one, in fact–is that you should make your bed in the morning.

Why? Because if you do that, “it will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”

11. Be smart about assessing others.

Next up: Don’t adopt others’ knee-jerk assessments. McRaven talked about being in SEAL training and reflecting on a crew of physically small classmates, none of whom was more than five-feet-five.

 

“The big men in the other boat crews would always make good natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim,” he said. “But somehow these little guys, from every corner of the Nation and the world, always had the last laugh– swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us. SEAL training was a great equalizer.”

(As a guy who’s like five-foot-eight in my boots, I love this one.)

12. Suck it up.

This is probably the part of military training that people who’ve never gone through military training think of–the part they’ve seen in the movies where sadistic drill instructors put you through hell. McRaven talks about a punishment during SEAL training known as a “sugar cookie.”

The student had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand. … You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day–cold, wet and sandy.

The point of that training? To learn that when you’re uncomfortable and discouraged, sometimes you just have to suck it up and get through it. 

13. Sometimes, go head first.

Another McRaven story. The record for going through the SEAL obstacle course in the fastest time had stood for years. One of the trickiest parts was to maneuver yourself safely but quickly into a rope obstacle known as the slide for life.

 

The record seemed unbeatable, until one day, a student decided to go down the slide for life–head first. Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.

It was a dangerous move–seemingly foolish, and fraught with risk. Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the training. Without hesitation–the student slid down the rope–perilously fast, instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record.

The point? It’s the same in business and in any facet of life. Sometimes if you want to excel, you simply have to accept the risks and dive in anyway.

14. Take on the sharks.

Long before the television show, Navy SEALs learned to be afraid of sharks. There’s a part of their training when they have to swim in the waters off of San Clemente, California, which they are told is a breeding ground for sharks.

But, you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position–stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid. And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you–then summons up all your strength and punch him in the snout and he will turn and swim away.

This is the story of life. Bandits and bullies are all around. Usually, the only way to beat them is to take them head on.

15. Identify the moment that matters.

One of the keys to success is consistency–but of course we all know that there are some moments that simply matter more than others. One of the toughest during SEAL training involves training to attack an enemy ship–by swimming two miles alone underwater and, in the dark, approaching it from below.

 

“The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight–it blocks the surrounding street lamps–it blocks all ambient light,” McRaven explained. “To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel–the center line and the deepest part of the ship.”

The “darkest part of the mission” is the hardest–and the most important. We all have them in our lives. 

16. Be happy–and if you can’t be happy, fake it.

Truth to tell, SEAL training sounds flat-out sadistic at some points. During his training, McRaven talked about his entire team being forced to stand in freezing water up to their necks, while their instructors told them they wouldn’t let them out until five trainees gave up–and quit the entire course.

Their reply? They started to sing.

“The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything and then, one voice began to echo through the night–one voice raised in song,” he said. “The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm. One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing. We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well.”

Standing in the surf and mud and freezing cold still sucked, but it sucked a little less McRaven said, and that’s how they made it though–because they gave each other hope. 

 

17. Persevere–don’t ring the bell.

One way that SEAL training is a lot like the rest of the world is that there is an easy way to quit. You can simply give up, ring a brass bell in the middle of the compound in front of all of your peers, and walk away.

All you have to do to quit–is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT–and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell.

The vast majority of trainees ring the bell. The very few who don’t become U.S. Navy SEALs. They face even greater challenges, and someday people write about their example. 

“If you want to change the world,” McRaven says, “don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”

 

 

 

 

 

WPP Stream
Oct 26, 2016 · 7 min read

Earlier this month, I attended Stream, WPP’s unconference hosted by their CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and Israeli technology pioneer Yossi Vardi where they handpick a group of 300 brand execs, media and technology leaders and entrepreneurs to share on any topics they want by the beach in Greece. So, when pushed for a discussion topic, it seemed obvious to me to share and explore tips to reach peak performance from Navy SEAL and elite athletes with this group of individuals who want to be the best version of themselves on a daily basis. To understand why, let’s go back in time.

Discussions at WPP Stream 2016

In April 2014, I experienced a major burnout that landed me 8 days in the hospital and 3 weeks without working. I was running my own company at the time and the mix of not sleeping and eating well, intense pressure and the highs and lows of entrepreneurship got the better of me.

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be the best at what I do and push myself to the limit, never considering what the consequences would be if I ever went past that limit. So after that burn-out, I got my act together, started sleeping and eating properly and asked myself the question “How can I push myself to reach peak performance in the long run without going over the edge?” I started researching and reading more and more and I realized that there is something that all top performers, especially elite athletes and warriors, have in common: they spend an enormous amount of time developing mental toughness to maintain their ideal state of peak performance. So, for the past few years, I’ve strived to emulate athletes and warriors to perform in the workplace. And there are a few concepts that are common to both of these groups, that we discussed during WPP Stream, and that I think anyone can and should start to implement in their life today.

Developing Mental Toughness

Mental toughness is the ability to thrive despite adversity, it’s an ability to control panic and fear in order not to let them affect your performance. To improve the success rate of their selection program, The Navy SEALs, turned to neuroscience research to develop a mental toughness training program that enabled them to go from a quarter to a third of successful candidates. The four pillars of the program are Goal-Setting, Visualization, Self-Talk and Arousal Control.

Goal setting

What the Navy SEALs learned from neuroscience is that concentrating on specific goals allows the brain to bring structure to chaos and uncertainty, which are both major sources of stress. Goals are formed in the prefrontal cortex of our brain and focusing on goals helps lower the effect of anxiety which is formed in the amygdala. Dr Jason Selk, Director of Mental Training for the St Louis Cardinals says that it is important to distinguish Product Goals (what you want to achieve) and Process Goals (how you are going to achieve it).

A product goal is what you can achieve in a 6 to 12 months’ period. For instance, let’s say you want to achieve $100K in sales this year for your business. In order to get there, you’ll need some process goals, which are actions you’re going to do on a daily basis towards the product goal. There must be at least two or three process goals per product goal. In this example your process goal #1 might be calling 50 prospects/day while process goal #2 could be calling 10 leads/day. If you consistently hit your process goals, your product goal will eventually be achieved. It’s important to remember that with both types of goals, they need to be specific, measurable, positive and displayed.

Visualization

Visualization is the practice of seeing in your mind vivid images of something that you want to achieve. Commander Mark Divine, former Navy SEAL and author of the book “Unbeatable Mind”, says that there are two types of visualizations:

  • “Rehearsal visualization”: picturing yourself perform a skill to perfection.
  • “Ideal state visualization”: envisioning an ideal state for yourself at some point in the future.

