Biohacking

Last Saturday, I attended the first-ever Virtual Biohacking Conference. This was a very enriching day filled with talks by numerous renowned speakers. As explained by Dave Asprey, “Biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you, and inside of you, so you have full control of your own biology.” Biohacking goes hand in hand with human resilience. Anything you can do to help better (or maintain) your health and wellness can qualify as biohacking. It can be about focusing on improving your sleep, diet, exercise, and/or emotional balance. Tim Gray, one of the conference speakers, said that first, you need to ask yourself why you want to biohack, and then what you need to do, and finally, how.

What You Can Do

Biohacking doesn’t have to be expensive. In a blog post about Biohacking on a Budget: Affordable Upgrades You Can Do Right Now, Dave Asprey lists seven basic “hacks” for anyone to implement:

  • Change your bedtime routine. Here the main things are not to drink coffee after 2 p.m. (for most people), limit your exposure to blue and bright light at night (different software -like f.lux– and blue-blocking glasses are available), and sleep in a room that is fairly cold (around 60 to 67-68 degrees Fahrenheit) and pitch-dark. 
  • Take a cold shower. This gets your body to raise your metabolism in order to heat yourself back up. I like to do two minutes of cold water at the end of each shower and love how energized I feel after that.
  • Experiment with styles of intermittent fasting. There are different options when it comes to eating less often. I like to simply have a couple of cups of Bulletproof coffee (with ghee and MCT C8 oil) in the morning. Then a really light lunch and a regular meal for dinner. See what works best with your biology and your routine.
  • Pay attention to your gut. Your gut health is definitively linked to the types of food you eat, and even if it’s a bit gross, check your poop regularly to see how well your digestion is going. 
  • Move more, especially in the sun (light is a nutrient).

In Summary

Biohacking seems to me like a non-negotiable way of life if you want to keep your energy levels near-optimal as you get older. It’s a way of life to adopt if you want to keep on performing better, whatever your short-term and long-term goals may be. It’s about being more grounded, more in touch with nature and your biology. It’s about being happy to be alive and full of energy to do the things you want to do.

Until next time!

References

Amen, Daniel G. Feel Better Fast and Make It Last : Unlock Your Brain’s Healing Potential to Overcome Negativity, Anxiety, Anger, Stress, and Trauma. Carol Stream, Illinois, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 2018, p. 217.

Asprey, Dave. “Biohacking on a Budget: Affordable Upgrades You Can Do Right Now.” Dave Asprey Blog, 27 Feb. 2019, blog.daveasprey.com/biohacking-budget/. Accessed 11 Oct. 2020.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Family Meals

Just like grown-ups, children need to eat a clean, healthy diet filled with nutrient-dense foods. Taking the time to have everybody sit down at the dinner table to share meals together can definitely make a big difference. This can be the perfect time to explain how beneficial certain foods can be or not. This can be the perfect time to introduce new foods for everyone to try. New ideas to make family meals a daily relaxing experience for everyone are always helpful! So what follows is a list of several tips highlighted by Dr. Steven Gundry in The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy.

Presentation Can Go a Long Way

You can use spiralizers and cookie cutters to turn uninviting vegetables into fun edible geometrical shapes. With some supervision, kids can even participate in the food prep, which they will, then, most likely want to taste.

Colorful Meals Are So Much More Appetizing

A colorful plate is definitely more inviting and appetizing, no matter what your age. So make sure each meal offers a nice array of colors.

Have a Salad-Bar Style Meal

Have everybody make their own tacos, for instance, with all the different ingredients put in the middle of the table to fill their grain-free taco shells (or wraps) with. Also, lots of different small dishes to choose from in the middle of the table can be a fun “dim sum” experience for everyone. 

“Get Sneaky”

You can add cut up greens and other veggies into (paleo-friendly) muffin and cookie batters without impacting the flavor and appearance much. Vegetable powders are also a great option.

Add a Dipping Sauce

A dipping sauce, guacamole or other, can make finger foods so tasty. And if you don’t feel like making the sauce yourself, Primal Kitchen offers a wide variety of options.

Use Paper or Metal Straws (as it is better for the environment)

Most kids love using straws, which can be a great way for them to consume nutrient-packed smoothies.

“Kid-Size Servings”

Sometimes, individual portions can be much more fun to eat. Paleo/Primal-friendly recipes about online like Sausage and Eggs to Go. Healthy snacks for kids are also a great option.

What are your favorite easy-meal ideas?

Until next time!

