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The Ultimate Guide To Using Light To Biohack Your Circadian Rhythms, Sleep Better & Beat Jet Lag Forever.

valkee human charger
If you would have happened to have sat next to me on an airplane recently, or observed me at my breakfast table, or caught me on a cloudless, gray day…

…you would have found me wearing a set of light-emitting earbuds that look just like a small set of headphones.

As a way to reduce jet lag, shift my circadian rhythm forwards or backwards for sleep enhancement, and increase my mood in the absence of sun, I’ve been experimenting with biohacking my circadian rhythm using a tiny stream of light to directly target the photoreceptors in my brain through both my ears.

In this post, you’re going to learn exactly how you can utilize this technique yourself using a device called a “HumanCharger“. Enjoy.

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What Is Light, Exactly?

OK, you may think you know what light is, but to really understand the rest of this article and to get the most out of your light biohacking experience, let’s make sure you have a nerdy, propellor-hat understanding of light, shall we?

Light is electromagnetic radiation that specifically falls within a certain part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The word “light” usually refers to visible light, meaning light that is visible to your eye and is responsible for your sense of sight. Visible light is specifically defined as light that has a wavelength in the range of 400 nanometers (nm), which falls just between infrared light (which is light with longer wavelengths) and ultraviolet light (which is light with shorter wavelengths).

So for the purposes of this article, when I say “light”, I’m referring to visible light. If you feel grumpy that you don’t get to learn about infrared light today, then fear not. I have a monster post coming soon that fills you in on that topic.

The main source of light on earth is, you guessed it, the sun. Sunlight provides the energy that green plants use to create starches, which then release energy into the living things that digest those starches. This process of photosynthesis provides just about all the energy used by life on earth.

Another important source of light for humans is fire, which includes everything from ancient campfires to modern kerosene lamps. Of course, with the development of electric lights and power, electric lighting has pretty much replaced most firelight.

Some species of animals generate their own light, called bioluminescence. For example, fireflies use light to locate mates, and vampire squids use light to hide themselves from prey.

The specific properties of light are generally measured in terms of intensity, propagation, direction, frequency or wavelength, and polarization. The speed of light, measured in a vacuum, is 299,792,458 meters per second, and is one of the fundamental constants of nature. Visible light, as with all types of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), is experimentally found to always move at this speed in vacuum.

Hope you remember all that. There may be a test later. 

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Another Thing You Need To Know: The Circadian Rhythm

Just as crucial as your understanding of light is going to be your understanding of the circadian rhythm. 

Circadian rhythms are physiologic and behavioral cycles with a recurring periodicity of approximately 24 hours, generated by an endogenous biological pacemaker called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is located in the anterior hypothalamus in brain. These circadian rhythms control a huge variety of biological processes, such as sleep- wake cycle, body temperature, feeding, hormone secretion, glucose homeostasis, and cell-cycle regulation.

The timing of these physiologic rhythms can become altered, leading to changes in the phase relationship of rhythms to each other, which can cause internal desynchronization. Sometimes this desynchronization manifests as jet lag, sometimes as insomnia, sometimes as waking up extremely freaking early even though all you really want to do is just sleep in a little bit. As you may have experienced at some point in your life, a loss of coordination of these rhythms can have negative consequences on your productivity, your appetite, your happiness, you social interactions, your workouts, your focus, your immune system and many other physiologic and behavioral functions.

So ultimately, the less desynchronized your circadian rhythms are, the better your life. This is mostly related to a big disruption in the production of monoamines and hormones that affect your sleep-wake cycle and wellbeing, such as melatonin, serotonin, dopamine, noradrenalin, leptin, ghrelin, etc.

Via a process called “circadian entrainment”, circadian rhythms are synchronized with the earth’s rotation by daily adjustments in the timing of the SCN (remember, that’s the part of your brain I mentioned earlier), and the circadian rhythms generally follow the exposure to stimuli that signal the time of day. These stimuli are known as zeitgebers (German for ‘‘time-givers’’), and while zeitgebers can include everything from the time of day that you exercise, to when you eat breakfast…

…light is the most important and potent stimulus for circadian entrainment.

The magnitude and direction of any changes in circadian rhythms directly depends on when within the circadian rhythm that a light pulse is presented to either your eyes, or your skin, or anywhere else on your body that light photoreceptors are located. You can actually plot phase changes in circadian rhythm according to the time of light stimulus presentation, and this plot provides what sleep scientists call a “phase response curve”.

For example, exposure to light in the morning and exposure to darkness at night results in a phase response curve that can shift your circadian rhythm backwards and make you sleepy at a more appropriate time in the evening, while exposure to light in the evening or non-exposure to light in the morning can slightly shift your circadian rhythm forwards and cause you to stay awake longer and possibly sleep in longer in the morning, although sleeping in longer in the morning usually requires more of an absence of morning light than a presence of evening light.

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What Happens When Your Circadian Rhythm Gets Messed Up

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders (CRSDs) is the term given to patterns of sleep-wake rhythm disturbances. CRSDs result from a misalignment between the timing of the circadian rhythm and the external environment (e.g. jet lag, shift work, watching loud and bright TV at night, etc.) or a dysfunction of the circadian clock and its afferent and efferent pathways (e.g. delayed sleep-phase, advanced sleep-phase, non-24-hour, and irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorders, such as might occur with obstructive sleep apnea, parasites, nighttime hypoglycemia, etc.).

The most common symptoms of these disorders are difficulties with sleep onset or sleep maintenance, and excessive sleepiness that is commonly associated with impaired social and occupational functioning.

Effective treatment for most CRSDs requires a multimodal approach to accelerate circadian realignment with exposure to appropriate amounts of light at specific times of day, avoidance of bright light at inappropriate times, adherence to scheduled sleep and wake times and some of the other strategies Dr. Joe Zelk discusses in this article and this podcast.

If you want more nitty gritty details, you can download Circadian Rhythm Abnormalities (.pdf download). I also talk quite a bit about circadian rhythms in the article “5 Biohacks To Beat Insomnia, Sleep Better On Airplanes & Shut Down Stress”.

OK, let’s sum up where we are at this point:

You now understand now that light is the single strongest signal that keeps your biological clock synchronized.

You understand that if you don’t get enough light during the day or you get it at the wrong time of the day, e.g. during shift-work or travel induced jet lag, your biological clock can go out of sync, and the production of neurotransmitters and hormones that affect your sleep-wake cycle and wellbeing.

And you understand that this can have a negative effect on how you feel and function during the day and how you sleep during the night.

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You’ve Got Light Receptors All Over Your Brain

The information your body gets about existence or absence of light is received via light-sensitive receptor proteins in the eye’s retina. These proteins are called opsins. Opsins convert the photonic energy of light into electrical potential in neurons, and project signals from light to the brain’s biological clock, as well as to other brain areas. This then increases neurotransmitter signalling and influences hormone production.

But here’s what most people don’t know: light-sensitive receptors are not only found in the retina, but also in many locations in the brain, such as the cerebrum and the hypothalamus. I came across this in an independent, up-to-date inventory of human proteins, including the light sensitive proteins in brain tissue that is maintained by the international Human Protein Atlas project, managed by Uppsala University of Sweden, and funded by the Knut & Alice Wallenberg foundation.

In several recent studies, light sensitive receptors have been found in many locations in the human and animal brain, receptors that are shockingly  completely separate from the retina. For example in one study, human post-mortem brain and peripheral tissue was analysed for the presence of two of the most relevant opsins, melanopsin and encephalopsin, that are sensitive to visible light. Results showed the presence of these opsins at 18 different sites of the human brain and peripheral tissue, indicating light-sensitivity in the brain itself.

In another study, 50 healthy people were randomly divided into two groups, one of which one received 12 minutes of gentle light exposure in their ears via earbuds very much like headphones, and another group that received no light (e.g. lightless earbuds). During the light exposure in the ear, a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan of each group’s brain activity was conducted.

The intriguing results showed a significantly increased activation of the visual and sensory-motor areas of the brain in the group that had received light in their ears, compared to zero activation in the placebo control group. This means that there is a photosensitivity of the brain that is completely independent from the eyes. Based on this result, the idea emerged that a disorder like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is already treated with bright light therapy like desktop blue light boxes, could just as easily be treated by directing small and portable amounts of light directly to the brain, through the ears.

This all makes sense, since SAD is primarily caused by seasonal lack of exposure to sufficient light. It is characterized by all the usual symptoms of depression, and also an increased need for sleep, annoying fatigue, craving for carbohydrates and weight gain, especially during darker winter months or times of gray, sunless rain.

The earliest bright light headset clinical studies investigated whether transcranial light via the ear could reduce depression symptoms in people suffering from SAD. In the first of these pilot studies, 13 SAD patients were subjected to a daily dose of 8-12 minutes of transcranial bright light therapy into their ears for four weeks. Their depression and anxiety symptoms were measured using standard questionnaires like the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, both prior to the 4 week trial and afterwards.

When researchers compared the depression and anxiety score before treatment and after the fourth week, the results showed a significant reduction in reported symptoms on all three measures. These findings suggest that transcranial bright light therapy could be an alternative to traditional light therapy.

Then, in a second, larger four week trial, 89 patients suffering from SAD were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups and received either a low, medium, or high dose of daily bright light in their ear for a total of 12 minutes each morning. Depressive symptoms and cognitive performance were again assessed using standard psychiatric instruments at the beginning, during, and at the end of the trial. Results showed a significant reduction of depression symptoms in 74-79% of the patients in all three treatment groups as well as a significant improvement of cognitive performance compared to baseline. The result was comparable with any traditional bright light lamp and blue light boxing studies conducted over the past two decades, and suggest that light shone into the ear can alleviate depression symptoms in SAD patients, and can also increase cognitive performance.