Sport psychologist Jim Afremow in his book “The Champion’s Mind”, covers a prominent 1983 research study that demonstrated that visualization is “one of the most powerful weapons we have in our mental arsenal”…because “the brain does not always differentiate between real and vividly imagined experiences because the same systems in the brain are deployed for both types of experiences”

Self-Talk

Jim Afremow, covers as well Dr. Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis’s analysis of 32 previously published sport psychology studies which says that “The mind guides action. If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, then this will help our behavior”. Average adults talk to themselves at a rate of 300 to 1000 words per minute. In many cases, these thoughts are negative and uncontrolled, thereby leading to a decrease in performance. What we need is creating a positive loop using self-talk. Jim Afremow suggests to replace self-critical thoughts like “I’m not cut out for this” by power sentences like “bring it on now”. Other examples used by athletes are “Next play will be my best play”, “Let’s do this”, “I start strong and finish stronger”.

Lanny Bassham, Olympic medalist in rifle shooting in 1976 and mental training coach gives a great example of a combination of visualization and self-talk in his book “With Winning in Mind”.

In the 1970s he wanted to beat the national record of 396/400 in the kneeling position and set it to a perfect 400/400. Although he had never reached that mark in practice, he would, twice a day, visualize himself shooting perfectly. He would also visualize feeling the pressure rising when getting close to the end, so he rehearsed saying to himself, “That’s OK. I do this all the time”. Then, when the first day of competition came, he was ready. “I started with a 100 kneeling. My next two targets were also 100s. I began my last series with ten, ten, ten, ten. Only five more to go. Ten. Ten. Ten. Then reality set in. I was above the record. I heard an internal voice say, “That’s OK, I do this all the time.” I shot two additional tens, setting the national record at a perfect 400.”

Arousal control

Arousal control, also called breath control, is the ability to control the physiological reaction to stress through control of breathing. “To say that learning breath control is the most important component to forging mental toughness would not be an overstatement” says Mark Divine in Unbeatable Mind.

In the face of intense stress, anxiety or fear, your adrenaline spikes, your heart rate increases, your muscle tenses and your body starts shaking. These natural reactions, meant to help us survive life-threatening situations, get many of us to perform poorly in situations where we need to think straight. By breathing deeply, you can slow your heart rate and bring your nervous system back to normal. A simple breathing technique that Mark Divine suggests is called “Box-breathing”:

  • Inhale through your nose expanding your belly for 5 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 5 seconds
  • Exhale through your mouth for 5 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 5 seconds

I have been using this breathing pattern in my meditation practice everyday for the past year and a half and I do that for 1 minute (3 repetitions) several times a day at work when I want to calm down, refocus or when I am switching tasks. This is game-changing.

Bringing it all together — Try this at home

The concepts listed above are simple to understand but not easy to implement. They require a lot of regular practice and dedication. Here is a simple practice that will enable you to start integrating all four of these elements into your life.

Set up — 30 minutes a day for one or two weeks

  • Write down one important goal that you currently have — This is your product goal
  • Write 2 or 3 process goals for this product goal
  • Outline a visualization session of yourself performing your process goals (write on paper what you are going to imagine in your head)
  • For each process goals:
  • Chose a power sentence to kick-off your process goal
  • Chose a power sentence to to get back on track when you lose focus during your process goal

Practice — Every day

  • First thing in the morning or at the beginning of your workday do:
  • 1 minute of box breathing (3 repetitions)
  • A 10–15min visualization session of yourself performing your process goals. Make sure to visualize yourself using your self-talk power sentences during this session
  • Perform your process goals. And for each of them:
  • Start with 1 minute of box-breathing (3 repetitions)
  • Kick off your session with your self-talk power sentence
  • If you lose focus, use your self-talk power sentence to get back on track

Focus on only one product goals to get started. Once you’ll get used to this process, you can expand to other product goals and other areas of your life. Just like working out, after a while, you will start to see that your mental is getting stronger. You’ll be able to focus more, to handle pressure better, to be more and more in control and constantly able to perform at your desired state.

Some great resources to get started are the books mentioned in this article and the website www.brianjohnson.me which sums up all those books and give you tons of wisdom to optimize your life.

Here’s to being mentally tough and reaching our ideal state of peak performance.

By: Pierre Ntiruhungwa


Pierre Ntiruhungwa

A lifelong learner and entrepreneur at heart, Pierre wants to empower people to be the best version of themselves via his passion for education and entrepreneurship. He started his first company, Silicon Students, at age 22 with the ambition to create a school of entrepreneurship. This summer bootcamp for young aspiring entrepreneurs from all around the world in Silicon Valley ran for 3 years. He now runs Founders of the Future, a non-profit community to uncover, nurture and guide the next generation of tech founders from across Europe. Follow him on Twitter @pierresn and find out more on about.me/pierresn.

 
 
 

https://jamesclear.com/sleep

 

The Science of Sleep: A Brief Guide on How to Sleep Better Every Night

If you want to learn how to sleep better, then you’re in the right place. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know if you want to get better sleep. I’ll explain the science of sleep and how it works, discuss why many people suffer from sleep deprivation without knowing it, and offer practical tips for getting better sleep and having more energy.

Plain and simple, the purpose of this guide is to explain the science of how to sleep better. You can click the links below to jump to a particular section or simply scroll down to read everything. At the end of this page, you’ll find a complete list of all the articles I have written on sleep.

I. The Science of Sleep

II. How Sleep Works

III. How to Sleep Better

 

I. The Science of Sleep

Sleep is one of the strangest things we do each day. The average adult will spend 36 percent of his or her life asleep. For one-third of our time on earth, we transition from the vibrant, thoughtful, active organisms we are during the day and power down into a quiet state of hibernation.

But what is sleep, exactly? Why is it so important and so restorative for our bodies and minds? How does it impact our lives when we are awake?

The Purpose of Sleep

Sleep serves multiple purposes that are essential to your brain and body. Let’s break down some of the most important ones.

The first purpose of sleep is restoration. Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. While this is completely normal, too much accumulation of these waste products has been linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Alright, so how do we get rid of metabolic waste? Recent research has suggested that sleep plays a crucial role in cleaning out the brain each night. While these toxins can be flushed out during waking hours, researchers have found that clearance during sleep is as much as two-fold faster than during waking hours.

The way this process occurs is fairly remarkable:

During sleep, brain cells actually shrink by 60 percent, allowing the brain’s waste-removal system—called the glymphatic system—to essentially “take out the trash” more easily. The result? Your brain is restored during sleep, and you wake up refreshed and with a clear mind.

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation. Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is the process that maintains and strengthens your long-term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to form both concrete memories (facts and figures) and emotional memories.

Finally, sleep is paramount for metabolic health. Studies have shown that when you sleep 5.5 hours per night instead of 8.5 hours per night, a lower proportion of the energy you burn comes from fat, while more comes from carbohydrate and protein. This can predispose you to fat gain and muscle loss. Additionally, insufficient sleep or abnormal sleep cycles can lead to insulin insensitivity and metabolic syndrome, increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

All of this to say, that better sleep is critical for your mental and physical health. Before we get too deep into this sleep guide though, let’s pause for just a second. If you’re enjoying this article on sleep, then you’ll probably find my other writing on performance and human behavior useful. Each week, I share self-improvement tips based on proven scientific research through my free email newsletter.