References

Acanfora, Mike. “[BYWG Blog] What You CAN Do To Encourage Healthy Eating In Your Kids.” Beyond Your Wildest Genes, 23 Sept. 2020, beyondyourwildestgenes.com/bywg-blog-what-you-can-do-to-encourage-healthy-eating-in-your-kids/. Accessed 27 Sept. 2020.

Gundry, Steven R. The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy : The 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Lectin-Free. New York, Ny, Harper Wave, An Imprint Of Harpercollinspublishers, 2019, pp. 120-24.

You can also find me on Instagram.

What to Prioritize

No matter where we are in age, there are always things we can tweak in order to feel better. To improve or simply maintain our health and energy levels as we get older, there are numerous things we need to work on. Once you start digging, it can look like a never-ending list of strategies to implement and it can be overwhelming. Maybe you don’t know where to start or maybe you are not sure at times that you can keep the goals you have set for yourself.

It’s important to keep in mind that only three things are at the foundation of feeling better: adequate sleep, nutrient-dense foods (which implies doing away with processed foods), and enough exercise/movement throughout the day. These are the pillars needed to build a stronger you. There is more to add to that, of course, but if you don’t prioritize these three things first, whatever else you implement will fall short.

Adequate Sleep

In How to Be Well, Dr. Frank Lipman said, “Some reasons to make sleep a priority: it’s when your body repairs, restores, maintains, and detoxifies itself. How you sleep is as important as how you live during waking hours.” Dr. Lipman recommends, for instance, to:

  • Go to bed when you’re tired.
  • Don’t eat your evening meals too late.
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Leave technology (and TV) out of the bedroom.
  • Sleep in a very dark room.
  • Stay comfortably cool at night (in a room that is around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit) as it has been demonstrated that one sleeps better that way.
  • Don’t go to sleep angry.

Nutrient-dense Foods

I had mentioned in a previous post about The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid which types of foods someone should consider eating (according to the primal/paleo template). The bulk of any meal is vegetables. In smaller quantities then comes meat, fish, fowl, and eggs. The middle of the pyramid highlights the importance of consuming healthy fats, followed by certain foods you can eat in small amounts. Lastly, herbs, spices, extracts, and supplements top the pyramid of primal-approved foods.

Keep in mind that even these primal-approved foods may not work well for everyone. It is up to you to experiment and see how your body responds to each food you consume. To be more attuned to your body and how foods make you feel on a daily basis is part of becoming more knowledgeable about your health and overall wellness.

Exercise/Movement Throughout the Day

In a previous post about The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid, I had explained how moving and exercising enough shouldn’t feel like yet another challenging goal to put on your to-do-list. Our ancestors were doing basic functional movements (squat, crawl, walk, run, jump, climb, carry, throw, etc.) when going about their daily activities.

Our lifestyle has changed tremendously over the centuries, especially in the last 100 years, but this doesn’t mean that we cannot throw in a few stretches and bodyweight exercises (for instance) as simple 1-2-minute-breaks throughout the day every day. Moving frequently, exercising your muscles and getting your heart rate up occasionally is all you have to do.

In Summary

Adequate sleep, better-quality foods, and exercise/movement throughout the day are the necessary first steps on your quest to feeling better before implementing other strategies. The same goes if you want to address daily stress. When we feel rested and with a nice flow of energy, we feel grounded and able to deal with each day’s ups and downs.

Until next time!

References

Gottfried, Sara. Younger : A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years. New York, Ny, Harperone, 2017, pp. 68–69.


Lipman, Frank M D. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, pp. 108-9.

You can also find me on Instagram.

What is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid, a plant pigment found in single-celled freshwater algae. Under stressful conditions, the unicellular green cell Haematococcus Pluvialis (the main source of astaxanthin) makes astaxanthin in lipid droplets. This turns the cells bright red and protects them from the harsh environment. This red substance goes up the food chain and is the source of almost all of the red in crustaceans, fish, and birds. In humans, astaxanthin helps with cellular survival too.

A Few Impressive Numbers

In The Kaufmann Protocol, Dr. Sandra Kaufmann explains that, “When antioxidant capacities are compared, […] astaxanthin is 10x greater than lutein and zeaxanthin, 14x greater than vitamin E, 54x greater than B-Carotene, 65x greater than Vitamin C and 100x greater in antioxidant activity than alpha tocopherol. Astaxanthin is simply more powerful than its competitors.” 