And that’s all without you having to stare at a giant blue light box emitting light placed in your bedroom or on your desk, which is the standard treatment for SAD, and even something I’ve personally recommended in the past as a way to align your circadian rhythm, such as in my Red Light and Blue Light Biohacking Tips podcast.

So it turns out that your ear canal is actually a very convenient passageway for light to reach photosensitive brain areas. This is because the light only needs to travel a short distance to reach for instance the light sensitive receptors in cerebrum. Light can literally passes through the translucent eardrum and the thin bone structures in your ear, and then immediately activate relevant neural networks of your brain.

That’s right: your freaking ear can sense light. 

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Enter The Human Charger

A company called “Valkee“, based out of Finland, spearheaded much of the research you just read about on the ear’s ability to detect light, and they’ve specifically investigated how light shining directly into your ears can do things like treat jet lag and SAD, assist with morning wakefulness, and shift circadian rhythms forwards or backwards.

Motivated to fight through the long, dark winters of their home in northern Finland, scientist Juuso Nissila and engineer Antti Aunio launched Valkee in 2007. In 2010, they developed a bright light headset-based medical device designed specifically to prevent and treat SAD. This is the same in-ear device used in the studies cited above.

Although the Valkee ear light device was initially developed for the treatment of SAD, the logical next step in the development of this technology for medical uses was to show that it could improve your wellbeing, increase cognitive performance, decrease anxiety, or be used to biohack circadian rhythms and address jet lag, rather than just treating SAD.

So Juuso and Antti designed a study to investigate whether an in-ear light headset could reduce moderate anxiety symptoms, even in the absence of SAD. Anxiety is associated with SAD, and other studies on SAD have already given insight into potential benefits of transcranial light for treating anxiety. So Valkee ran a small-scale, randomized, sham-controlled, double-blind trial on acute treatment of anxiety with 28 participants randomized into two groups.

In November 2013, the results were presented in The International Forum on Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Monaco, and showed that when comparing pre and post light exposure, anxiety symptoms were significantly reduced in the ear light treatment group, with zero significant change in anxiety symptoms in the placebo group. This study was the world’s first fully double-blind, placebo-controlled study with any bright light device, including bright light lamps or blue light boxes (these kind of devices obviously can’t be tested without the participant knowing whether the light is on or off).

But human well-being is not only about treating disorders, or about the absence of disease, right?

It also includes physical and cognitive performance, and the ability to perform at optimal levels even when you’re already feeling fine. So Juuso and Antti decided to investigate whether transcranial bright light treatment would be able to improve aspects of cognitive performance such as psychomotor speed in elite pro ice hockey players.

In this study, a series of psychomotor speed tests, including mean reaction time and motor time (using audio and visual signals) were administered to the Finnish National Ice Hockey League team before and after 24 days of transcranial bright light or sham treatment. The treatments were given during seasonal darkness in the Oulu region of Finland, when the strain on the players was also very high (10 matches during 24 days).

A daily 12 minute dose of bright light or sham treatment was given every morning between 8am and 12pm to the hockey players, at home with the Valkee transcranial (in-ear) bright light device. Not surprisingly, Juuso and Antti found that psychomotor speed, particularly motor time with a visual warning signal, significantly improved after the series of 12 minute long bright light treatment in the eras of professional ice-hockey players during the competition season in the dark time of the year.

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What Can Light In Your Ears Do For Jet Lag?

But let’s say you’re not a professional hockey player, and you also don’t struggle with depression or seasonal affective disorder.

I’m guessing you’re still going to be a bit intrigued by the sleep and jet lag component of using in-ear light.

As you probably know, rapid travel in an airplane over several time zones usually results in something that scientists call “passing de-synchronization”, but that we normal folks call “jet lag”. It arises due to a sudden significant difference between environmental time and the biological clock of the traveller.

Symptoms of jet lag include sleep disturbances, drowsiness during the day, reduced alertness, poor overall performance, cognitive deficits, fatigue, irritation, anxiety, depression, and gastrointestinal dysfunction. The severity of jet lag symptoms depends on the number of time zones crossed, the direction of travel, the time of day of the flight, and possibly even the time of year, as well as individual parameters such as age, chronotype, and physical health. Jet lag symptoms tend to dissipate as your internal biological clock gradually shifts toward the time of your new time zone.

But this adaptation takes time – on average one full hour of time zone difference per day spent in the new time zone. So this means if you fly across three time zones it takes you a full three days to fully adapt. And if you fly across the Atlantic or Pacific, it could be 7-10 days for you to fully adapt.

There are only a few random studies that have explored light as a countermeasure to treat the symptoms of jet lag. These studies have shown a modest circadian rhythm entraining effect and increased sleep effectiveness, but show absolutely no effect on regaining performance or a decrease in actual jet lag symptoms.

So Valkee set about organzing a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind jet lag field study of 55 trans-Atlantic travelers, specifically to investigate whether intermittent light exposure from a headset’s ear buds could significantly alleviate jet lag.

Study participants were randomly divided into a light treatment group and a placebo group. The participants travelled by plane from Finland to North America and back, and to allow their internal clock to adjust to North American time. spent at least one week on the ground in North America before their flight back.

During the treatment period immediately after returning to Finland, participants received bright light or placebo headset treatment four times a day at pre-determined times. Jet lag symptoms were measured using several well-established metrics likethe  Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, Horne-Östberg Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire, Visual Analogue Scale, State Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Profile of Mood State score (who names these things?). These are the same scales used in all seven light-based jet lag field studies that have been published in the last 15 years.

So what happened?

In the bright light treatment group, the jet lag symptoms decreased significantly faster than in the placebo group. None of the 55 subjects in the present study reported any adverse effects as a result of the light treatment. As a matter of fact, the bright light group participants’ recovery back to their baseline condition, measured before the flight, took on average only half as long compared with the placebo group.

This is the first ever randomized, placebo-controlled and double-blinded light therapy study on alleviation of jet lag symptoms, and the results indicate that transcranial bright light given through ear canals decreases symptoms of jet lag.

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The results of the new study were published in the April 2015 issue of Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. The peer-reviewed monthly journal published by the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) is the most used and cited journal in its field and distributed to more than 80 nations.

Based on the study results and other required qualifications, in April of 2015 Valkee’s in-ear light device, quite appropriately called “The HumanCharger“, was granted the EU medical device CE-certification under Council Directive 92/43/EEC, expanding the Company’s existing EU medical device certification for treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

The device (pictured below, right) is a tiny, pocked-sized headset about the size of a small .mp3 player, with accompanying earbuds that are exactly the size of regular audio earbuds, but that produce a beam of light rather than producing sound.

valkee1Think about it this way: there are only three proven treatments for jet-lag that have been systematically explored under laboratory and field conditions:

1) exposure to bright light;

2) melatonin supplements;

3) pharmacological agents – that is, medication.

Of all these three options, only bright light exposure has none of the side effects or risks known to be associated with the use of melatonin or pharmacological agents used to treat and avoid jet lag symptoms.

Since April, Valkee has continued pioneering research to reduce jet lag, enhance sleep, and help people feel better, with a goal to enhance cognitive performance while decreasing the need for anti-depressants or other medicines. 

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My Experience With The HumanCharger

In May, I got my hands on my own HumanCharger (Valkee sent me a trial unit). Although the model also comes in silver, mine is a sleek little black device, about 1/4 the size of my cell phone and 1/2 as thick. 

The last time I messed around much with biohacking light was when I wrote an article on blue-light blocking called “The Ultimate Visual Biohack – How To Create Your Own Set Of Custom Vision, Performance & Sleep Enhancing Glasses.

But ear light exposure has been a whole new experience for me.

Here’s how it works:

1) You put the earbuds in your ears.

2) You push the one, single button in the middle of the device.

3) The lights automatically turn on, shine for a total of 12 minutes, then turn off.

That’s it.

I don’t feel a thing in terms of actual warmth or sensation, although I immediately feel a slight surge of alertness when I turn on the device and during the entire 12 minutes that the protocol is running. This is the same sensation I feel if I step outside into the sun, or suddenly switch on a light in a dark bedroom. It is kind of a weird feeling, since you never really think of the inside of your ears as being able to “see” light.

So how have I been using my HumanCharger?

First, exactly according to the instructions from Valkee, for the 1-3 days before I travel from East to West across multiple time zones, I do 12 minutes of the light protocol when it’s morning where I’m going. So if I want to be wakeful at, say, 7am in the West, I’ll use the light at 10am in the East.

Then, when I’m in the West, I simply blast the light in my ears for 12 minutes either when I wake up or while I’m sitting drinking coffee and checking my emails.

So far, with this technique, I’ve used the HumanCharger for three separate trips and experienced absolutely zero jet lag on any of the trips. My only regret leading up to writing this article is that I have not yet had a chance to use the HumanCharger for an international flight, but I have a whole slew of international travels coming up this fall during which I plan on using it to avoid all the grogginess, food cravings, and decrease in cognitive performance that happens when crossing a significant number of time zones.

Next, I’ve had two races for which I’ve had to wake up 1-2 hours before my normal waking time. In both instances, I’ve instantly eliminated the normal grogginess from getting up earlier than usual by simply using the HumanCharger as soon as I wake up in the morning.

Next, on two separate occasions, I’ve taken out the HumanCharger on a sunless day and used it just after lunch, when afternoon sleepiness and mild amounts of seasonal affective disorder would normally set in. Both times, it’s completely eliminated the need for a nap, and although it could certainly be a placebo effect, seems to lift my mood, focus and cognitive performance as well.

I’ve also had several times since getting my HumanCharger that I’ve gotten into a pattern of waking up at about 5:30AM, when I’d rather sleep until 6:30AM. Each time, I’ve pulled myself out of that pattern by getting up at 5:30AM, avoiding any sun exposure, then at 6:30AM (the time I’d rather be waking up), putting myself through the HumanCharger protocol. So in this way, I can shift my circadian rhythm forwards, or backwards.