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How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Alright, so sleep is important, but how much sleep do you really need? To answer that question, let’s consider an experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University.

The researchers began the experiment by gathering 48 healthy men and women who had been averaging seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Then, they split these subjects into four groups. The first group had to stay up for 3 days straight without sleeping. The second group slept for 4 hours per night. The third group slept for 6 hours per night. And the fourth group slept for 8 hours per night. In these final three groups—4, 6, and 8 hours of sleep—the subjects were held to these sleep patterns for two weeks straight. Throughout the experiment the subjects were tested on their physical and mental performance. 

The Cost of Sleep Deprivation

The irony of it all is that many of us are suffering from sleep deprivation so that we can work more, but the drop in performance ruins any potential benefits of working additional hours.

In the United States alone, studies have estimated that sleep deprivation is costing businesses over $100 billion each year in lost efficiency and performance. 

Here’s a useful analogy for why sleep is so important.

The Theory of Cumulative Stress

Imagine that your health and energy are a bucket of water. In your day-to-day life, there are things that fill your bucket up. Sleep is one of the main inputs. These are also things like nutrition, meditation, stretching, laughter, and other forms of recovery.

There are also forces that drain the water from your bucket. These are outputs like lifting weights or running, stress from work or school, relationship problems, or other forms of stress and anxiety. 

The forces that drain your bucket aren’t all negative, of course. To live a productive life, it can be important to have some of those things flowing out of your bucket. Working hard in the gym, at school, or at the office allows you to produce something of value. But even positive outputs are still outputs and they drain your energy accordingly.

These outputs are cumulative. Even a little leak can result in significant water loss over time.

Keeping Your Bucket Full

If you want to keep your bucket full, you have two options.

  1. Refill your bucket on a regular basis. That means making time for sleep and recovery.
  2. Let the stressors in your life accumulate and drain your bucket. Once you hit empty, your body will force you to rest through injury and illness.

Recovery is not negotiable. You can either make time to rest and rejuvenate now or make time to be sick and injured later. Keep your bucket full.

Ok, But Can You Catch Up on Sleep?

Extra sleep can remedy some of the negative effects of several bad nights of sleep. New research found that catching up on sleep on the weekends brought daytime sleepiness and inflammation levels back to baseline; however, cognitive performance did NOT rebound.

What exactly does that mean? If you’re not getting enough sleep during the week, you cannot depend on catch-up sleep on the weekends to restore your focus and attention. The only way to keep levels of those performance measures high is to make sure you’re getting adequate sleep every night.

Now does this mean you shouldn’t even try to catch up on sleep? No. If you’re already sleep deprived, you should definitely try to get some extra sleep. But the best thing to do, both for immediate performance and for the long-term, is to prioritize sleep every night—not just on the weekends. 

II. How Sleep Works

The Sleep-Wake Cycle

The quality of your sleep is determined by a process called the sleep-wake cycle.

There are two important parts of the sleep-wake cycle:

  1. Slow wave sleep (also known as deep sleep)
  2. REM sleep (REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement)

During slow wave sleep the body relaxes, breathing becomes more regular, blood pressure falls, and the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, which makes it more difficult to wake up. This phase is critical for renewal and repair of the body. During slow wave sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. Researchers also believe that the body’s immune system is repaired during this stage. Slow wave sleep is particularly critical if you’re an athlete. You’ll often hear about professional athletes like Roger Federer or LeBron James sleeping 11 or 12 hours per night. 

Age-Related Sleep Changes

According to Harvard Medical School researchers, “As people age, it takes longer to fall asleep, a phenomenon called increased sleep latency. And sleep efficiency – the percentage of time spent asleep while in bed – decreases as well.”

Learn how to sleep better by understanding sleep cycle changes and age

Based on my calculations of the above data, the average 80-year-old gets a whopping 62 percent less slow wave sleep than the average 20-year-old (20 percent of the average sleep cycle versus 7.5 percent). There are many factors that impact the aging of body tissues and cells, but it stands to reason that if your body gets less slow wave sleep to restore itself each night, then the aging process will accelerate as a result.

In other words, it seems reasonable to say that getting good sleep is one of your best defenses against aging quickly.

The Circadian Rhythm

What is your sleep-wake cycle dictated by?

Answer: the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a biological cycle of different processes that happen over a time span of about 24 hours.

Learn how to sleep better by understanding the circadian rhythm

Here are some key points in the typical 24-hour cycle:

  • 6 A.M. Cortisol levels increase to wake your brain and body
  • 7 A.M. Melatonin production stops
  • 9 A.M. Sex hormone production peaks
  • 10 A.M. Mental alertness levels peak
  • 2:30 P.M. Best motor coordination
  • 3:30 P.M. Fastest reaction time
  • 5 P.M. Greatest cardiovascular efficiency and muscle strength
  • 7 P.M. Highest blood pressure and body temperature
  • 9 P.M. Melatonin production begins to prepare the body for sleep
  • 10 P.M. Bowel movements suppressed as the body quiets down
  • 2 A.M. Deepest sleep
  • 4 A.M. Lowest body temperature

Obviously, these times are not exact and merely display the general pattern of the circadian rhythm. The exact times of your circadian rhythm will vary based on daylight, your habits, and other factors we will discuss later in this guide.

The circadian rhythm is impacted by three main factors: light, time, and melatonin.

Light. Light is probably the most significant pace setter of the circadian rhythm. Staring into a bright light for 30 minutes or so can often reset your circadian rhythm regardless of what time of day it is. More commonly, the rising of the sun and light striking your eyes triggers the transition to a new cycle.

Time. The time of day, your daily schedule, and the order in which you perform tasks can all impact your sleep-wake cycle.

Melatonin. This is the hormone that causes drowsiness and controls body temperature. Melatonin is produced in a predictable daily rhythm, increasing after dark and decreasing before dawn. Researchers believe that the melatonin production cycle helps keep the sleep-wake cycle on track.

The 2-Process Model of Sleep Regulation

In 1982, Dr. Alexander Borbely published an article in the journal Human Neurobiology describing something he called the 2-process model of sleep regulation. This conceptual framework for sleep describes two processes that occur simultaneously to regulate sleep and wake states.

Process 1 is sleep pressure. Basically, sleep pressure mounts from the moment you wake up, to the time when you go to sleep. While you’re sleeping, pressure decreases. If you get a full night of sleep, you start the next day with low sleep pressure.

Process 2 is wake drive, which counteracts sleep pressure and is controlled by a 24-hour rhythm that repeats in a wave-pattern.

It’s important to understand this process because it helps reveal an important point about sleep in our modern world that I learned from sleep scientist Dan Pardi:

For millions of years, humans and our ancestors have evolved to sleep at night (when it is dark) and wake during the day (when it is light). However, in the modern world, we work inside all day, often in areas that are darker than the outside world. And then, at night, we look at bright screens and televisions. Low light during the day, more light at night: It’s the opposite of naturally occurring cycles and it seems quite likely that it could mess up your wake rhythm and circadian rhythm.