Benefits of Consuming Astaxanthin

Being a remarkable antioxidant and free-radical scavenger, astaxanthin offers many health benefits, as highlighted at draxe.com

  • Improves brain health
  • Protects your heart
  • Keeps skin glowing
  • Eases inflammation and improves immunity
  • Enhances your workout
  • Supports healthy vision
  • Improves cognitive function

In Summary

In a previous post, Eating the Rainbow: Is it Important? I had mentioned the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables of various colors. These colors are the product of different chemicals such as anthocyanins, chlorophyll, and various carotenoids that offer high antioxidant values. Astaxanthin is yet another carotenoid to include in our diet. It is found in abundance in wild-caught sockeye salmon, krill, algae, red trout, lobster, crab, shrimp, crawfish, salmon roe, and red seabream. So pick seafood that contains the “king of carotenoids” whenever you can!

Until next time!

References

Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, p. 533.

Kaufmann, Sandra, et al. The Kaufmann Protocol : Why We Age and How to Stop It. Kaufmann Anti-Aging Institute, 2018, pp.153-168.

Link, Rachael. “This ‘King of Carotenoids’ Is Even More Beneficial than Vitamin C.” Dr. Axe, 6 Dec. 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/astaxanthin-benefits/. Accessed 13 Sept. 2020.

You can also find me on Instagram.

The Gut Microbiome

The gut has trillions of microorganisms from three hundred up to a thousand different species (it varies from person to person). In Your Personal Paleo Code, Chris Kresser adds that “those microbes have one hundred times more genes than the human genome does.” Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg concluded: “Humans can be regarded as elaborate vessels evolved to permit the survival and propagation of microorganisms.” We are clearly more bacteria than human!

The gut microbiota (or gut flora) helps with normal gastrointestinal function and with protecting us from infections. Indeed, it is home to most of our immune cells and it helps regulate metabolism. Knowing that the gut microbiota is critical to our overall health and wellness, it is important to stay away from things that can disrupt it.

13 Ways to Help Protect Your Gut Microbiome

The following strategies are mentioned in Young and Slim for Life, by Dr. Frank Lipman:

  • Avoid GMOs whenever possible – we simply don’t know enough about them.
  • Keep away from sweet and starchy foods.
  • Avoid junk food and processed food, as most have trans fats, GMO corn, GMO soy, or industrial seed oils.
  • Keep away from gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some other grains, as well as in soy sauce, seitan, beer, and a lot of packaged and processed foods.
  • Steer clear of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
  • Keep away from conventionally farmed meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs as they likely contain antibiotics and hormones, and as they likely have been fed on GMO corn or soy.
  • Whenever possible, avoid antibiotics, (NSAIDs, and other medications).
  • Steer clear of artificial sweeteners.
  • Drink filtered water. You can add water filters to your home taps, for instance. Also, there is the Aqua Tru countertop water purifier that I like to use.
  • Consume fermented foods – kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or other fermented vegetables. Fermented foods offer natural bacteria that help protect your gut microbiota.
  • Consume prebiotics: foods that have the fiber on which friendly bacteria feed (like garlic, onions, radishes, leeks, asparagus, and Jerusalem artichokes).
  • Find efficient ways to deal with stress.
  • Get sufficient sleep.

In Summary

Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Many things can influence gut health, so we want to do our best to put into practice as many of the above strategies as possible, as a start. By choosing to eat a paleo/primal diet over 6 years ago, I got to eliminate the unwanted or suspect foods that can easily disrupt the gut microbiome. And as mentioned in My Paleo/Primal Eating Habits, I do not contemplate, even for a minute, going back to eating foods that are not beneficial to my health and wellness. 

Until next time!

References

Kresser, Chris. Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. 1st ed., New York, NY, Little, Brown and Company, Dec. 2013, pp. 162-66.

Lipman, Frank. Young and Slim for Life : 10 Essential Steps to Achieve Total Vitality and Kick-Start Weight Loss That Lasts. Carlsbad, California, Hay House, Inc, 2016, pp. 33–42.

Mailing, Lucy, and PhD. “The Ultimate Quick-Start Guide to the Gut Microbiome.” Lucy Mailing, PhD, 11 Feb. 2020, http://www.lucymailing.com/the-ultimate-quick-start-guide-to-the-gut-microbiome/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2020.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Tree Pose

Why Balance Training Matters

We don’t necessarily think about it, but balance training is of primordial importance. Working on our balance is recommended as we are getting older to help prevent falls which can further lead to things such as hip fractures. Working on our balance is also helpful when we practice a sport like running, swimming, or cycling. And if this isn’t enough to convince you how beneficial balance training can be, it turns out that balance training can help improve memory too!