Finally, although I haven’t yet had the opportunity to use it for this purpose, the HumanCharger could be used when you’ve traveled to, say, the West. Let’s say you have a party, a dinner, a social event, a conference, a speech, a meeting, etc. at 7pm, which for you, if you come from the East, would be, say, 10pm. You could use the Human Charger beforehand for a quick blast of energy as an alternative to caffeine or some other stimulant. However, I’ve actually avoided using it in a situation like this, since I don’t really want to shift my circadian rhythm too far forward in the evening. I just like my sleep too much.

Oh yeah, one other thing…there’s an app too.

In case my description and instructions were too vague, the HumanCharger App basically tells you the exact best times for your 12 minutes bursts of ear light, based on your origin and destination time zone, including the option for getting these instructions via push notifications. It integrates with travel sites like TripIt, so you don’t need to enter again the details of any of your trips. This means the app can grab your flights from TripIt and tell you exactly when to use your charger. It also has a nifty time zone difference visualizer on it. You can get the app here.

I’ve also negotiated a 10% discount code for you for The HumanCharger. The code is “BENG10HC”, it’s fully operational on all Amazon sites anywhere in the world, and it will be valid until December 31, 2015.

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Summary

Suffer from anxiety or seasonal affective disorder?

Travel frequently and struggle with jeg lag?

Confused trying to figure out how to shift your circadian rhythm forward or backward?

Need a non-pharmaceutical, non-medicinal, non-supplement alternative to caffeine or energy drinks?

I recommend you try treating your ears with light for 12 minutes using The HumanCharger. The instructions that come with it are easy to understand, and it’s light, portable, travels anywhere, and is far less awkward at coffeeshops than lugging around a giant blue light box to slam on the table in front of you. Basically, it just looks like you’re listening to music or a podcast.

Enjoy, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below.

Who Wants A Box Jam-Packed With Handpicked Goodies From Ben To Arrive On Your Doorstep Every Quarter?

quarterly ben greenfield

Big news.

I’m launching a box with Quarterly.

What is Quarterly?

Quarterly allows you to sign-up to get curated boxes from people you follow online, such as authors, style experts, musicians, etc. You choose your favorite cultural icons, they curate unique boxes, and then you receive handpicked stuff from them each quarter. It’s actually a really cool idea, and something I wished I’d have discovered a long time ago!

So here’s the deal: Quarterly approached me about sending you and a select group of my other followers a customized Quarterly box. But I need your help to prove that people other than just my Mom are actually interested in getting a regularly scheduled package jam-packed with cutting-edge goodies from me.

After all, every day I pour through research and spends massive amounts of time in the trenches figuring out what works and what doesn’t in the realm of performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep and hormone optimization – and this seems like a very cool way for me to share that stuff in physical form with you, sent straight to your doorstep. Think supplements, unique fitness gear, functional foods, sleep hacking tools, mind enhancing games, etc. You know…all those weird things that make being healthy, defying aging and getting to peak performance both educational and fun.

So if you think this is a cool idea, then click here

When you do, you will go to a page that let’s you support my Quarterly by raising your hand and also spreading the word with your friends and family (and there’s even a video of me wearing funny toe socks). Then, once there is enough interest, you’ll be the first to know when my box is available.

That’s all you have to do to make this happen (and to be the first person to find out when my Quarterly launches). Just click away, and then sit back and wait to see what kind of cool things I can get together to ship to you each quarter! Leave any questions below.

5 Must-Read Books For 5 Important Areas Of Your Life.

books

I’m writing this to you while I’m on a flight from LAX to Seattle.

See, while coming back from a series of Spartan races in Southern California (for which I’m working on a very interesting “before-after” blood testing experiment), I found out my tiny hometown airport in Spokane, Washington was immersed in freezing fog, which resulted in over 24 hours of flight delays for me, and some very spotty internet connections or writing opportunities.

But rather than skipping a post altogether, I still wanted to get you some helpful content in my usual Monday ramblings, and what better than to give you some fantastic book recommendations? Between audiobooks, my Kindle Fire and physical books, I typically read 2-5 books each week and without further ado, here are five that I consider to be “must-reads” for 5 important areas of your life: fitness, diet, money, happiness and business.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

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1. Fitness: 8 Weeks to SEALFIT: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Unconventional Training for Physical and Mental Toughness

I’ve been through some pretty harrowing crucibles with Mark Divine’s SEALFIT organization (just read about my hellish “Kokoro” experience to see what I mean). SEALFIT is a style of training developed by retired Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine for the unique and specialized needs of professionals seeking to reach their fullest potential. But this book’s physical and mental training isn’t just for the armed forces. Instead, I recommend that anyone who wants to get to extreme levels of brain and body toughness try the 8 week program in the book.

The workouts are massive and intimidating and they take 2-3 hours a pop. When I did this program, I split them into morning and evening routines to break up the time load, but they are still going to take up a great deal of your hours and your focus as you go through the program. You’re going to find yourself eating dinner at night while looking ahead and shuddering about the next day’s workout, which might involve 90 minutes of hardcore weightlifting, followed by a 1 mile running time trial and then a hike in the hills with a 50 pound weighted pack.

But if you want to carve yourself into a true warrior, and you’re willing to take 8 weeks of your life to do it, this book is a must-read, as long as you’re not just reading it for the pretty pictures, but also doing it.

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2. Diet: The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know that there are some nutritional nazis out there screaming that this book by Tim Ferriss leaves out all the important considerations of gut integrity, digestibility, nutrient density and true blah-blah geekery of diet science.

But I don’t care.

See, some people just need to learn to freaking cook before they start to examine whether the legume they’re eating have been properly soaked, fermented or sprouted. And that’s why I like 4 Hour Chef: it not only teaches you how to cook a handful of meals that you could pretty much rely on for the rest of your life to feed yourself or to impress friends at a dinner party, but it also leaves you feeling not afraid to learn pretty much anything else – from memorizing a deck of cards to hunting, skinning and butchering a deer.

Plus, this book is just fun to read, with colorful pictures, plenty of mind-bending activities, and things you never would have thought to do: like pulverizing steamed broccoli in a food processor, tossing in some cubed avocado, laying the entire mix over a bed of white rice, and then topping the tantalizing green layers with a broiled eel. That’s a 15 minute meal that fooled my kids into thinking I was some kind a culinary god.

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3. Money: Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity

The first time I read this book in 2009, it absolutely rocked my world. For most of my life, I had been under the impression that a well-balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds, a solid 401K, and shopping for the best prices on insurance were smart and savvy financial decisions. I was a total eTrade guy who was slowly building a portfolio and retirement fund online, and got most of my financial advice from the Wall Street Journal and Money magazine.

But sadly, our culture is riddled with destructive myths about money and prosperity, and in Killing Sacred Cows, Garrett Gunderson exposes the fallacies and misguided traditions in the world of personal finance, and gives a pretty revolutionary perspective on how to set up your finances in a way that minimizes your taxes and maximizes your ability to protect what you’ve worked so hard to earn.

Since reading the book, I’ve done things like set-up a family trust, insured myself to the absolute maximum, started investing in my own business and other passion projects rather than the stock market, and completely gotten rid of my retirement plan.

It’s nice knowing that if I die tomorrow, my family is completely taken care of, and it’s also nice to know that I’m building my own legacy, and not leaving it in the hands of a fickle stock market. I recommend you give this one a read and kill a few of your own sacred cows.

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4. Happiness: The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day

Until I stumbled across The Five Minute Journal, I was never a journal guy, and threw away most of the diaries and journals people gave me. But now I journal almost every day, and it’s simple because this book just walks me through the process of journaling by asking me a few easy questions, like “What are 3 things you’re grateful for this morning?” or “How could you have made today better?”.

Science has proven that being grateful and shifting your focus to the positive can dramatically improve your happiness. But the key is consistency, and with a positive quote every day and a daily structure that helps you focus on what’s good, The Five Minute Journal gives you just that.

This journal basically combines all the practical elements that can make the difference in your life, and spares you the hours and weeks of moving through dense academic jargon. It’s all here. And it’s been made easy. As a matter of fact, I hack my morning productivity by doing my journaling for 5 minutes every morning while I’m testing my heart rate variability and nervous system strength.

If you’re the kind of person who always wanted to write a journal, but life, excuses and checking your email, Twitter and Facebook every morning took precedence, then this one is for you. Kind of like the 8 Weeks To SEALFIT book, don’t just read this book – do it.

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5. Business: The BookStrapper Guide to Marketing Your Book

I’ll admit that this is kind of a weird one to throw into the mix, but I just finished reading this Bookstrapper Guide on my Kindle and it’s unique approach is fresh on my mind, so I couldn’t leave it out.

Here’s the deal: I’ve always loved to write, and if I’m sitting next to a stranger on an airplane and they ask what I do, I usually just tell them “I’m a health author” (vs. telling them I’m a consultant who uses a combination of biohacking, science and ancestral living to empower people to achieve peak levels of physical and mental performance and live life at as fast a pace as possible without destroying their bodies).

Writing gets me incredibly excited, and books about the writing process, the publishing industry and how to be a better author get me excited too. If that describes you, then by all means, keep reading. If not, stop now and go read one of the other books I recommended.

Anyways, the Bookstrapper Guide is to the writing world what Killing Sacred Cows is to the money world. It shatters book marketing paradigms and both clarifies and shows you how to take the confusing process of publishing into your own hands. It’s the book I wish I had read when I first started down the road to becoming an author, because it would have saved me a lot of time, a lot of heartache, and a lot of living on thin shreds of minuscule royalties from books I published through the traditional marketplace.

