Podcast

5 Basic Principles to Optimize your Health

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?

#51: Reducing Stress with Chinese Herbalism: a conversation with Roger Drummer Part 2

This is the second half of my conversation on Chinese Herbalism with Roger Drummer. Roger is the founder of Herb Works and the man who formulated its various, exceptional products, such as Tian Chi and Inner Peace.

A brief description of Roger’s story from the Herb Works website will give you a taste of what you’re in store for in this conversation:

“I truly believe in the healing power of Chinese herbs. They have transformed my life, and I’ve witnessed it happen for countless others in my 26 year career. As a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology, I’ve put tens of thousands of people on herbal programs with great success.

What makes Chinese herbology unique, is its fundamental principal of recognizing a person’s core imbalance and correcting it. It also recognizes that a healthy constitution can withstand tremendous outside influence. Therefore, restoring and maintaining vitality is the foundation of Chinese herbology.

People are suffering from chronic stress and losing vitality, which typically leads to poor health. Through my work with Chinese herbs, I have been able to help people create an internal environment where they can thrive and enjoy life.”

Roger Drummer is a wealth of knowledge regarding the benefits of using adaptogens such as Reishi mushrooms, Shizandra Berry, and Ashwaghanda, among other herbs. These compounds are natural, powerful ways to down regulate your nervous system, reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health.

From my perspective, Chinese herbalism is an ancient form of biohacking and the use of these herbs continues to offer great benefits to the health of many people who work with these herbs.

If you’re looking for a healthy way to reduce stress and improve your health, I would highly recommend that you consider purchasing some of the high quality products from Herb Works.

I’ve been taking Tian Chi most mornings or early afternoons, as well as three capsules of Inner Peace after dinner. Tian Chi helps me feel focused yet calm and relaxed: a great combination for a productive day of work. Inner Peace leaves me with a deep feeling of relaxation, which is a nice transition into winding down and getting ready for bed.

Enjoy my conversation with Roger and, as always, we welcome your comments and questions on Facebook or Twitter.

#50: Reducing Stress with Chinese Herbalism: a conversation with Roger Drummer Part 1

This is the first of a two part conversation on Chinese Herbalism with Roger Drummer. Roger is the founder of Herb Works and the man who formulated its various, exceptional products, such as Tian Chi and Inner Peace.

A brief description of Roger’s story from the Herb Works website will give you a taste of what you’re in store for in this conversation:

“I truly believe in the healing power of Chinese herbs. They have transformed my life, and I’ve witnessed it happen for countless others in my 26 year career. As a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology, I’ve put tens of thousands of people on herbal programs with great success.

What makes Chinese herbology unique, is its fundamental principal of recognizing a person’s core imbalance and correcting it. It also recognizes that a healthy constitution can withstand tremendous outside influence. Therefore, restoring and maintaining vitality is the foundation of Chinese herbology.

People are suffering from chronic stress and losing vitality, which typically leads to poor health. Through my work with Chinese herbs, I have been able to help people create an internal environment where they can thrive and enjoy life.”

Roger Drummer is a wealth of knowledge regarding the benefits of using adaptogens such as Reishi mushrooms, Shizandra Berry, and Ashwaghanda, among other herbs. These compounds are natural, powerful ways to down regulate your nervous system, reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health.

From my perspective, Chinese herbalism is an ancient form of biohacking and the use of these herbs continues to offer great benefits to the health of many people who work with these herbs.

If you’re looking for a healthy way to reduce stress and improve your health, I would highly recommend that you consider purchasing some of the high quality products from Herb Works.

I’ve been taking Tian Chi most mornings or early afternoons, as well as three capsules of Inner Peace after dinner. Tian Chi helps me feel focused yet calm and relaxed: a great combination for a productive day of work. Inner Peace leaves me with a deep feeling of relaxation, which is a nice transition into winding down and getting ready for bed.

Enjoy my conversation with Roger and, as always, we welcome your comments and questions on Facebook or Twitter.

#49: What’s the difference between Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

In my fourth and final conversation with acupuncturist Ben Elan we learn about the differences between Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Ben’s insights are highly relevant to anyone interested in Chinese Medicine, “alternative” approaches to Western Medicine, Medical Qi Gong or Daoism.

In particular, this information is highly valuable to anyone interested in seeking Chinese medicine treatment. It’s helpful to know the advantages and limitations of each school before committing to working with a practitioner without first understanding the different approaches of these two schools of Chinese medicine.

#48: Crash Course in Yin Yang & The 5 Elements with Ben Elan

In my third conversation with Ben Elan, Ben gives us a glimpse into two foundational pieces of Daoism and Classical Chinese Medicine: the concepts of Yin Yang & 5 Element Theory.

Guest Bio:

Benjamin Elan, Dip. Ac has been been studying and practicing Classical Chinese Medicine for 13 years. Trained in the Stems & Branches acupuncture tradition, he is a certified Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Medical Qi Gong instructor. He also holds a Masters degree in Narrative Therapy from Melbourne University.

Benjamin began his journey doing community and health work with indigenous tribes in Southern Israel. Today,  The scope of his practice incorporates elements of humanistic psychology, ethnography, shamanism and community work.

Ben is currently practicing and teaching Chinese Medicine in Northern Thailand.