What Helps You Maintain Your Balance

Three sensory systems allow you to control your balance (along with the cognitive system and the musculoskeletal system): the vestibular system, the somatosensory system, and the visual system.

In Beyond Training, Ben Greenfield defines these three sensory systems:

  • Vestibular system – the sense organs in your head, primarily your ears, which regulate equilibrium and give you directional information as it relates to your head position.
  • Somatosensory system – the nerves called proprioceptors in your joints, along with the pressure and vibratory sense information in both your skin and your joints.
  • Visual system – the ability of your eyes to figure out where your head and body are in space, and also where you are relative to other objects.

9 Training Strategies to Work on Your Balance

The following are different strategies suggested in the same book listed above. 

To help better your vestibular balance, you can:

  • Go barefoot as much as possible, or use minimalist footwear. Neuroscientist Dr. Michael Merzenich said: “I have invested in shoes that help me feel the ground beneath my feet better. I don’t want every step I take to be predictable.”
  • Balance on one leg while keeping your gaze on something stationary. You can practice the one-leg standing exercise for 30 seconds as a first goal (“without having to put your other foot down for balance”), then aim at 60 seconds. Then try with the eyes closed. In that case, it is helpful to mentally picture something stationary. I like to stand on one leg with my eyes closed for 60 seconds on a regular basis. It’s important to keep practicing. Every day may be needed at first. Also, make sure you engage the core muscles and the glutes, and grip with the toes. Have something nearby you can hold on to at the beginning, just in case. This exercise is beneficial to the brain cells in your cerebellum and inner ear-vestibular system. Yoga is also great to work on your balance skills – try the tree pose!
  • Look for things to stand on wherever you are, like narrow ridges, sidewalks, or posts.

To help better your somatosensory balance, you can:

  • Stand one-legged or two-legged on unstable surfaces like wobble boards, thick balance mats, or balance disc pillows.
  • Use an unstable mat under your desk. I like to use a thick balance mat, engaging the core muscles and glutes. 
  • Use a mini-trampoline, great for practicing single-leg stances.
  • Stand on one leg on a raised height, like a balance beam or a plyometric jump box.

To help better your visual balance, you can:

  • Play a sport that requires eye tracking, like soccer, golf, tennis, basketball, and ping-pong.
  • Do vision drills – exercises to help strengthen the 6 eye muscles and boost your visual-acuity skills, using, for instance, the Z-Health Vision Gym. I do those regularly too, as mentioned in a previous post.

In Summary

These are 9 balance training strategies that can help make a big difference over time. Being that I am now 50 years old, I see working on my balance as something essential to do for the rest of my life. Which strategy will you pick first?

Until next time!

References

Chiu, Titus. BrainSave : The 6-Week Plan to Heal Your Brain from Concussion, Brain Injuries & Trauma without Drugs or Surgery. Middletown, De, The Modern Brain, 2018, pp. 105–6.

Dunsky, Ayelet. “The Effect of Balance and Coordination Exercises on Quality of Life in Older Adults: A Mini-Review.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 11:318. 15 Nov. 2019, http://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2019.00318/full. Accessed 23 Aug. 2020.

Greenfield, Ben. Beyond Training : Mastering Endurance, Health and Life. Victory Belt, Las Vegas, 2014, pp. 137–45.

Merzenich, Michael M. Soft-Wired : How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life. San Francisco, Parnassus Publishing, Ltd, 2013, p. 228.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Home Cooking

In Cooked, Michael Pollan states, ”The decline of everyday home cooking doesn’t only damage the health of our bodies and our land but also our families, our communities and our sense of how our eating connects us to the world.” It doesn’t have to be this way. 

What I like the most about cooking my own meals (with well-sourced ingredients) is that I can better control what fuels my body every day. As mentioned in Why Home-Cooked Meals Sustain Health and Wellness, you don’t have to cook every single day in order to obtain an optimal level of health and wellness. Most of us have busy schedules and aren’t able to set that time aside each day. Instead, you can implement a few different strategies into your weekly routine to achieve the same goal. One strategy you can implement is to set some time aside on the weekend to prep several dishes for the week. Prepping meals ahead of time lets you enjoy those meals at the end of busy weekdays with even more pleasure!   