III. How to Sleep Better

How to Fall Asleep Fast

Develop a “power down” ritual before bed. The light from computer screens, televisions, and phones can hinder the production of melatonin, which means your body isn’t preparing the hormones it needs to enter the sleep phase. Specifically, it is the blue wavelength of light that seems to decrease melatonin production. Developing a “power down” routine where you shut off all electronics an hour or two before sleep can be a big help. Additionally, working late at night can keep your mind racing and your stress levels high, which also prevents the body from calming down for sleep. Turn off the screens and read a book instead. It’s the perfect way to learn something useful and power down before bed. (Another option is to download an app called f.lux, which reduces the brightness of your screen closer to bedtime.)

Use relaxation techniques. Researchers believe that at least 50 percent of insomnia cases are emotion or stress related. Find outlets to reduce your stress and you’ll often find that better sleep comes as a result. Proven methods include daily journaling, deep breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, and keeping a gratitude journal (write down something you are thankful for each day).

How to Improve Sleep Quality and Duration

If you want to know how to sleep better and boost your performance there are 3 levers you can “pull” to give yourself a boost.

  1. Intensity
  2. Timing
  3. Duration

Intensity refers to how well you sleep. The percentage of sleeping time you spend in slow wave sleep and REM sleep largely determine the quality of your sleep each night. 

Daily Habits for Better Sleep

Next, let’s talk about how to sleep better by harnessing the power of a few simple, daily habits.

Get outside. Aim for at least 30 minutes of sun exposure each day.

Turn out the lights. When it gets dark outside, dim the lights in your house and reduce blue or full-spectrum light in your environment. F.lux, a free software app for your computer, makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

Avoid caffeine. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, eliminating caffeine from your diet is a quick win. If you can’t go without your morning cup of coffee, then a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is “No coffee after noon.” This gives caffeine enough time to wear off before bed time.

Stop smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco use has been linked to a long line of health issues, and poor sleep is another one on the list. I don’t have any personal experience with tobacco use, but I have heard from friends who have quit successfully that Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking book is the best resource on the topic.

Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only. Is your bedroom designed to promote good sleep? The ideal sleeping environment is dark, cool, and quiet. Don’t make your bedroom a multi-purpose room. Eliminate TVs, laptops, electronics, and clutter. These are simple ways to improve the choice architecture of your bedroom, so that sleep is easier and distraction is harder. When you go to the bedroom, go there to sleep.

Natural Sleep Aids

Exercise. There are too many benefits to exercise to list them all here. When it comes to sleep, exercise will make it easier for your brain and body to power down at night. Furthermore, obesity can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. The role of exercise only becomes more important with age. Fit middle-aged adults sleep significantly better than their overweight peers. One caveat: avoid exercising two to three hours before bedtime as the mental and physical stimulation can leave your nervous system feeling wired and make it difficult to calm down at night.

Temperature. Most people sleep best in a cool room. The ideal range is usually between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius).

Sound. A quiet space is key for good sleep. If peace and quiet is hard to come by, try controlling the bedroom noise by creating “white noise” with a fan. Or, use ear plugs (here’s a good pair).

Alcohol. This one is a slippery slope. It is true that having a drink before bed — a “night cap” — often does help people fall asleep. However, while it makes it easier to fall asleep, it actually reduces the quality of your sleep and delays the REM cycle. So you fall asleep faster, but it’s possible that you’ll wake up without feeling rested. It’s probably best to improve your sleep through other methods before resorting to alcohol to do the job.

Final Thoughts on How to Sleep Better

Cumulative sleep debt is a barrier between you and optimal performance. If you want to know how to sleep better, the answer is simple but remarkably underrated in our productivity-obsessed culture: get more sleep.

All Sleep Articles

This is a complete list of articles I’ve written on sleep. Enjoy!

FOOTNOTES
  1. The cumulative cost of additional wakefulness
  2. How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With?
  3. Functional and Economic Impact of Sleep Loss and Sleep-Related Disorders
  4. The remaining 5 percent are due to genetic variations that allow them to perform optimally on less sleep. Obviously, it is unlikely that you or I have been dealt such a favorable genetic hand.
  5. My image of the bucket was inspired by the original idea of the stress and recovery bucket mentioned in Paul Chek’s book, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
  6. Thanks to Mark Watts for originally sharing with me the idea that stress is cumulative.
  7. More on that study in this article: Can You Ever REALLY Catch Up on Sleep?
  8. Don’t you find it interesting that many of the best athletes in the world sleep at least 10 hours per night? Wouldn’t you assume that if anyone had access to the latest biohacking technology and advanced sleeping tactics, it would be the world’s greatest athletes? If there was any group of people who could afford the research and money to purchase the best ways to hack their sleep and get more done in less time, it would be this group. They could use this time for increased training, additional practice, and so on. And yet, sleeping more is what provides them greater value. I mention this because it can be easy for us to look for a quick fix, a “biohack” that allows us to somehow master the puzzle of sleep and get more done. But when you look at the world’s greatest performers you see that the answer is very simple: sleep more
  9. The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players
  10. More in the first half of this article by Dan Pardi
  11. Improving Sleep: A guide to a good night’s rest, a Harvard Medical School publication
  12. The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players
  13. Improving Sleep: A guide to a good night’s rest, a Harvard Medical School publication
  14. Thanks to Dan Pardi for telling me about the 3 levers of sleep.

From Jamesclear.com/shoshin

This Zen Concept Will Help You Stop Being a Slave to Old Beliefs

I played baseball for 17 years of my life. During that time, I had many different coaches and I began to notice repeating patterns among them.

Coaches tend to come up through a certain system. New coaches will often land their first job as an assistant coach with their alma mater or a team they played with previously. After a few years, the young coach will move on to their own head coaching job where they tend to replicate the same drills, follow similar practice schedules, and even yell at their players in a similar fashion as the coaches they learned from. People tend to emulate their mentors. 

This phenomenon—our tendency to repeat the behavior we are exposed to—extends to nearly everything we learn in life.

Your political or religious beliefs are mostly the result of the system you were raised in. People raised by Catholic families tend to be Catholic. People raised by Muslim families tend to be Muslim. Although you may not agree on every issue, your parents political attitudes tend to shape your political attitudes. The way we approach our day-to-day work and life is largely a result of the system we were trained in and the mentors we had along the way. At some point, we all learned to think from someone else. That’s how knowledge is passed down.

Here’s the hard question: Who is to say that the way you originally learned something is the best way? What if you simply learned one way of doing things, not the way of doing things?

Consider my baseball coaches. Did they actually consider all of the different ways of coaching a team? Or did they simply mimic the methods they had been exposed to? The same could be said of nearly any area in life. Who is to say that the way you originally learned a skill is the best way? Most people think they are experts in a field, but they are really just experts in a particular style.