#47: Chinese vs Western Medicine with Ben Elan

In the second conversation in our series on Ancient Chinese Medicine with acupuncturist Ben Elan, we cover the following topics:

  • fundamental differences in approach between Chinese & Western medicine
  • the pros and cons of each methodology
  • what kinds of problems or symptoms are each of these effective at treating
  • challenges in talking about, or comparing, these two systems

As always, if you enjoy the show please consider supporting the podcast by writing a review on iTunes or your favorite podcasting platform, sharing the episode on social media, and/or supporting Hacking the Self on Patreon.

I welcome questions, comments or any other constructive thoughts that you would like to share on the FB page for Hacking the Self. You can also email: hackingtheself@gmail.com.

Thank you for listening.

Adrian

 

#46: What is Chinese Medicine? with Ben Elan

This conversation is the first in a series on Chinese Medicine. I’m tinkering with a new format for the show in which I do a series of shorter (20-30 minute) conversation with one guest where we unpack one theme or topic over a number of shorter episodes.

Here is the overview of topics for the upcoming series on Chinese Medicine:

  1. What is Chinese Medicine?
  2. Advantages of Chinese Medicine vs. Western
  3. CM Theory: Yin & Yang 5 Elements
  4. Difference between kinds of Chinese Medicine

Guest Bio:

Benjamin Elan, Dip. Ac has been been studying and practicing Classical Chinese Medicine for 13 years. Trained in the Stems & Branches acupuncture tradition, he is a certified Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Medical Qi Gong instructor. He also holds a Masters degree in Narrative Therapy from Melbourne University.

Benjamin began his journey doing community and health work with indigenous tribes in Southern Israel. Today,  The scope of his practice incorporates elements of humanistic psychology, ethnography, shamanism and community work.

Ben is currently practicing and teaching Chinese Medicine at Tao Garden Retreat Centre in North Thailand.

#45: Biohacking Light & Sleep with Dayne Barkley

In this episode I sit down for another conversation with Dayne Barkley who shares helpful suggestions for biohacking light and sleep. Dayne also discusses his latest venture: developing a multi use and more stylish model for blue light blocking glasses.
Dayne educates us on the following topics including:
  • circadian rhythms
  • what types of light you want exposure to, when, why, and how much, natural light, when and
  • what kinds of light you want to avoid, and
  • other hacks for feeling our best and for optimal sleep
Guest Bio:
Founder and CEO of interchangeable blue blocking glasses range, Barkley Eyewear.
A certified Human Potential and Primal Health Coach with an integrated holistic approach to human health and performance, with a particular focus on sleep optimization and Quantum health principles.

#44: Buddhist Geeks with Vincent Horn

This week is a special week for me because I sit down with Vincent Horn, the host and founder of the podcast Buddhist Geeks, which was the first show, along with Waking Up with Sam Harris, that turned me onto podcasting. Buddhist Geeks has a keen interest in several of the topics that we like to explore on this show and most recently Vince’s interests have focused on the relationship between meditation and psychedelics. Vince and I spoke about our personal thoughts on the connection between entheogens and contemplative practices, as well as some of the challenges around having this conversation.

We also discuss Vince’s evolving relationship with Buddhism and why he now says that he keeps one foot within the circle of Buddhism and one foot outside the tradition. Vince is also deeply interested in the intersection of ancient wisdom and modernity, hence why I had such a great time speaking with him.

Enjoy.

Guest Bio:

Vincent Horn is part of a new generation of teachers translating age-old wisdom into 21st century code. A computer engineering dropout turned modern monk, Vincent spent his 20s co-founding the ground-breaking Buddhist Geeks project while doing a full year of silent meditation practice on retreat. Vincent began teaching in 2010 and since then has been authorized in both the pragmatic dharma lineage of Kenneth Folk and by Trudy Goodman Kornfield, whose contemplative training is in the Insight Meditation and Zen traditions.  Vince is one of the co-founders of Meditate.io, which is dedicated to offering deep practice opportunities for independent learners.  Vincent has been called a “power player of the mindfulness movement” by Wired magazine and was honored to be featured in Wired UK’s “Smart List: 50 people who will change the world.” He lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his teaching & life partner Emily and their son Zander.

#43: The Art of Awakening with Katchie Ananda

This week I speak with Katchie Ananda who teaches Dharma Yoga: an approach to teaching hatha yoga that integrates the insights of Theravada Buddhism. Katchie and I discuss studying with exceptional teachers like Richard Freeman and Jack Kornfield and how these teaches have impacted her. We also discuss the ways in which entheogens, such as Ayahuasca, can complement contemplative practices and further augment the art of awakening.

Guest Bio:

Katchie Ananda is an international yoga and dharma teacher who has been teaching as a full-time yoga teacher since 1990.

She is certified in Integral, Jivamukti, Anusara, and Ashtanga yoga by Richard Freeman.

A committed student of Vipassana Meditation, she has practiced with Jack Kornfield, her Buddhist mentor, since 2000.

The co-founder/director of Yoga Sangha, a beloved yoga center in San Francisco dedicated to yoga and dharma, Katchie offers trainings in Europe and the USA.

She is dedicated to raising awareness about human and animal rights, the environment and social justice. Her leadership in yoga and social change prompted Yoga Journal to name her one of five top yoga teachers making change in the world and she volunteered for many years at San Quentin, teaching Yoga and Dharma to long-term inmates.

She has brought her humor and stories to conferences, festivals and workshops all over the world and is loved by her students for her authenticity and wisdom.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband Joshua and dog Leelou.

Links:

Katchie’s Personal Website