What Prepping Meals Ahead of Time Looks Like

Home-cooked meals imply cooking with whole foods, which means using nutrient-dense ingredients that have not been tampered with. Once you have selected a few recipes to make for the week ahead (also called “batch cooking”) make sure you have all the ingredients written down on your shopping list. If you buy certain items online, order early enough so you have all the needed ingredients delivered in time. This does require some organizational skills that can progressively be learned and improved. If you keep your pantry stocked with the basic primal/paleo staples, that helps too.

Then, you can pick a couple of hours or so to prepare your meals. The weekend is usually the best time to do that. Cooking in batches gives you big enough quantities of ready-to-eat food that you can store in the fridge and/or the freezer for the upcoming days.

You can even make salads ahead of time! In The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy, Dr. Steven Gundry explains how to use a jar to cleverly layer the different ingredients of your salad: “dressing on the bottom, dense/heavy ingredients next […], then extras like cheese or nuts, topped off with veggies and greens. Since the greens won’t touch anything wet, they won’t wilt, and the whole jar will last in your fridge at least three days. To serve, just invert the whole thing into a bowl and toss.”

In Summary

There you have it! There is no better way than making our own meals to help maintain our health and wellness. Preparing meals ahead of time allows us to achieve this goal without any big fuss. Eating healthy is possible, even on hectic days. And to rediscover where real food comes from, how it grows and thrives, can lead to moments of true amazement!

Until next time!

References

Gundry, Steven R. The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy : The 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Lectin-Free. New York, Ny, Harper Wave, An Imprint Of Harpercollinspublishers, 2019, pp. 112-15.

Hyman, Mark. Eat Fat, Get Thin : Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health. First Edition. New York, Little, Brown And Company, 2016, pp. 190–91.

You can also find me on Instagram.

The Unavoidable Daily Stress

Stress is ubiquitous nowadays, even more so this year with this pandemic that came upon us. And some days can certainly feel “heavier” than others. Dr. Steve Maraboli said, “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” As the years go by, we can definitively become stronger and more resilient. But it is not just one thing that can help us handle stress better (and life-changing events at times). Rather it is a set of tools, such as daily meditation, exercise, and better nutrition. As mentioned in 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat, by Dr. Frank Lipman, what follows is a list of some of the things we can do that can help us unwind and better handle whatever we have to deal with every day:

Strategies to Manage Stress

  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Use guided visualization
  • Do a breathing exercise
  • Listen to some music
  • Take up tai chi, yoga, or some other type of “moving meditation”
  • Set some limits when it comes to engagements; learn to say “no” at times
  • Set time for yourself (like two hours a week) to do something that brings you calm and fulfillment
  • Get enough sleep to strengthen your mitochondria, among other things
  • Try to limit your exposure to toxins in your food, water, and personal-care products the best you can
  • Avoid sweets and too many starches; see which foods work for you and buy accordingly

In Summary

Being equipped with the right tools like the ones listed above to handle stress better and to tackle life’s never-ending ups and downs can help in more than one way. Choose the strategies that resonate the most with your present mindset as a starting point, and then add a few more whenever it feels right to do so. Building new habits takes time. Be patient and persevere!

Until next time!

Reference

Lipman, Frank. 10 Reasons You Feel Old And Get Fat : — And How You Can Stay Young, Slim, And Happy!. Carlsbad, California, Hay House, Inc, 2016, pp. 86–7.

You can also find me on Instagram.

The Importance of Daily Movement

As I mentioned in my previous post, Why Everyday Movement is Non-Negotiable, it is said that when we have to sit for long periods of time, we should get up to stretch and walk around every thirty minutes or so. The same goes for if we are at a standing workstation. It is important to incorporate movement throughout the day to nourish our cells. A few squats or other simple exercises can be nice little breaks throughout the day. That way, going to the gym after work can be optional.

As a matter of fact, if you think that going to the gym for one hour can make up for a long day of sitting for hours, that is not the case. We want to shape our daily life so that it is as similar as possible to how it was during hunter-gatherer times. And when it comes to movement, it has to be varied motion throughout the day. Taking short walks in the morning, at lunch, or after dinner, whenever you have a few minutes can be a great addition to your daily movement regimen. Start trying whatever fits your schedule best and be sure to only implement one change at a time in order to ensure adherence to it. 

Each day, I do a certain amount of stretches. Stretching is a habit most of us can benefit from, no matter what our fitness level is (Just make sure you get the okay from your personal physician before starting any new exercise routine). What follows are 5 simple leg (& hip) stretches that can easily be done every day.