In this way, we become a slave to our old beliefs without even realizing it. We adopt a philosophy or strategy based on what we have been exposed to without knowing if it’s the optimal way to do things.

Shoshin: The Beginner’s Mind

There is a concept in Zen Buddhism known as shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” Shoshin refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject.

When you are a true beginner, your mind is empty and open. You’re willing to learn and consider all pieces of information, like a child discovering something for the first time. As you develop knowledge and expertise, however, your mind naturally becomes more closed. You tend to think, “I already know how to do this” and you become less open to new information.

There is a danger that comes with expertise. We tend to block the information that disagrees with what we learned previously and yield to the information that confirms our current approach. We think we are learning, but in reality we are steamrolling through information and conversations, waiting until we hear something that matches up with our current philosophy or previous experience, and cherry-picking information to justify our current behaviors and beliefs. Most people don’t want new information, they want validating information.

The problem is that when you are an expert you actually need to pay more attention, not less. Why? Because when you are already familiar with 98 percent of the information on a topic, you need to listen very carefully to pick up on the remaining 2 percent. 

As adults our prior knowledge blocks us from seeing things anew. To quote zen master Shunryo Suzuki, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

How to Rediscover Your Beginner’s Mind

Here are a few practical ways to rediscover your beginner’s mind and embrace the concept of shoshin.

Let go of the need to add value. Many people, especially high achievers, have an overwhelming need to provide value to the people around them. On the surface, this sounds like a great thing. But in practice, it can handicap your success because you never have a conversation where you just shut up and listen. If you’re constantly adding value (“You should try this…” or “Let me share something that worked well for me…”) then you kill the ownership that other people feel about their ideas. At the same time, it’s impossible for you to listen to someone else when you’re talking. So, step one is to let go of the need to always contribute. Step back every now and then and just observe and listen. For more on this, read Marshall Goldsmith’s excellent book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (audiobook).

Let go of the need to win every argument. A few years ago, I read a smart post by Ben Casnocha about becoming less competitive as time goes on. In Ben’s words, “Others don’t need to lose for me to win.” This is a philosophy that fits well with the idea of shoshin. If you’re having a conversation and someone makes a statement that you disagree with, try releasing the urge to correct them. They don’t need to lose the argument for you to win. Letting go of the need to prove a point opens up the possibility for you to learn something new. Approach it from a place of curiosity: Isn’t that interesting. They look at this in a totally different way. Even if you are right and they are wrong, it doesn’t matter. You can walk away satisfied even if you don’t have the last word in every conversation.

Tell me more about that. I have a tendency to talk a lot (see “Providing Too Much Value” above). Every now and then, I’ll challenge myself to stay quiet and pour all of my energy into listening to someone else. My favorite strategy is to ask someone to, “Tell me more about that.” It doesn’t matter what the topic is, I’m simply trying to figure out how things work and open my mind to hearing about the world through someone else’s perspective.

Assume that you are an idiot. In his fantastic book, Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Taleb writes, “I try to remind my group each week that we are all idiots and know nothing, but we have the good fortune of knowing it.” The flaws discussed in this article are simply a product of being human. We all have to learn information from someone and somewhere, so we all have a mentor or a system that guides our thoughts. The key is to realize this influence.

We are all idiots, but if you have the privilege of knowing that, then you can start to let go of your preconceptions and approach life with a beginner’s mind.

Shoshin

  1. Occasionally, you’ll hear about this system-focused behavior in the elite levels of sport as well. “He coached under Bill Belichick and learned the Patriots’ system.” Or, “He was an assistant under Urban Meyer and learned his way of doing things.”
  2. Hat tip to Richard W., a reader of this website, for explaining to me why you need to pay more attention once you are an expert. He noticed that after reading many books on a certain topic, you know it so well that you can’t just skim through similar books. Most of the information will be repetitive, so you need to read line-by-line to discover the one insight you haven’t heard before.
  3. Thanks to Sam Yang for his article on shoshin, which influenced my thinking.

Mark Moschel

Plus A Virtual Walk Through The Bulletproof Biohacking Conference

 

Mark Moschel

Dec 2, 2015 · 20 min read

On Oct 23rd, biohackers from around the world gathered in Pasadena for the 3rd Annual Bulletproof Biohacking Conference. It was a whirlwind of a time. I’ll share what I learned so you don’t miss out.

But first, we gotta talk.

- Real Talk Zone -Let’s get real for a moment. We’re going to learn a bunch of biohacks in this post, many of which I’ll ask you to try yourself.Feeling is understanding”, one of the speakers said. When you try a technique yourself and experience what it feels like, you’ll understand it at a deeper level. So commit to trying these techniques with me and be mindful of how they make you feel.We’ll do this together. Are you in? Good!

Let’s do our first biohack.

Don’t worry! We won’t be doing these today 🙂

Gratitude

The conference started with Dave leading everyone in a moment of gratitude. Let’s join him in this practice now.

Our goal is to feel gratitude in our heart.

In a moment, close your eyes and try these steps:

  1. Visualize one thing you are grateful for.
  2. While holding this thought, breathe deeply. Imagine the air flowing in and out of your heart.
  3. Say “I am grateful…” to yourself as you breathe and notice the feeling of gratitude expanding.

Give it a try.


How’d that go?

Share with someone what you were grateful for. Text a friend, tell a stranger, post it as a comment below, tweet it, or just say it aloud to yourself.

As Alison Cebulla said, the kindness you share in the world finds its way back to you.

Inside the Biohacking Carnival

The biohacking conference is not like most conferences. Yes, there were talks and networking opportunities, but there was so much more. At all times, there were people…

  • getting injections of vitamins and minerals
  • being pulsed with low doses of electricity
  • doing full-body workouts in 2-minutes of adaptive resistance training
  • sampling their poop in the bathroom
  • meditating within virtual environments
  • doing handstands on vibration plates
  • getting full-body composition scans
  • sitting in infrared saunas
  • attempting to balance on indoor slacklines
  • tasting superfood and bulletproof concoctions
  • breathing flavored oxygen from an oxygen bar
  • lying in hyperbaric chambers
  • driving cars that look like butter down the sidewalk

It’s more an interactive carnival than conference.

Here’s an attempt to organize as many exhibits as I can remember.

Over the course of the weekend, a few themes emerged. The biggest one started two days before the conference.

On Wednesday and Thursday, 155 future Bulletproof Coaches got together for a 2-day in-person event. Surprisingly, the focus of their time together was not on the Bulletproof Diet. It was on Presence.

“We coach from a state of Presence”, Dr. Mark Atkinson instructed, “and we teach others to live from that state as well.”

Presence & Mindfulness

What is presence, what does it have to do with biohacking, and why was it mentioned by just about EVERY speaker at the conference?

Dr. Mark defines it as an optimal flow state of consciousness.

It’s the state from which clarity, connection, creativity, happiness, and high performance arise.