If you’ve always wanted to write a book, but you also need to pay the bills, this book is for you. You’ll learn how to take charge of your own marketing and sell thousands and thousands of books without having to navigate the traditional, slow-as-molasses publishing industry. Plus, it’s written by Tucker Max and Ryan Holiday, two intriguing guys to follow.

Incidentally, if you clicked on the book link above, you may have noticed that it’s a free download of this book. That’s because it’s not for sale anymore. Tucker had another side project take off (namely, a done-for-you book publishing service), and he shut everything else down to work on that. So free book for you, I guess.

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The overhead announcement just came. My flight is landing. So I gotta wrap up with this quick review:

Want to become a beast? Get 8 Weeks to SEALFIT.

Learn to cook anything? The 4-Hour Chef.

Crack the code on wealth? Killing Sacred Cows.

Get happier, instantly? The Five Minute Journal.

Write your own book and make money doing it? The BookStrapper Guide to Marketing Your Book.

One last thing before ending: I’m curious to know which three to five books you’ve read recently that you would recommend. Leave your comments below, along with any other questions on things like how I select books, speed-reading, where I get my books or anything else!

I Just Went Crazy (The Most Primal Workout Ever).

Obstacle Dominator

Oh yeah, baby.

Obstacle racing gives you the ultimate primal feeling of getting down, getting dirty and living life at a slightly dangerous level.

Getting a few scrapes, bruises, cuts, and lots of dirt.

And enjoying the hell out of every last minute of it.

Today, I’m giving you a very short video and a very cool special announcement. Let’s first lighten things up with that video – which includes a handy tire-flipping tip…

…and now, on to the press release, which happens to mention yours truly.

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Ben Greenfield, a coach, speaker, and New York Times Bestselling author, has teamed up with top Spartan athlete Hunter McIntyre to launch the “Obstacle Dominator” training program – a downloadable training plan for obstacle racing that includes workout programs for all distances and abilities, diets and recipes, how-to guides for creating and completing obstacles, and insider interviews with the top athletes in the sport of obstacle racing.

From Spartan races to Tough Mudder, Dirty Dash, Tough Guy, Mud Run, Warrior Dash, obstacle racing is a rapidly growing sport in which a competitor, traveling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges that are in the form of obstacles. Obstacles include climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, traversing bodies of water, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping through fire. Races vary in both distance and challenge level, combining trail running, road running, and cross country running.

“Obstacle racing an amazing experience that is taking the world by storm,” says Greenfield, “but it’s also a brutal sport that can cause injuries, burnout, or just a very unpleasant day unless you prepare with the right kind of training, workouts, recovery, pacing, gear, and nutrition. Whether people are wanting to dominate their next obstacle race, or just learn the sport of obstacle racing, Hunter and I teach you everything you need to know in an easy and fun format.”

In the Obstacle Dominator package, Hunter and Ben reveal all their tips for optimizing the obstacle training and racing experience, covering everything from increasing endurance, strength, speed and dexterity, dealing with common injuries, eating before, during and after workouts and races, the best workouts for obstacle racing, making your own obstacles and much more.

The Obstacle Dominator package includes:

-A training manual with six different workout plans for all levels and race distances, including Spartan Sprints, Spartan Supers, Spartan Beasts, and a “minimalist” plan.

-Step-by-step videos that walk the user through proper technique for each obstacle.

-12 audio interviews with top pro athletes about their exercise and diets, along with an insider interview with Spartan CEO Joe DeSena.

-A “How To Create Your Own Obstacle Course” guide, complete with easy-to-follow instructions for making everything from spears to walls.

-Full audio transcripts of Ben and Hunter’s popular “Obstacle Dominator” podcast.

-A 12 week nutrition plan for obstacle training and racing, with detailed recipes.

-An unconventional guide to obstacle training that includes the optional use of kettlebells, sandbags, medicine balls, maces and battle ropes.

-Exclusive discounts to the most popular races.

“This is bar none the most comprehensive obstacle training and racing guide you’re going to find anywhere,” Hunter says, “We didn’t pull any punches. It’s been an exhausting year putting all this information together for the obstacle racing world, but now we’ve got pretty much the last solution you’ll ever need to go do an obstacle race, and to get really good at them too.”

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If you’ve ever wondered how to train for an obstacle race, what obstacle racing feels like, or you’re bored with clean, pristine, ho-hum or ineffective workouts, this done-for-you, zero-guesswork bundle is for you.

It’s 77 bucks for the first week of 2015 (after that the price goes up to 97). Even if you never plan on doing an obstacle race, this thing will get you ripped, make you tough as nails, and ensure that you’re never bored with your workouts again.

Leave any questions below, (and stay tuned to the YouTube Obstacle Dominator channel for even more hilarious videos).

A Little Known Nutrient That Can Heal Your Gut And Blast Your Immunity Through The Roof.

NatureColostrum

It was way back in 2009 that I first discovered goat’s milk.

I had just finished interviewing Joe Stout – a food scientist at a small local goat farm called “Mt. Capra”. During our podcast (which you can listen to here), Joe filled me on some very interesting properties of goat’s milk that make it much, much different than cow’s milk, including…

…the difference in allergic reactions between goat’s milk and cow’s milk, and why the difference exists…

….what happens to cow’s milk during homogenization that makes it especially dangerous for athletes and people worried about cancer…

…why the body absorbs goat’s milk protein at a much, much faster rate than cow’s milk protein…

…how cow’s milk can cause lactose intolerance, and why this rarely happens with goat’s milk…

…and why goat’s milk “matches up” to the human body better than cow’s milk.

Over at Mark’s Daily Apple  just last week, this was recently confirmed, in an article that says:

“Lots of people seem to fare better with goat milk than cow milk, and several studies support these anecdotes:

-Goat milk is both anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory, regulating the intestinal immune response at the cellular level.

-Goat milk possesses immunomodulatory effects and even helps the body release nitric oxide, a vasodilator that improves vascular function.

-Goat milk glycans (carbohydrates that support the healthy gut bacteria and can help the immune system) are more similar to human milk glycans than cow milk glycans; goat milk also contains novel glycans with further health benefits.”

Anyways, after that original podcast with Joe, I asked him what to do if I wanted to get all the beneficial properties of goat’s milk (and as I later discovered) much more, without actually drinking milk every day, because frankly, I’m just not a milk-guzzling kind of guy.

Joe’s response changed my life, and you’re about to discover why.

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What Is Colostrum?

Joe told me, “Simple. Colostrum.”

At this point, colostrum was kind of woo-woo for me. My wife grew up on a sheep farm so I knew colostrum had something to do with sheep’s milk, but wasn’t really sure what it really, truly was.

Joe explained to me that colostrum is produced by not just goats and sheep, but by all mammals (including humans) in the first few days after giving birth. Also known as “first milk”, it is produced in the mammary glands of females just prior to giving birth, and serves as a concentrated source of proteins, growth factors, and antibodies that are essential for early development of newborns.

Its properties have been revered for thousands of years across many cultures: in ancient Chinese medicine it was regarded as a potent health tonic, and for the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania it has long been regarded as a crucial part of a warrior’s diet. In Britain, dairy farmers refer to colostrum as beestings, and they used any surplus colostrum to make an extra-creamy, and very healthy, pudding.

So you can literally think of colostrum as a powerhouse of nutritional ammunition designed to get a newborn through the critical first few days of life.

Now let’s move on to a slightly more scientific definition of colostrum for you nerds out there, straight from the underbellies of the Wiki definition of colostrum:

“Newborns have very immature digestive systems, and colostrum delivers its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form. It has a mild laxative effect, encouraging the passing of the baby’s first stool, which is called meconium. This clears excess bilirubin, a waste-product of dead red blood cells, which is produced in large quantities at birth due to blood volume reduction, from the infant’s body and helps prevent jaundice. Colostrum is known to contain immune cells (as lymphocytes)[4] and many antibodies such as IgA, IgG, and IgM. These are the major components of the adaptive immune system. Inter alia IgA is absorbed through the intestinal epithelium, travels through the blood, and is secreted onto other Type 1 mucosal surfaces[citation needed]. Other immune components of colostrum include the major components of the innate immune system, such as lactoferrin,[5] lysozyme,[6] lactoperoxidase,[7] complement,[8] and proline-rich polypeptides (PRP).[9] A number of cytokines (small messenger peptides that control the functioning of the immune system) are found in colostrum as well,[10] including interleukins,[10] tumor necrosis factor,[11] chemokines,[12] and others. Colostrum also contains a number of growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factors I (IGF-1),[13] and II,[14] transforming growth factors alpha,[15] beta 1 and beta 2,[16][17] fibroblast growth factors,[18] epidermal growth factor,[19] granulocyte-macrophage-stimulating growth factor,[20] platelet-derived growth factor,[20] vascular endothelial growth factor,[21] and colony-stimulating factor-1.[22]

Colostrum is very rich in proteins, vitamin A, and sodium chloride, but contains lower amounts of carbohydrates, lipids, and potassium than mature milk. The most pertinent bioactive components in colostrum are growth factors and antimicrobial factors. The antibodies in colostrum provide passive immunity, while growth factors stimulate the development of the gut. They are passed to the neonate and provide the first protection against pathogens.”

Whew. I know that was a propellor-hat friendly mouthful, so let’s dig into the more practical aspects of how you can use colostrum if you happen to be one of my readers that is not a newborn or 2 day old mammal.

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Colostrum As An Alternative To Antibiotics

The immunoglobulins in colostrum have specific immune system activity against many common human pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Cryptosporidium parvum, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and rotavirus (yes, that nasty diarrhea disease).

Interestingly, prior to the development of antibiotics, colostrum was the primary source of immunoglobulins used to fight infections. When Albert Sabin made his first oral vaccine against polio, the immunoglobulin he used actually came from colostrum. When antibiotics began to appear, interest in colostrum waned, but, now that antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens have developed, interest is once again returning to natural alternatives to antibiotics like colostrum.