Calf Stretch

  • Stand facing a wall 1 to 2 feet away.
  • Place your hands on the wall.
  • Keeping the right foot in place, position the left foot 1 to 2 feet behind the right foot.
  • Bend the right knee and lean towards the wall as you are keeping the left heel on the floor, 2 to 4 feet away from the wall. 
  • Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds or 3 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Quad Stretch

  • Stand upright with weight balanced on the right leg (hold on to something if needed).
  • Keep the right foot pointing straight forward and the right knee almost straight.
  • Bend the left knee by grabbing the left foot or ankle tightly and pulling the left heel backward and upward without over flexing the knee. Also, do not let the left knee go out at the same time.
  • Push the hips forward by doing a slight pelvic tilt.
  • Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds or 3 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Lie flat on your back. Place a yoga strap over and around the toes of the left foot and grab both ends of the strap firmly with your hands. Slightly activate the core muscles.
  • Slowly raise the left leg (pulling on the strap) until you feel a stretch in the back of the left thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds or 3 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Psoas (Hip Flexor) Stretch

  • Step forward with the right leg and bend the knee at about a 90-degree angle. Keep the right knee positioned above the right ankle. (If you have any knee issues you can instead put the right foot on a stable chair or couch, for instance, and bend the right knee. In that case, the left leg will not lie on the floor, of course). Hold on to something if needed.
  • Extend the left leg behind the torso and touch the floor with the left knee. The lower leg lies on the floor. 
  • Move the hips forward (doing a slight pelvic tilt and activating the glutes), pushing the right knee in front of the right ankle. Make sure to keep the right knee pointing forward. You should feel the stretch in the hip area on the left side.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds or 3 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Piriformis (Hip Rotator) Stretch

  • Sit on the floor with the left leg extended.
  • Bend the right leg and place the right foot on the outside of the left knee.
  • Bend the left arm and place the outside of the left elbow against the outside of the upraised right knee.
  • Put the right arm on the floor near the right hip. 
  • Push the left elbow against the right knee, twisting the trunk as far as possible to the right. Maintain enough pressure with the left elbow to keep the right knee in a stable position. Do not arch the back or bend forward at the waist.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds or 3 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

So, which one is your favorite stretch?

Until next time!  

Reference
Nelson, Arnold G, and Jouko Kokkonen. Stretching Anatomy. Champaign, Il, Human Kinetics, 2007, pp. 78–9, 98–9, 104–7, 130–1.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Why Boosting Mitochondrial Function is Important

Being that I am now 50 years old and that I want to keep my energy levels up as much as possible, anything related to how we can boost our mitochondrial function is of interest to me. The mitochondria truly are the powerhouses of the cells. They are little organelles within the cells that produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the energy that our body needs each day in order for us to do anything. In Head Strong, Dave Asprey mentions: “From age thirty to age seventy, the average person experiences a 50 percent decline in mitochondrial efficiency.” So whatever we can do to strengthen our mitochondria, especially as we get older, is a big plus. I am devoted to red light therapy (as mentioned in 4 Easy Steps to Start the Day), grounding, and cold showers.

12 Actionable Steps to Strengthen your Mitochondria

These steps are highlighted by Dr. Frank Lipman in How to Be Well:

  • Quit eating sugar. Mitochondria don’t like using sugar as food.
  • Adopt a grain-free diet to further limit the amount of sugar in your blood.
  • Eat more vegetables to gain more nourishing phytonutrients.
  • Consume plenty of healthy fats. These are the preferred fuel of mitochondria.
  • Eat clean. Pesticides and toxins damage mitochondria.
  • Practice intermittent fasting.
  • Develop a routine of high-intensity interval training. HIIT has been shown to make more mitochondria.
  • Get strong. There is more mitochondria in lean muscle mass than in fat.
  • Practice better sleep hygiene.
  • Soak up some sun. Sunlight is a powerful mitochondrial booster.
  • Avoid electromagnetic radiation.
  • Start your day with a cold shower. Cold exposure, in short bursts, helps trigger the production of new mitochondria.

In Summary

The above steps are a great starting point in building new habits for improving mitochondrial health. Always check with your personal physician first, of course. Just focusing on one or two of these steps when starting this habit is fine. You can always progressively add a few more as time goes on. Eating primal may help in choosing the right foods for your mitochondria. Then you can later implement the other steps gradually according to what works best with your schedule. To better energy levels no matter what your age!

Until next time!

References

Asprey, Dave. Head Strong the Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster – in Just Two Weeks. New York Harper Wave, 2017, p. 41.

Lipman, Frank M D. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, pp. 168-69.

You can also find me on Instagram.