Last week I stayed with two friends in San Francisco, husband and wife. Both of them work demanding jobs in private equity and public relations, respectively. Like many of my friends in the US, their work is demanding and stressful.
As someone who worked in high intensity jobs in finance and in politics in DC, I know how difficult it can be to lose sight of one’s own health. Habits accumulate, many of them not conducive for our physical and mental health.
Knowing that I had become very conscious about my health, my friends asked me what my top 5 suggestions were for enhancing their health on a daily basis.
Here is what I came up with. I’d love to hear from our readers and listeners what your Top 5 are as well.
5 Basic Principles for Optimizing your Health
1. Time restricted eating (TRE). Maintain at least a 12 hour window between the last time you consumed calories the night before and the next time you consume food or a beverage besides water (i.e. zero calories), the next morning. Dr. Rhonda Patrick has helped raise awareness around the benefits of TRE, largely through her discussions with circadian rhythm expert Dr. Satchin Panda. Research from Dr. Ruth Patterson shows compelling advantages for expanding to a 13 hour window (her studies focused on women).
The BIG Question: What about coffee!? Coffee will disrupt the benefits of TRE, according to Dr. Panda. Try holding off for another hour or two. You’d be surprised what hydration and some movement will do for your energy levels.
That said, if you do consume coffee (with no butter, MCT oil, milk or sugar–i.e. ZERO calories) you can still reap some benefits of a morning “fast” for metabolic purposes. Consider substituting with an amino acid powder if you want to do a coffee only fast in the morning.
2. Hydration. Upon waking replenish yourself with minerals. 1/4 lemon wedge plus half a tea spoon of Celtic sea salt (this is preferable to Himalayan Pink Sea Salt according to fitness expert Ben Greenfield). In general consume more mineral rich water and electrolyte drinks such as smart water (though avoiding plastic is always a welcome idea for health and environmental reasons).
For high quality trace minerals consider supplementing with Quicksilver trace ocean minerals, either upon waking or in the afternoon. Best consumed on an empty stomach.
3. Movement. Take a morning walk in a fasted state. Yoga is also great. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. 5 minutes is A LOT better than nothing.
In the morning if you don’t have time to walk because you are rushing to the car to get to work do even brief exercise (1-2 minutes of intense jumping jacks) in a fasted state. Movement shortly upon waking helpful for waking up and getting your body’s internal clock going.
During the day: Every 20 mins at least stand briefly and move before sitting back down. Once an hour take 60 seconds to induce heart raising activity like jumping jacks, push ups or plank.
4. Light. Get exposure to sunlight in early am. Supplementing with Vitamin D helps but it’s no substitute for the real deal. Getting light before noon translates into better sleep (this tells your brain to reduce more melatonin in the evening).. Use the app D Minder to track Vitamin D levels. Supplement with D3/K2 from Quicksilver Scientific (K2 is also a great supplement for health, including bones, and many of us don’t eat enough K2 from fermented foods or the right animal products).
5. Hot/cold exposure. Shower in morning or evening, or both. Alternate for 5 rounds: 20 seconds cold/10 seconds hot. Yes this is intense and not for everyone. But like anything else it can be a learned behavior. Benefits of hot, cold exposure are numerous including reduced inflammation, improved mitochondrial function and enhanced blood circulation. Also this improves the burning of “brown fat,” particularly when you do hot/cold exposure in a fasted state. You don’t have to jump from your cyrogenic freezer into your infra red sauna. Your shower is much better than nothing.
What are your top 5 daily habits for optimizing your health?