I personally don’t take colostrum year-round (later in this article I’ll tell you why I don’t take colostrum all the time), but prior to travel or during cold and flu season I “load” with colostrum for several weeks.

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Colostrum For Immunity

Perhaps you have heard of “Proline-Rich Polypeptides” or PRP. These things have been making the news all over scholarly medical research articles lately due to their huge potential for boosting the immune system. So in addition to the infection-fighting immunoglobulins you’ve already learned about, these PRP’s offer a second level of protection.

PRP’s are tiny immune signaling peptides that have been discovered in colostrum (and also in other sources, such as blood plasma). Also known as “Colostrinin”, “CLN”, and “transfer factor”, they function as signal transducing molecules that have the unique effect of making microadjustments to your immune system, turning your immunity up when the body comes under attack from pathogens or other disease agents, and damping your immune system down when the danger is eliminated or neutralized. This is called cell-mediated immunity, and is basically a process of keeping your immune system finely tuned.

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Colostrum For Enhancing The Effectiveness of Probiotics

Because colostrum helps to heal leaky gut and make the tight junctions in your gut less permeable to foreign invaders, without colostrum, probiotics will not be as effective long term because they will pass through your GI tract and not “stick around” in your gut the way they are supposed to. In this way, clostrum is like soil for the seeds of probiotics. It gives friendly bacteria a place to grow by keeping leaky junctions in your gut more “closed”. This has to do with a protein called Zonulin.

In his recent Digestion Session Summit, Sean Croxton interviewed Dr. Datis Kharrazian and in the transcript of the interview, Dr. Kharrazian explained it this way:

what is zonulin

So basically, colostrum keeps zonulin protein from opening up your intestinal cells and keeps leaky gut from developing. Hence, your probiotics become more effective.

In addition, since colostrum also contains a large concentration of immune system factors like white blood cells (leukocytes) and antibodies, the combination of probiotics and colostrum together boost your immune system tremendously.

In addition, if you are trying to re-colonize your GI tract (raise the levels of friendly bacteria in your gut) then you should also combine colostrum with probiotics. When you have a healthy population of friendly bacteria combined with colostrum for the probiotics to cultivate, a more hostile environment is created for harmful microorganisms and there is less space for digestion disruptors to proliferate. So colostrum combined with probiotics is a very powerful one-two gut-healing combo for gas, bloasting, diarrhea, constipation.

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Colostrum For Athletic Performance

For me, athletic performance enhancement and the prevention of gas, nausea, cramps or diarrhea during hard workouts and races was a big reason to begin using colostrum, and I particularly achieve this by “loading” with 8 colostrum capsules per day for 2 weeks before hard races – especially races in hot conditions, such as Ironman Hawaii.

A gastroenterologist professor named Raymond Playford, of Plymouth University, has done some very interesting research on the gut benefits of colostrum for athletes, and has published one study entitled: “The nutriceutical, bovine colostrum, truncates the increase in gut permeability caused by heavy exercise in athletes.

When we are in intense periods of training, us athletes and exercise enthusiasts (you know who you are) often develop gut problems, also known as  “runners’ trots”. If you’ve ever had to pull over on the side of the road during a run with your head between your knees because of gastric distress, or you’ve ever had to interrupt a set in the weight room to quickly duck into the locker room, then you know what I mean.

In the video below, Dr. Playford explains how this is caused by a combination of stress and the simultaneous raising of your body’s core temperature by about two degrees, which increases the permeability of your gut wall, allows toxins into the bloodstream that wouldn’t normally be there, and is the primary reason you get gut distress during stressful exercise, especially stressful exercise in the heat. This is because heat raises the permeability of your gut wall even more.

In this video, Dr. Playfored also talks about his fascinating research on colostrum, its role in protecting this gut leakage that happens during strenuous exercise, and the fact that if you take colostrum for two weeks prior to exercise, the change in gut leakiness is almost completely prevented.

This all makes sense, since colostrum contains growth factors designed to strengthen the gut lining, which is crucial for a newborn mammal, who has a very permeable gut that needs to toughen up fast (and this is why babies or children raised on soy milk – or anyone who has ever been on a bout of gut disrupting antibiotics – should undoubtedly be considering colostrum).

Of course, it’s not just gut problems that colostrum helps to address in athletes. Other studies show that athletes who take it are as much as 20% less likely to get infections of the upper respiratory tract, for reasons you’ve already learned.fs

In this article from the Guardian, Playford expounds on the other benefits that active people can derive from colostrum, “It could be really useful to people who have to do physical exercise in hot conditions, such as soldiers in Afghanistan,” he says. “They are susceptible to heatstroke because of all the gear they have to wear and carry, and taking colostrum could reduce that very serious risk. Another group who could benefit are older people with arthritis who develop serious gut problems because of the strong painkillers they use, and those with ulcerative colitis. These patients are at risk of damage to their gut lining and the colostrum helps it to heal and reduces its permeability.”

As a final boost for athletes, colostrum also has antioxidant components, such as lactoferrin, which assists with iron absorption, bone density and has been shown to have anti-microbial characteristics and hemopexin, which scavenges the heme released or lost by the turnover of heme proteins such as hemoglobin and thus protects the body from the oxidative damage that free heme can cause. This is especially important for endurance athletes, who have high hemoglobin use and red blood cell turnover.

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Colostrum For Growth Hormone (And A Strict Warning!)

Finally colostrum also contains Insulin Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). Low IGF-1 levels are not only associated with dementia in the elderly, but people with eating disorders also have low levels of IGF-1 due to malnutrition, as do obese individuals.

The growth-promoting effects most people associate with growth hormone are actually caused by IGF-1, which has characteristics of both growth hormone and growth factor since it stimulates the growth, proliferation, and survival of cells such as gut tissue cells and muscle tissue cells. This is why both IGF-1 and growth hormone are often promoted for muscle building, anabolism, recovery and anti-aging.

IGF-1 also acts as a neurotrophic factor in the brain, which means that it contributes to neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells) and survival of existing neurons (known as a neuroprotective effect).

Now here’s the important part: overexpression of growth hormone by 100 to 1,000-fold in mice causes a 50% shorter lifespan, mainly due to kidney and liver dysfunction. In addition, since IGF-1 and growth hormone are “pro-growth”, excessive long-term use could eventually cause some pretty rapid cell division – which is also known as…cancer.

Author Tim Ferriss calls this a trade-off or a “faustian bargain” between longevity and performance, and you can learn more about it in this excellent WellnessFX article by Dr. Rhonda Patrick entitled “The IGF-1 Trade-Off: Performance vs. Longevity”.

So for the same reason I don’t guzzle a gallon milk a day, eat grass-fed steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or take massive doses of whey protein after a workout, I don’t “overuse” colostrum. I simply load with colostrum for 2 weeks prior to big workouts and races, take it when I know I’ve been exposed to the cold or flu, and then also take it (as 4 capsules in the morning and 4 capsules in the evening) during most of the winter (about November through February) when I know my immune system is more likely to become compromised.

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Summary

Of course, as I alluded to at the beginning of this post, if you’re going to use colostrum as an alternative to antibiotics, as a boost for your immune system, as a way to make your gut feel bulletproof during exercise, to enhance the effectiveness of probiotics, or as a method for increasing growth hormone and iron absorption, then I highly recommend that you use the most biocompatible form of colostrum you can get.

You guessed it: you should get your colostrum from goats.

Because of this, I’ve just put the finishing touches on designing NatureColostrum, which is human gut-friendly goat’s colostrum harvested from organic, pastured goats straight from Joe’s farm, just a few hours from my house. You can click here to grab it now.

This is literally the most biocompatible colostrum on the face of the planet, and is of course from grass-fed, free-range goats that graze on pesticide-free and chemical-free pasture 365 days a year. No pesticides, no antibiotics and no hormones are used. Ever.

Enjoy your discovery of this little known compound, and leave your questions, comments or feedback below!

How To Turn Your Desk Into A Calorie-Decimating Workstation.

best treadmill desk

Just two days ago, I spoke to a group of young executives in London.

And I told that despite the entire “sitting is the new smoking” movement, it’s still a bad idea to stand all day.

That’s right: it’s a bad idea to stand all day.

As a matter of fact, as I highlighted in my article “The 5 Sitting Mistakes That Fit People Make“, it’s a bad idea to be in any single position all day. When you sit all day long, you get low back pain; when you stand all day long you get foot, knee and hip pain; and when you sit on an exercise ball all day long, you get slouchy upper back and neck pain.

This is why I personally shift into a variety of positions throughout the entire workday, from standing at my standing desk, to lying on the floor on a yoga mat, to getting into a lunge position with either leg, to kneeling on a pillow…

…to walking at a slow pace, walking at a brisk pace, jogging, and now, running at an all-out sprint.

Yes, I am now interjecting brief spurts of all-out, metabolism-boosting sprints throughout my work day, without even stepping away from the office. This is because I’ve converted my entire desk into a calorie-decimating treadmill workstation, and in this article you’re going to discover exactly how I did it, which treadmill I’m using and which desk is best.

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The Two Problems With Most Treadmills

When I set about to modify my standing workstation into a treadmill desk, I ran into a two big problems, namely:

1. Treadmills Have Motors.

Treadmills with motors – the kind you’d normally need for running, and the kind typically used at treadmill workstations – are not only big and bulky, but produce enormous amounts of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and “dirty electricity”, which has been linked to brain fog, altered cellular metabolism, cancer risk, and much more.

In addition, a treadmill belt that runs on a motor allows you to walk and run while leaning slightly backwards and engaging in a full-on heel strike, which alters your running and walking gait, destroys your biomechanics and can actually turn you into a worse runner or a sloppy walker.