He references this quote from Eckhart Tolle, the spiritual author of The Power of Now:

“In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. We may call it presence, awareness, the unconditioned consciousness.”

In simpler terms, it’s the experience of living right now, in this moment, without thoughts of the past or worries of the future.

Normally, you live in your head. If you stop and ask, “where is my attention right now?”… it’s in your head. You’re thinking.

We spend most of our time there.

Our heads are controlled by our inner labrador, as Dave likes to say. That’s the animal part of our mind that reacts to primitive needs. It’s always afraid we might die, wants to eat, and likes to hump things. It’s main task is to keep us safe. To do so, its always looking around for threats and thinks just about everything is one.

Running late for work… threat!
Traffic… threat!
Person in elevator glanced at me weird… THREAT!!!!!!!!

The poor labrador is super freakin’ stressed. The chatter in our heads matches that. We’re thinking about that thing we should have done yesterday, the work task due at 5pm, or the girl we like and all the things we did and didn’t say to her.

These thoughts and labrador-triggered emotions form a fog around our head. Needless to say, this is not a state of high performance.

Presence, then, is the state of clarity when the fog has dissipated away.

We achieve presence through the practice of mindfulness. Dan Radecki and Phil Dixon, from the Academy of Brain-based Leadership, gave a talk on the neuroscience of mindfulness and how it builds resilience in the brain. They shared this definition.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.”

Mindfulness is the practice of observing the fog. This simple awareness of the fog can begin to clear it away.

Dan and Phil shared a study from the Marine Corps that showed as mindfulness training increased, the participants performed better on working memory tests and reported less negative and more positive emotions.

In his talk on the Science of Happiness, Dave shared research on how a practice of mindfulness is associated with an increase in reported happiness and a decrease in negative thoughts.

Bill Harris, in his talk on the new science of super awareness, showed how awareness of our attention is directly associated with all six characteristics of the flow state. This awareness, then, helps allow the flow state to happen.

Emily Fletcher, Dr. Tami Meraglia, John Gray, and Alison Cebulla also mentioned the importance of this present-state awareness to decrease stress and increase performance.

If just about every speaker mentioned it, it’s probably something we should take seriously.

** RECAP **

  • Presence = a state of clarity and flow that enables our peak performance
  • Mindfulness = a clear, non-judgmental awareness of the present moment that moves us closer to Presence.

The formula, then, is this:

Practicing mindfulness → increased performance.

But how do we “biohack” our way to enhanced mindfulness?

Neurofeedback, like Dave’s 40 Years of Zen training, may be the most direct route. However, there are plenty of other techniques that are also highly effective.

Here are 11 I learned at the conference. All of them can help you increase mindfulness. Of those listed, meditation (#3 below) has the most research and experience supporting its effectiveness.

Best of all, they are all biohacks you can try right now.


1. Breathing — Wim Hof

Plenty of speakers talked about the power of breath awareness, but special guest Wim Hof was the most intriguing.

Wim Hof, known as “The Iceman”, is well known for his superhuman ability to withstand extreme cold.

Here’s a few incredible things he’s done:

  • In 2007, he climbed past the “death zone” altitude on Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts.
  • In 2009, Hof completed a full marathon in −20 °C (−4 °F) dressed only in shorts. He finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes.
  • He currently holds 21 Guinness World Records, including the longest ice bath at 1 hour, 53 minutes, 12 seconds.
  • He once injected himself with toxins (under doctor supervision) to demonstrate his ability to control his autonomic immune response. He consciously raised his cortisol levels and lowered his blood concentrations of cytokines using only his meditation techniques.

One of his techniques is called the Wim Hof Method and it’s a breathing exercise. Aside from enabling him to achieve all the amazing accomplishments above, Wim’s breathing practice claims the following benefits:

Ability to voluntarily influence your immune system (here’s a study done on 12 people trained with Wim’s methods that show this effect).

Increasing blood circulation, which improves muscle endurance and recovery.

Increasing your concentration and mindfulness.

From the stage, he led the audience in one round of this technique. Let’s do another round now.

Try this:

First, warm up with a few deep breaths. Draw air deep into your abdomen, hold a moment, then exhale completely, pushing out all the air in your lungs. Do this a few times.

Now follow these steps:

Step 1: 30 power breaths

Strong inhale through the mouth to fill the lungs and belly, then exhale through the mouth to push all air out. Short but powerful bursts, like blowing up a balloon.

Inhale… exhale…
Inhale… exhale…
Inhale… exhale…

Do that 30 times.

Your body will become saturated with oxygen. Symptoms could be light-headedness or tingling sensations in the body. If you feel dizziness or pain, stop the practice and breathe normally again.

After 30 reps…

Step 2: breathe out fully and hold

Relax your body and mind. Notice the oxygen spreading around your body and notice any feelings that arise.

You’ll be able to hold your breath with no air in your lungs for much longer than usual. He challenged the audience to hold for 1 minute. It seemed almost everyone did.

When you are about to gasp…

Step 3: inhale fully again and hold for 15 seconds

That’s one round.

Ready for the full thing? Do this:

1. Before doing the Wim Hof Method, do as many pushups as you can. This will be baseline.

2. Now do 4 rounds of this method (4 rounds of 30 reps)

3. After exhaling and holding on your very last rep, do another round of pushups. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Read more about Wim’s methods and watch his fascinating Vice documentary here: http://www.icemanwimhof.com/innerfire

2. Cold — Wim Hof and Dave Asprey

Wim and Dave both mentioned the benefits of cold therapy. You don’t have to be as extreme as Wim — he runs around in freezing cold temperatures in only his shorts — but you can start to move in that direction.

Some documented benefits of cold therapy:

Enhancing immune function (here’s a study where it increases glutathione levels).

Releasing adinopectin, which helps break down fat and repairs muscles.

Increasing cell longevity, similar to calorie restriction and intermittent fasting.

However, my favorite benefit of cold therapy is simply the ability to overcome your fear. Knowing you will be uncomfortable but jumping into the cold anyway is a great life skill to practice. Afterwords, you’ll feel ready to conquer the world.

Try this:

Option 1: Cold Showers

This is the easiest option to try today. Here’s what will happen. You’ll be terrified to jump into it because it’s going to be COOOOOOOOLD. That’s okay. Overcome that mindset. As Wim says, embrace the cold as your power.

Option 2: Ice Baths

Buy two bags of ice from a nearby gas station. Drop it in your tub and fill with cold water. Let it sit a few minutes and then plop yourself in.

Alternative: Submerging just your face, which is supposedly easier but similarly effective.

Option 3: Cryotherapy

Dave, in a talk on his day-to-day biohacking, showed a picture of the cryotherapy tank in his biohacking facility. He uses it just about every day. It has a host of benefits (read about those here). Like all things biohacking, it’s best to experience it yourself and observe how you feel.

Option 4: Go outside in the freezing cold

You could also be like Wim and walk around outside in your shorts during the winter. I haven’t tried this one yet, but since I’m in Chicago and winter is coming, I’ll be experimenting with it very soon.

