Biohacking: What is it? 

Last Saturday, I attended the second Virtual Biohacking Conference hosted by Dave Asprey. It was just as interesting and enriching as the first one, with renowned speakers talking about a variety of topics such as cellular regeneration, fasting, metabolism, sleep, longevity, resilience, brain cognition, nutrition, meditation, functional medicine, the science of energy, and stress control. 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 is about using the available science to make informed choices that will lead to a better you! What follows are 8 biohacks most “biohackers” implement progressively. These were mentioned at the conference in a talk by Nicole Petersen, RD.

Fasting

Intermittent fasting can be done by skipping meals, time-restricted eating, alternate-day fasts, or multi-day fasts. Fasting has been shown to help with weight loss, blood glucose control, and a cellular cleanup process called autophagy which may help promote longevity.

Sleep 

Consistent good-quality sleep is needed for your body to repair and your brain to clean itself of toxins. As mentioned in a previous post, to improve your chances of having a good night sleep, you may want to do the following: do not 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. To get more tips on how to establish and maintain a normal circadian rhythm, check out this very informative Huberman Lab podcast

Cold

Regular exposure to cold may allow your body to burn more fat, help with recovery after exercise, and enhance your immune system and mood. So give it a try! It can be taking a cold shower (just a few seconds at first is fine), swimming in a cold body of water, or using a cryotherapy chamber. Exposure to cold can make you feel so energized and alert!

Light 

Adequate sunlight exposure helps with sleep, mood, and allows your body to synthesize vitamin D. Vitamin D3 helps with inflammation in the body, boosts proper immune cell function, and aids with optimal insulin production. Aside from the full spectrum of light you get from the sun, there is also red light therapy (at about 600 nm wavelength). The latter may help with mitochondrial function, increase circulation, and lessen inflammation. Light is a nutrient we definitely want to take advantage of (in a responsible way, of course).

Food  

The food you eat has a great biological impact on your body. Food provides nutrients and energy. It also encodes information (instructions telling your body what to do). The great news is that we have full control over what we eat (or do not eat) every day. See which foods are the most beneficial to you and eliminate the ones that make you weak.

Supplements  

You may choose to buy a few supplements too depending on your needs and goals. Make sure the supplements you select are from trusted sources and definitively consult your personal physician beforehand.

Movement

We are meant to be active, engaging in regular physical activity throughout the day, each day. This means any type of movement depending on your preferences and routine. The main idea is to “build your day around movement.” It can be a morning stroll, strength training, HIIT, shifting positions throughout the day (if at a desk at work, for instance), etc. Regular physical activity is shown to help with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several cancers. It further helps with hypertension, keeping a healthy body weight, enhancing mental health, quality of life, and well-being.

Breath   

Learning how to breathe consciously will help you become more calm, present, and centered. You want to breathe in and out through the nose, doing belly/diaphragmatic breaths at a slow pace (6-12 breaths per minute) and in a rhythmic way. Beyond this basic breathing pattern, there are numerous breathing exercises you may want to experiment with to have a better handle on your autonomic nervous system. Deep breathing techniques can aid with lowering heart rate and salivary cortisol levels, enhancing mood, and lessening stress.

Now the choice is yours: which biohack will you implement first? 

And don’t forget meditation and gratitude!

Until next time!

Thinking About Going Primal/Paleo for the New Year: What Does That Entail?

I explained in my two previous posts that going primal/paleo entails adopting an ancestral health approach to better food choices and to a movement regimen based on our daily energy levels (the opposite of chronic cardio). 

Today, I am going to go over what adopting an overall primal/paleo lifestyle is about. So along with better-quality food and exercise, this includes (as explained in The New Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson) the importance of adequate sleep and sunlight, play, avoiding “stupid mistakes,” and stimulating your brain according to your likings to keep it sharp.

Get Adequate Sleep

  • Minimize artificial light and digital stimulation after dark.
  • Create a simple, quiet, dark sleeping environment.
  • Consistent bed and wake times.
  • Calm transitions into and out of sleep.
  • Awaken naturally without an alarm, if possible. 
  • Expose to sunlight upon awakening.
  • Nap when necessary and possible.

Get Adequate Sunlight

Stay in the sun for short increments of time in order to not burn and make sure you expose large skin surface areas enough when you can.

Play

It is also good to include play, which refers to any spontaneous outdoor physical activity such as running around with your kids or dog outside. It can be short work breaks or even nice long hikes! Carving out some downtime every day is an important stress management tool and it enhances productivity.

Avoid Stupid Mistakes

  • Avoid “modern dangers” like texting and driving, for example.
  • Drift away as much as possible from stressful routines/habits. Steer clear of multitasking.

Use Your Brain

Choose fun, creative intellectual activities/hobbies to keep your mind sharp such as: reading, writing, problem solving, and/or musical training. I also like to play brain training games on BrainHQ and Lumosity. And the Duolingo app is a lot of fun to practice a language with!

In Summary

So there you have it! This is what adopting a primal/paleo lifestyle entails – and it doesn’t have to be perfect. We’ve all been doing our best in these challenging times. The main priority is to keep at it. See when it is okay to push yourself a little bit to attain the given goal you set for yourself – but also acknowledge the fact that a day may not be the day. And that’s okay. 

Until next time!

References

Primal Blueprint at-a-Glance Reference Guide. http://www.PrimalBlueprint.com

Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, p. 483.

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