2. Manual Treadmills Are Too Slow For Running.

So a non-motorized treadmill (also known as a manual treadmill) is  a good solution compared to a motorized treadmill. But the problem is that most manual treadmills only reach a maximum speed of 3.5-4.0 miles per hour, and this means that you can never use a manual treadmill for running. Since I wanted to intersperse short fitness and metabolism boosting sprints into my walking workday, (e.g. stopping every hour to do a brief 2 minute sprint, or doing a bit of jogging in between consults and phone calls) this means I’d have to buy and find space for two separate treadmills – one for walking and one for running!

So over several months, I searched high and low for a treadmill that is A) a manual treadmill without a motor; B) compact enough to fit under my standing desk; and C) didn’t produce electrical pollution and D) could operate at both casual walking paces, light jogs and high running speeds.

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What Is The Best Treadmill For A Standing Desk?

The solution that I eventually found is something called a “TrueForm treadmill” made by Samsara Fitness. The unique looking TrueForm has several extremely unique characteristics that set it apart from any treadmill on the face of the planet, and is unlike any treadmill you’ve ever tried.

First, there is no motor and there are no buttons. The treadmill is entirely manual and is powered by you, which means that you are not only exposing yourself to zero electrical pollution and saving 100% on electrical costs, but also moving far more naturally due to the non-motorized belt design.

When you walk on a TrueForm treadmill, you burn more calories, get better balance (especially if you don’t use the rails) and build stronger leg and core muscles, since you’re doing the work instead of a treadmill motor. And the faster you move, the faster the treadmill goes, just like when you walk, jog or sprint outside.

But it gets even better, because the TrueForm treadmill is the first and only treadmill to actually teach you the skill of running. This is because the only way to really get the belt moving is to lean slightly forward, strike with your mid to front-forefoot, and maintain a high cadence, which means your body learns to run exactly like the most elite runners on the face of the planet run. This honestly took me a little bit of getting used to, because I’m used to being able to “lean back” and be lazy on a treadmill, and frankly, this treadmill instead forces you to move with pristine form.

Finally, the rails are removable. And although they are legally required to send you the treadmill with the rails attached, you can take them off for the ultimate balance-enhancing experience as you walk, jog and run.

So…let’s review:

-100% dirty-electricity free manual treadmill powered by your body…

-Small footprint for easy integration into an office or home work or gym setting…

-Automatically goes from a slow walking pace all the way up to an all-out sprint, with no buttons or adjustments…

-Teaches you how to walk and run with flawless biomechanics, using your own muscles and calories…

-Easy to use, with removable rails should you want to go “rail-free”…

Now in a moment I’ll show you the desk that I’m using with the Trueform treadmill, but first you need to know that the good folks at Samsara Fitness are offering all the BenGreenfieldFitness readers a 10% discount on this treadmill when you click here and use code BEN10.  

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Which Standing Desk Should You Use With A Treadmill?

For my standing desk, I chose to use something called a “Rebel Desk”, which is an adjustable-height desk is a desk that can be moved to different heights.

Like the treadmill (and unlike most other standing desks), the Rebel Desk uses a smoothly designed hand crank to move the desk up and down, once again removing the need for any desk-adjusting motor and any electrical pollution in your office. The desk moves up or down half an inch with each turn of the crank, and it takes about 10-15 seconds to move the desk from sitting to standing height (turning the actual crank is a simple motion that requires little effort, so unfortunately, no extra calorie burn there).

The desk includes for two organizer trays that attach to the side of the desk, and also a charging station that has USB ports and electrical outlets should you need extra places to plug things into your computer. I take care of any electrical surges in this area by plugging the charging station of my Rebel Desk into a Greenwave dirty electricity filter.

Ultimately, the Rebel Desk is a beautiful, functional desk that offer a perfect amount of height and space for a TrueForm treadmill, and allow you to sit, stand, walk or run whenever you’d like during the day. It also includes the option for a chair that adjust up and down with the desk, and I own the chair too, which I’ll use when I do actually sit, and also if I need something to lean against while I stand.

You can click here to get a RebelDesk to accompany your treadmill. The good folks at RebelDesk are giving all BenGreenfieldFitness readers a discount. You can use the code BEN to save $40 on the desk and code GREENFIELD to save $20 on the adjustable height chair that comes with the desk.

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More Resources

Of course, if you want to take a deep dive into making your office (and your entire home) as healthy as can be, I’ve got plenty more resources for you:

Click here to watch my video on 7 more ways to reduce electrical pollution and dirty electricity in your office.

Click here for my book on “How To Biohack A Healthy Home”.

Click here to get inside the Inner Circle, where I have a 30 minute video that walks you through exactly how I have this treadmill and desk set up inside my personal office.

Click here to get a TrueForm treadmill now and turn your ho-hum, sedentary desk (or your standing workstation) into a calorie-decimating machine. Use code BEN10 to save 10%!

Click here to get a stylish, hand-crank RebelDesk to accompany your treadmill, and use code BEN to save $40 on the desk and code GREENFIELD to save $20 on the adjustable height chair that comes with the desk.

Click here for a Whole House Protection Package, which includes a filter for your water line, a cartridge for your electrical panel, a cartridge to put next to your WiFi router, a cartridge for your vehicle, two wrist wraps for personal use, and a bed mat. Use code “friendofben” to save 15%.

Questions, comments or feedback on treadmill desks, standing workstations, or making your home and office the ultimate nourishing environment for your body? Leave your thoughts below.

Is Your Mattress Slowly Killing You?

natural organic mattress

I’ll confess: I’m a total sleep princess.

I am that guy who curls up for a good, solid 8-9 hours of sleep with my sleep mask, my lavender essential oil, my low blue lights and everything else I talk about in my article “The Last Resource You’ll Ever Need To Get Better Sleep, Eliminate Insomnia, Beat Jet Lag and Master The Nap“.

When you consider that you spend 7-9 hours per night sleeping, that’s over 2,500 hours per year that you spend on a bed. Your physical, mental and emotional performance is all directly correlated to the quality of that time spent in that bed…

…and a big, big part of that quality is the surface you’re sleeping on: your mattress.

Unfortunately, your mattress could not only be acting as a cancer-causing radiation antenna, but can also be chock full of chemicals that disrupt your hormones, can cause insomnia, can destroy your muscles and joints, and can leave you waking up robbed of true, quality, deep sleep. So in this article, you’re going to learn how your mattress may slowly be killing you, what you can do about it, and the exact style of mattress I personally sleep on.

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Coil-Spring Mattresses and EMF

OK, OK – I do indeed realize that just a moment ago, you may have snickered at my “cancer causing antenna” line. But this article from Scientific American actually explains this phenomenon of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and coil-spring mattresses quite well:

“As we sleep on our coil-spring mattresses, we are in effect sleeping on an antenna that amplifies the intensity of the broadcast FM/TV radiation. Asleep on these antennas, our bodies are exposed to the amplified electromagnetic radiation for a third of our life spans. As we slumber on a metal coil-spring mattress, a wave of electromagnetic radiation envelops our bodies so that the maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress in the middle of our bodies. When sleeping on the right side, the body’s left side will thereby be exposed to field strength about twice as strong as what the right side absorbs.

In other words, metal spring mattresses and box springs may act as giant in-home EMF antennas – not an appealing thought. But just in case you need more proof, check out this video that shows how a mattress interacts with the earth’s magnetic field:

Not only that, but since it’s a damp, dark area, the spring system in your mattress acts as an incubator for dust mites, mold and mildew. This is why spring mattresses double their weight after 10 years –  all that dead skin, dust mite, feces particles and dust has to accumulate somewhere, and the springs are the place to do it.Now I’m not suggesting that you go outside and sleep on the dirt, but if you have a choice between a metal coil-spring mattress and plain ol’ dirt, the latter would be the way to go.

Fortunately, there are mattress that are not made with coil-springs, and instead use natural padding. More on that later.

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Dangerous Chemicals In Your Mattress

As of July 1, 2007, all U.S. mattresses were required to be highly flame retardant, to the extent that they won’t catch on fire if exposed to a blow torch. But this meant that the manufacturers had to begin dousing all their mattresses with highly toxic flame-retardant chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether, also known as PBDE.

PBDE, which has been banned in Canada, Europe and several states, accumulates in your body over time, and any of it that you absorb or inhale does not go away, and can instead cause issues such as brain and reproductive damage, decreased sperm quality, thyroid problems and even cancer. Not surprisingly, PBDE-based chemicals are now showing up in breast milk, blood tests and even umbilical-cord blood and livers of fetuses.

But it doesn’t stop with PBDE.

Other flame-retardant chemicals currently approved for use in mattresses include:

-Boric acid, a toxic respiratory irritant often used to kill cockroaches

-Antimony, a metal that can be more toxic than mercury (a person sleeping on a chemically treated mattress will absorb .8 mg of antimony every night, an amount that is 27 times more than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is safe!)

-Formaldehyde, a potential carcinogenic

Dr. Doris Rapp, a board-certified environmental medical specialist and pediatric allergist with an excellent website devoted to making your home a healthier place to live, sums it up this way:

“They have maybe a cup and a half or two cups of this material on the mattress. They sprinkle it over the top or they put it into some kind of a coating on the mattress. And this can make people very, very ill.”

Just think about it.

You spend multiple hours every night with your face in close proximity to your mattress, breathing in these chemicals. And if your children are anything like mine, they love to jump on your bed, and when that happens, or any other time you bounce on your mattress (heh, I can think of a time when that happens, baby), even more of these toxins can be released into your bedroom environment.

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How Your Mattress Destroys Your Body And Performance

It may seem obvious, but it’s extremely important to properly support your spinal column during sleep, and just like there are proper biomechanics for working on your computer or deadlifting, there are proper biomechanics you must consider while sleeping.