3. Meditation — Emily Fletcher and Dave Asprey

Meditation is the intentional practice of building mindfulness, clearing away fog, and moving toward presence.

There are lots of different ways to meditate:

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Ziva Meditation
  • Transcendental Meditation
  • Breathing Meditation
  • Zen Meditation
  • Guided Meditation
  • Holosync Meditation

All are practices to declutter the mind and clear away fog. Any of them can work. More information on meditation techniques is here.

Try this:

Here’s one meditation technique that Emily Fletcher shared during her Friday talk. Watch the video and do the guided meditation with her.

The video is from a prior talk at Google. The meditation part is ~6 minutes long.

4. Internal Generator — Brendon Burchard and Dr. Robert Cooper

In the opening keynote, Brendon Burchard shared the 5 traits of high performers — clarity, energy, productivity, influence, and courage. A common misconception is that you HAVE these things. With that belief, you become a victim when you feel lacking in one of those areas.

Instead, think of yourself as a power plant. You GENERATE these traits.

Feeling low energy? You can generate energy from within you.

Dr. Robert Cooper echoed this idea in his Saturday keynote when he asked the audience to evaluate their current level of energy and focus.

High performers, he said, move through their day with a constant awareness of these levels. They notice when those levels dip and consciously raise them.

Try this:

Let’s do a quick check in. At this moment, what’s your self-rating? Circle or click on a number for each.

Energy — 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Focus — 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Now consciously increase your energy level by 3. If you were a 6, generate the energy to become a 9. Do you feel the spike in your actual energy?

Now increase your focus by 3. Aren’t you suddenly much more focused?

This is a tool you can utilize at any time, and, as Dr. Cooper said, high performers always do.

5. Power Poses — Max Gotzler

Max Gotzler gave a talk about tracking and hacking testosterone. In it, he shared a trick for giving your testosterone a quick boost. Watch the video below and do exactly what they do. Hopefully you’re in a crowded, quiet space 🙂

Power poses, like those in the video above or image below, can very quickly boost your testosterone and decrease your cortisol levels.

Try this:

Hold one of the power poses below for 2 minutes and you’ll feel a change in your confidence, mood, and energy.

6. Laughter

I met one entertaining individual who told me about his laughing meditation practice. A small group of us participated in a session. It’s easy and effective. You can literally do it right now. Just start laughing.

Laughing has a few benefits…
— It reduces stress hormones
— It boosts your immune system
— It makes you happy

Try this:

Think about something that stresses you. Maybe a work deadline, a conversation you’re second-guessing, or an event you’re not looking forward to.

Now, pretend you are pointing at it and start laughing out loud. Even if the laugh is fake, it still works. Your physical state can alter your mental and emotional states.

Keep laughing while you act out the thing that stresses you. Make it goofy.

You’ll feel the stress of the situation melt away. It’s a wonderful feeling.

As MC of the conference, there were times I felt the burden of stress. Fortunately, I’d frequently run into my laughing meditation friends and they’d immediately burst out into laughter, which would prompt me to burst out into laughter, and then suddenly I’d feel a whole lot better.

It may sound silly (and it is!), but laughter is a surprisingly powerful biohack.

7. Daily Prompts — Brendon Burchard, Emily Fletcher, Dr. Tami Meraglia, and Dr. Robert Cooper

We’re forgetful creatures.

We have intentions to be more kind, to eat better, and to be more mindful, but we often forget about those intentions in our moment-to-moment actions.

A few speakers shared a simple but effective trick to overcome this: daily prompts.

We may forget our best intentions, but we never forget to check our phone when it buzzes.

Brendon Burchard recommended setting daily alarms on your phone as a reminder of what’s most important to you. What 3 words best describe the type of person you want to be? Set those 3 words as your reminder.

Emily Fletcher suggested a similar practice. Use reminders on your phone to be more present throughout the day. You might include a message in the alert that says “Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself to be present in this moment.

Dr. Robert Cooper also suggested a daily prompt. Every night, he asks himself “What did I learn today that was new?

The brain will create what Dr. Cooper calls an anticipatory performance rise. In other words, because you know the question is coming, your mind will seek out new things to learn each day so you are ready to answer it.

Try this:

Choose one of the three examples mentioned by our speakers as your daily prompt:

— Brendon: 3 words describing who you want to be — Emily: “Breathe and remember to be present in this moment” — Dr. Cooper: “What did I learn today that was new?”

Create a new alarm in your phone and set the title or label as that reminder.

It sounds simple, but don’t forget, we’re forgetful creatures.

7. Daily Prompts

We’re forgetful creatures.

We have intentions to be…

… just kidding 🙂

Since we are forgetful, though, let’s pause a moment for a quick reflection. Join me in the grey box!

We talked earlier about the fog around our head. This is a long article and I’m sure fog has developed. Take a moment to clear it now.Bring your attention back to the present moment. This is your chance to practice mindfulness.So far, we’ve described these biohacks:- Gratitude
- Wim Hof Breathing Method
- Cold Therapy
- Meditation
- Internal Generator (check-ins)
- Power poses
- Laughter
- Daily PromptsWe have 4 more biohacks to cover. Let’s continue!

8. Eat More Butter & Fat — all attendees

Most people are starting to learn that fat isn’t as bad for you as we once thought. The benefits are documented nicely here: Why Saturated Fat Is Good For You.

Biohackers have taken it all the way to the other extreme. We believe the right kinds of fat are VERY good for you.

We’re clearly practicing what we believe. In the 3 days of the conference, 600 lbs of butter was consumed.

Let’s put that in perspective real quick.

Warning: we’re about to go on a wild butter tangent. If you’re interested, jump into the tangent box with me. Otherwise, skip ahead to the next biohack.

** Butter Tangent Box **600 lbs of butter in 3 days.That’s 0.5 lbs per person.
1 stick of butter is 0.25 lbs (and 8 tablespoons).
So each person ate two sticks of butter, or 16 tablespoons.
The USDA recommends a total fat intake of 2 tablespoons per day. Each person had almost 3x that in butter alone.

In total, that’s 75 gallons of butter consumed at the conference.

That’s a LOT of butter!I also saw people who brought their own sticks of butter. As if there wouldn’t be enough. It seems sticks of butter are to biohackers what Kit Kat bars are to teenagers on Halloween.

This guy really liked all the butter
There was fat in other surprising places too.Like the water…

And the toothpaste…

And the moisturizer…

Even local restaurants began serving more fat.This was one of the most under-appreciated parts of conference. Seven restaurants in Pasadena adjusted their menus to serve Bulletproof meals. That means they had to learn the fundamentals of the Bulletproof diet, teach it to their staffs, change their suppliers to source higher-quality ingredients (including high-quality grass-fed butter), and adopt new cooking styles to meet Bulletproof standards.That’s amazing!I’m not sure if they’re still serving these Bulletproof meals now that the conference carnival has left town, but I am confident the people who worked the restaurants those days are a little more conscious of healthy eating. That knowledge will stay with them as they continue to evolve their menus over time.