The human body carries more weight in the hip and torso area, so this part of the body must be gently “pushed up” into alignment as you sleep. If your sleep surface doesn’t do this, it can become a major contributor to low back problems and poor movement patterns during the day while you’re awake. So yes, this means poor alignment while you sleep can make you a crappy mover during your lunchtime run.

Unfortunately, the modern mattress has moved away from the mechanics of proper alignment support. The mattress your grandparents might have slept on was probably made of steel springs (which can push the hips up into alignment) and some cotton batting for cushioning of the hips and shoulders. These mattresses supported the body well and typically lasted a good 25 years.

But eventually, mattresses began to evolve. Beginning with the waterbed, and then moving on to the use of synthetic foams as a replacement for cotton (most of these poorly made synthetic foam mattresses lose their support in just a few short years) and in some cases elimination of a spring set altogether (good for EMF, bad for your body), there is nothing in most of these newfangled, modern mattresses to push your hips up into alignment to be level with your shoulders, so your hips “sag” and create tension on your low back as you sleep.

And that’s not all – improper sleep biomechanics from most fancy foam mattresses, most water beds, and most modern spring mattresses affect pressure distribution during sleep, which is a huge issue too.

sleeping-pills-god-or-bad1Here’s why…

…as you sleep, your body has a built-in defense mechanism to automatically move when pressure reaches a point where it cuts off the circulation you need. This is exactly why you toss and turn. Moving as you sleep relieves the pressure that can build up fro a bad mattress or a poor sleeping position to do things like prevent injuries, dead nerves and ulcers forming.

Unfortunately, when you toss and turn, you can instantly rip yourself out of deep sleep phases such as Stage 3 or Stage 4 sleep and shift into Stage 1 or 2 sleep (read more about sleep stages here). So this movement during sleep is more than simply a biomechanics or a comfort issue – it is literally fragmenting your sleep, lowering your sleep efficiency and robbing you of your ability to achieve the amount of sleep time necessary for nervous system repair, memory consolidation and immune system regeneration.

Unfortunately, even many of today’s nicer, more expensive mattresses use synthetic foams start off very supportive, but then degrade rapidly with use. So a mattress that supports and comforts you properly for a couple of years can quickly become a major contributor to poor sleep, improper back support, poor physical performance and daily pain.

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3 Things To Look For In Your Mattress

So lets summarize what we’ve learned so far: we now know that if you’re serious about nervous system and muscle repair, regulation of appetite hormones, deep sleep, and ideal physical and mental performance, then you need to look for three things on the sleeping surface that you’re going to spend up to a third of your life on:

1) No crap-storing, EMF-producing springs, but the same biomechanical support as those old, steel-spring mattresses;

2) Organic, non-toxic materials that don’t build up chemicals in you and your family’s body;

3) The ability to last more than just a small handful of years before you have to throw it out and buy a new one;

In other words, you need an organic, non-spring mattresses that has a a bulletproof durable foam.

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What’s An Organic Mattress?

Yes, I said organic. Not that you’re going to eat your mattress, but you still get some pretty massive health points if you own an organic mattress. So what exactly is an organic mattress?

It gets a bit complicated, so stick with me here.

organic-fabric-industryWhen it comes to mattresses, if you see the word “organic”, it always means certified organic, which indicates the mattress has been certified by a third party. If a mattress company is going to call their mattress organic, it must be certified by an some kind of a third party organization which certifies products to be organic. An agency called “Control Union” is the only company that actually certifies latex – the main component of foam in most modern mattresses – as organic under the Global Organic Latex Standards (or GOLS for short).

In contrast, terms such as “eco-friendly”, “environmentally friendly”, and “natural” are just nice-sounding claims, but don’t mean a mattress is actually organic.

Now here’s something important to understand: 100% organic mattresses simply do not exist. In reality, any mattress company claiming to have organic mattresses actually contains a mix of both organic materials and other natural components in their mattresses. However, a certified organic mattress does indeed actually mean that at least 95% of the latex used in that mattress is made from certified organic components. But most latex mattresses on the market are simply not organic because they’re A) not certified organic and B) they don’t meet those 95% standards.

For example, natural latex foam is a component you’ll typically find in many “healthy” mattresses. But given the cost, most companies include very little of the certified organic latex. For example, just 1 inch of the total 8 inches of a most natural latex mattresses is actually GOLS certified organic latex. That’s a pretty small fraction – kind of like having an organic apple orchard, with just 1/8 of the trees actually being truly organic.

In addition to organic latex, organic cotton is also found in most organic mattresses. That means the cotton has been grown without synthetic chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides and is not genetically modified in any way. Unbleached organic cotton is even better than plain old organic cotton, since this ensures no harsh bleaches have been used on the cotton.

Finally, organic wool is another component you’ll find in most organic mattresses. That’s not necessarily a good thing though. There are both pros and cons to organic wool use.

-Pros – Wool is great at wicking away moisture and helping to you keep cool, since it contains a natural wax called lanolin, which is the greasy yellow wax produced by sheep which keeps their hairs dry and soft through harsh weather.

-Cons – Wool is an animal fiber, and that means a high-maintenance mattress. Wool, like any animal fiber, needs to be washed at least once a year. Many people are also allergic to wool, and you may also be amazed to find out what sheep goes through to actually get enough wool for a mattress. However, finding an organic mattress that doesn’t contain wool is difficult.

In most cases, the cons out weight the pros when it comes to wool on your mattress.

So ultimately, most organic mattresses are made from non-organic latex foam as a support layer, and then topped with organic wool to soften the mattress up, and finally wrapped in organic cotton. For the reasons you’ve just learned, all this organic mumbo-jumbo does not necessarily mean an organic mattress is a safe, non-toxic mattress to sleep on, and you still have to be a little inquisitive when shopping for an organic mattress.

For example:

-Always ask if each component is as close to 100% natural as possible (remember: 100% natural doesn’t really exist);

-Always ask whoever is selling you the mattress to explain each and every layer, especially if it’s an organic toddler or organic crib mattress for your kid;

-Always ask what binds these layers together – specifically with regards to what type of glue or binding agent was used. You’d be surprised at the chemicals that can wind up in that too.

If your friendly mattress sales-person stumbles when answering any of these questions or cannot back up their claims with supporting documents, then run away fast.

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The Problem With Organic Mattresses

Unfortunately, even if you do find a true certified organic mattress that doesn’t have wool, glue chemicals, or synthetic latex, organic mattresses are still not known for their comfort. They’re generally extremely firm and hard, and can leave you feeling like you slept on a slab of concrete all night. Waking up feeling like you slept on hard ground may feel ancestral, but if you do somehow manage to fall asleep, it can also leave you with significant joint pain the rest of the day, not to mention waking up frequently during the night with numb hands or legs, or simply tossing and turning like a zombie with insomnia.

Enter memory foam.

classic-8-imageDuring the 1970’s, memory foam material was developed for NASA to provide relief for astronauts undergoing gravity forces. Memory foam is a soft and heat sensitive material made from polyurethane – with some additives to increase its density. Memory foam regains (or “remember”) its normal shape when pressure is no longer applied. Today, it is the most popular segment in the mattress industry.

Memory foam mattresses are made of higher-density foams. This type of foam is more expensive, but provides excellent body support. Memory foam mattresses have the ability to form to your body, and this significantly reduces pressure points, improves blood circulation and provides an overall superior sleep.

Memory foam is sensitive to body temperature and molds itself to support all your body contours, it redistributes your body weight evenly and provides support to your neck, back, shoulders, knees and legs, and it improves circulation and reduces spinal pressure.

But just like all organic mattresses are not created equal, all memory foam mattresses are also not created equal.

Here are a few important things you need to know before buying a memory foam mattress:

-Many mattress companies boast a 5 pound memory foam but fail to specify that this dense foam only makes up the 1st inch of the mattress. The following layers are weak 2 or 3 pound density memory foams.

-mmHg is the unit of measurement used in determining a mattresses reaction against pressure. Blood circulation becomes an issue at roughly 30mmHg or more. According to the healthcare industry, a standard of 32mmHg or lower is considered pressure relieving. More pressure relief means less press points, which means less tossing and turning during the night. A low mmHg means better blood circulation, but this can be difficult or expensive for a mattress company to achieve.

-Many mattress companies inaccurately claim that their products are Made in Canada or Made in USA. But in reality, to cut costs, mattress components are actually imported from foreign countries and then assembled in Canada or the USA. However, tests are rarely performed on the imported mattress components, and there is absolutely no way of knowing which chemicals are used in the mattress composition. Any harsh chemical odors are masked prior to product exportation with industrial perfumes (or even green tea extracts – crazy, eh?)

-Most memory foam is a synthetic material, and traps in body heat similar to the way nylon and polyester fabrics do. Sleeping hot or heat discomfort, as well as chemical odors are the main complaints among memory foam mattress owners. This is all due to the chemical composition of synthetic memory foam. Regular memory foam, also known as visco-elastic memory foam or visco foam, is made with petroleum based chemicals.

So if you’re going to go for a memory foam mattress, which I highly recommend, you want a memory foam with a good density through all layers of the mattress, a low mmHG, no imported ingredients and all-natural compounds.

Let’s sum things up again. At this point, we know that you want a mattress with:

1) No springs, but the same support as those old, steel-spring mattresses;

2) Organic, non-toxic materials that don’t build up chemicals in you and your family’s body;

3) The ability to last more than just a small handful of years;

4) Certified organic latex, and organic cotton, but preferably not wool;

5) Natural memory foam – not synthetic memory foam.

Satisfy those five criteria, and you’re guaranteed to sleep in comfort forever.

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The Best Natural, Organic Mattress

OK, so now we get to the moment of truth: is there actually a durable, certified organic non-toxic mattress with no springs, no wool, organic cotton and natural memory foam?