A local sushi restaurant prepared sashimi with Brain Octane oil.
While we’re speaking of Butter…Have you ever seen a car that looks like a stick of butter? Neither had I. But when butter-loving biohackers get together, things like this just happen…

The Concept

The Real World

I sat in the coffee cup as we drove the car around the block one evening. People gave us very weird looks 🙂

We’re out of the tangent box!

Try this:

  • Add grass-fed butter to your coffee
  • Add grass-fed butter to your tea
  • Add grass-fed butter to your veggies
  • Add MCT oil to your sushi and salads

9. Quit Alcohol (or biohack it!) — James Swanwick

We all know alcohol is bad for us. It’s a toxin and toxins aren’t good for the body.

James Swanwick, in a talk on how to hack, reduce, or quit alcohol, shared some of the negative consequences of drinking:

– lowers testosterone
– reduces libido
– kills brain cells
– leads to leaky gut
– makes you fat
– disrupts sleep
– dehydrates your skin
– is expensive

Obviously, quitting alcohol would provide a boost to our health and performance. The only problem is that quitting is hard! There’s a lot of social and societal pressure to drink.

James eventually quit drinking and hasn’t looked back. Here’s how you can experiment with this too.

Try this:

First, commit to 30 days without alcohol. That’s only 4 weekends. It’s really not too much time. Then use these tips to make it easy.

Tips:

  1. Reframe your thoughts. You are not making a sacrifice to quit; you are giving yourself a gift by quitting. Remind yourself about this each day (daily prompt?).
  2. Tell yourself “I will ONLY drink water or juice tonight” rather than “I will NOT drink alcohol”.
  3. Commit to having the MOST fun of anyone at the party.
  4. Order this: “water, ice, and a piece of lime”
  5. Make early morning plans so you don’t want to stay out late.
  6. Use this as an opportunity to genuinely care about other people and to learn more about them.
  7. Don’t apologize to anyone for not drinking, but also don’t judge others for drinking.
  8. Find a friend to do it with you.

James leads groups in 30 day no alcohol challenges here: http://30daynoalcoholchallenge.com/

Not yet ready to give up alcohol completely? There’s another option. Biohacked wine.

Dry Farm Wines was at the conference serving samples of the world’s first biohacked wine. It’s organic, chemical-free, sugar/carb-free, low in alcohol and sulfites (meaning you can drink a lot and not have hangovers!), and friendly even for Ketogenic diets.

You can read more about their wines here: https://www.dryfarmwines.com/lab-tested-diet-friendly/

Quit alcohol or drink the good stuff. Both are good options in my book.

Speaking of books…

10. Read Books — Tai Lopez

Tai Lopez, in his closing talk on Sunday, challenged everyone to read more.

Why? Because reading is the ultimate superpower.

Bill Gates was once famously asked, “if you could have one superpower, what would it be?” His answer: “being able to read super fast”. Warren Buffet, who was with him at the time, agreed.

As Jim Kwik said at the conference last year, “leaders are readers”.

Imagine if you could download the thinking and knowledge of the smartest and most successful people from all of history directly into your brain. That’d be a pretty sweet biohack, right?

Well, you can already do that. That’s reading!

Books are years of thinking, knowledge, stories, and life lessons packed into a handful of pages. When you read them, you are consciously choosing to put those ideas into your head. They are inputs to your system. The output is learning. You become wiser with each book, guided by the greatest mentors of all time.

Try this:

  • Spend a few minutes today revisiting a book you already own. Tai recommends treating books like relationships and returning often to the ones that are most important to you.
  • Pick a new book to start building a relationship with. Read a few pages this evening before bed.

In fact, you’re biohacking by reading this article right now! Thanks for choosing to download some of my knowledge and experience.

downloading… 87% complete

11. Find your biohacking allies

Here’s something I’ve noticed: when I hang around biohackers, I do more biohacking things.

Surprising? No.
Powerful? Yes!

You want to biohack your way to better health and performance, right? Then hang around other people who are also biohacking their way to better health and performance.

We are what we consume. And much of what we consume is the words, actions, and beliefs of the people around us.

This is why I love events like the Bulletproof Conference. They are opportunities to hang with other passionate people.

That’s also why I started the Chicago Biohacking meetup group. And that’s why you should join or start a meetup in your city as well.

If you’re interested, email me. I’ll help you set it up.

The conference was packed with incredible people. Every single person had wisdom to share. We could only cover a small fraction of it all in this post. There are so many other takeaways we didn’t cover, including all those from our other incredible speakers.

  • Dr. Tami Meraglia — on hormones
  • John Gray — on relationships
  • Daniel Vitalis — on re-wilding ourselves and setting our inner animal free
  • Steve Fowkes — on strategies and supplements for designing your optimal brain
  • Joy and Jay from the Jingslingers — on how to cook delicious Bulletproof meals
  • Ariane Resnick — on how bone broth can improve your health
  • Reed Davis — on understanding Metabolic Chaos
  • Mattias Ribbing — on enhancing your memory
  • Alison Cebulla — on practices for spreading kindness and gratitude
  • Anthony Colleti and Charlie Faraday — on why we should always believe that anything is possible

When biohackers get together, amazing things happen. Fat mobiles are created. Insights are shared. Everyone is inspired to take action.

I’ll leave you now with that challenge — to take action.

Your Challenge

Most of what we learned just now isn’t new to you. You know mindfulness is important. You know laughing, meditation, and reading are good practices.

The real question is, are you ACTUALLY doing them?

You know what to do. Your challenge, now, is to do what you know.

Here’s how:

1. Pick one of these biohacks

– Wim Hof Breathing Method
– Cold Therapy
– Meditation
– Internal Generator (check-ins)
– Power poses
– Laughter
– Daily Prompts
– Eat more butter and fat (try Bulletproof Coffee)
– Quit or biohack alcohol
– Read books
– Spend more time with other biohackers
– Practice gratitude

2. Commit to try it for 21 days

Tell a friend or tweet me (@MarkMoschel) to make your commitment public.

“Of the top biohacks from #BulletproofConference, I’m trying _______”

To ensure this new habit sticks for 21 days, run it through this 9-step habit framework.

3. After 21 days, evaluate

Remember, “feeling is understanding”, so evaluate how it made you feel.

Then, pick another biohack to try for the next 21 days.

Not sure which to start with? Try gratitude.

Speaking of which…


Thank you

… for sharing your time and attention with me, for being an active participant in the goofy antics of this post, for staying with me to the end, for caring about your health and performance, and for choosing to experience something new today. I hope you take something you learned from this post and apply it to make your day a little better.

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world’s most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

WRITTEN BY

Partner and Health Evangelist at @DryFarmWines. Aspiring writer with 3rd-grade drawing abilities. @Bulletproofexec conference emcee. Previously CTO @Factor75.