Indeed, there is.

It’s made by a company called “Essentia“, and I’m happy to say that I now own one.

And yes, in case you were wondering, it really is like sleeping on a soft, pillowy cloud of comfort. It is about as close as one can get to a nightly nirvana.

Essentia was founded by owner Jack Dell’Accio when a family member was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, his doctor made him aware of the amount of harmful toxins in household items, including mattresses. Jack, who came from no scientific background, invested nearly five years of his own time and money researching the mattress industry, and realizing the same thing you now know: mattresses are manufactured with poor quality components, filled with chemically derived foams treated with harsh chemicals and layered together with glue.

Over those years, Jack discovered a way to create a mattress that was toxin-free and healthy so that others wouldn’t have to suffer from health issues like his relative did. His determination finally led him to create, patent and invent a mattress that is handmade in Canada with the world’s only all-natural memory foam, composed of natural latex, plant extracts, essential oils and water.

In other words, Jack figured out how to manufacture the greenest, healthiest and most comfortable night’s sleep you’ll ever have.

And the ingredients used in this no-spring, no-wool mattress are unlike any you’ve ever seen, including:

heveaHevea Milk – the milky white “sap” of the rubber tree, collected much like maple tree sap. This milk is processed to make the Essentia natural memory foam, which is known for its durability, support qualities and purity…

Organic Essential Oils – a natural and healthy alternative to man-made oils or petroleum commonly used in other mattresses. Grapefruit seed, cone flower essence and jasmine essence all help achieve proper consistency in the Essentia natural memory foam while providing soothing and rejuvenating properties to your body…

Natural Plant Extracts – as a substitution to harsh toxic chemicals used in conventional memory foam, plant extracts such as hydrolyzed corn help Essentia achieve the proper consistency for their natural memory foam…

Certified Organic Cotton –
Every Essentia mattress is wrapped in 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified unbleached organic cotton, grown without any chemicals, synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Rather than using toxic glue, they use a non-toxic adhesive made from liquid latex and acrylic resin to hold their natural memory foam layers together.

Of course, Essentia also has 5 pound density memory foam throughout, an extremely low mmHG (scroll up and read again if you need a reminder about why that’s so important for your body and your recovery) and a 20-year warranty on the most durable memory foam on the face of the planet. So basically, you not just get the best sleep ever on an Essentia mattress, but you could probably even eat an Essentia mattress.

These mattresses are also held to the strictest of strict standards. As a matter of fact, here’s an extensive list of all the rigorous tests and certifications the Essentia mattresses go through.

The end result is a completely guilt-free, hypo-allergenic, non-toxic sleeping experience unlike any you’ll ever experience. You’ll roll out of bed feeling ready to conquer the world, with zero pressure points or tossing and turning during the night. Not only that, but Essentia is giving anyone who has made it this far in my giant mattress article a 10% discount on a mattress, which is going to save you a boatload. Keep reading and I’ll tell you how.

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How To Get An Essentia Mattress Shipped To You

CH+D2Shipping mattresses around the world is no small feat.

But with a little help from UPS, FedEx and Essentia’s special “Roll Pack Machine”, it all becomes possible.

See, it takes special machinery to compress, roll and pack some of the heaviest mattresses in the world.

The mattress industry had never compressed a product as dense as the Essentia mattress. However, upgrading compressors, motors and and a gentle re-tool of a custom Italian-made Roll-Pack Machine by Essentia made it possible. What does this kind of roll packing mean for the environment? It means the mattress takes 75% less space in a truck, and uses 75% less packaging. The Essentia boxes are made from 80% post consumer recycled paper as well.

So thanks to this, almost all Essentia products are delivered via UPS or FedEx.

You just visit the Essentia website, choose your mattress size and your mattress is made and shipped right to your door, along with a 20-year warranty, and a 60-Day money back guarantee.

And as I promised, you get 10% off any mattress, period. Just use code “BEN10″ at MyEssentia.com. That’s it. Enjoy – and in case you want the same mattress I’m now using, I personally got a King Sized Dormeuse Mattress.

Essentia-Natural-Memory-Foam-Mattresses-2

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I hope this has really helped you learn why our mattress may be killing you, and what you can do about. It’s certainly something to think about as you hit the sack tonight, and decide what kind of sleep you want to get for the rest of your life, and whether you want to experience what a truly powerful night of sleep really feels like.

From Dr. Oz (who recently named Essentia as his #1 product) to Rachael Ray to Anderson Live to Huffiington Post and professional athletes around the world (check out the shocking amount of press Essentia has gotten lately), these mattresses are a clear winner in the natural, organic mattress company. So if you’re tired of sleeping on a mattress plagued with toxic glues, chemicals, dust-mites, allergens, bed bugs and a horribly unsupportive sleep surface, then visit the Essentia website, use you 10% discount code BEN10, invest in your sleep, your nervous system, your recovery and your performance, and leave any of your questions or comments below!

P.S. After writing this, I learned that Delos – a company pioneering Wellness Real Estate  -recently introduced the Stay Well standard and Stay Well hotel rooms at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. They were on the hunt for a mattress to introduce with the program and did their own testing of many different mattress brands, Essentia included. Most of the testing was done by The Cleveland Clinic as well as The Mayo Clinic and Columbia University Medical Center. Essentia is the only mattress that qualified for the Well Standard and is already being featured in the Stay Well certified rooms at the MGM. But I’d rather have one in my bedroom than go all the way to the MGM.

P.P.S. If you really want performance luxury, Essentia also has an option called “ProCor”, in which they customize your mattress to your individual spinal deviations, muscular tensions and weight distribution. It’s literally next level, customized sleep experience with personalized posture support designed to get you into slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) faster and keep you there longer.  Not cheap. But very cool. You have to e-mail them for this option, but your discount code BEN10 will still work.

How To Reverse Aging With Bone Broth, Race An Ironman With Bone Broth And The Best Bone Broth Recipes.

what is bone broth

“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” says a South American proverb.

I don’t know about that, but I still drink bone broth every week for healthy skin, hair, nails, a strong gut lining, good joints, and even a bit of a liver detox.

Whether you’re injured, need to heal your gut fast, build muscle, need more natural sources of minerals and electrolytes in your diet, or simply want to drink, sip and cook with some the most nourishing liquid food on the face of the planet, bone broth really is the ultimate solution, and in today’s podcast, I interview bone broth expert and chef Lance Roth.

Creator of TheBrothery, bone broth and Executive Chef Lance Roll puts his 20-year diverse culinary career and education as a health and nutrition professional into each special batch of bone broth to create the healthiest broth on the face of the planet.

Lance actually freezes his broth and ships it around the continental US too, making for the ultimate, easy done-for-you bone broth experience, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to make your own bone broth.

In this podcast, you’ll discover:

-How bone broth can enhance liver detox pathways…

-How to make the best kind of broth, including a few of Lance’s secret ingredients…

-The important difference between broth and stock…

-Is it safe for you to ship bone broth around the country without it going bad…

-What are the tastiest things you can do with bone broth once you get it…

-How to use bone broth during an Ironman triathlon…

Each batch of flavorful, nourishing, bone-growing, muscle-building and body and gut-healing organic bone broth from The Brothery is made in small batches using locally-grown, organic produce and free-range, humanely-raised meats and poultry – so you get no harmful hormones or toxins in your nourishing broth. Click here to grab some now (you get a 5% discount on your order with code ben5!)

Leave your questions, comments and feedback about bone broth below, and feel free to share any good bone broth recipes you may have!

HRV: The Single, Next Big Trend In Biohacking And Self-Quantification And How To Use It.

healthpatch

I’m really not a big self-quantification nerd.

I don’t like to be plugged into stuff all day long. It just makes me feel like a giant robot (and being constantly plugged into things like bluetooth devices just gives me the tin-foil hat wearing heebie-jeebies).

But I do religiously take one simple measurement every single morning: heart rate variability.

And the method that I use to measure heart rate variability is, in my opinion, the singe, next big trend in biohacking and self-quantification. It’s called SweetBeatLife, and all you need to use it is the SweetBeatLife phone app.

In today’s audio interview, I speak with Ronda Collier, who has more than 25 years of experience in high technology product development with a proven track record of delivering leading edge consumer electronic products. The previous two heart rate variability podcasts with Ronda (that I’d recommend you listen to before you listen to today’s podcast if you don’t know much about heart rate variability) are below:

Everything You Need To Know About Heart Rate Variability Testing

The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Using Heart Rate Variability Testing to Track Your Stress and Nervous System Health

By analyzing HRV and Stress along with additional data, SweetBeatLife provides a deep dive into health and provides insight into what activities you engage in that effect the health metrics you care about. This is important because the next big trend in bio-hacking is understanding the relationships between different metrics like your weight, your blood pressure, your blood glucose, the number of steps you take and your actual internal health and nervous system. SweetBeatLife integrates and correlates data from popular fitness platforms like MapMyFitness, Fitbit and Withings and integrates seamlessly with the extensive biometrics from the new HealthPatch sensor (which we talk about in the podcast).

The SweetBeatLife features that we discuss in the podcast include:

Options for Sessions

Monitor/Relax: The Monitor screen allows users to choose which feature they would like to use (Stress Monitoring, HRV for Training, Heart Rate Recovery). After starting a session, the user’s metrics will fill this screen: heart rate, HRV, stress level, current mood.


EKG

EKG (RRs): The EKG-like heart beat trace is the first window on the Monitor screen. By flipping this window around, the user can see several other real-time features.


Geek Screen

NEW Stats: The stats screen, more widely referred to as the “geek” screen, shows all the metrics used in the algorithm calculations and then some! If using the HealthPatch, the user will get to monitor their respiration, energy, skin temperature, steps and activity.


RR IntervalsOther Metrics

NEW Graph: The graph screen shows a real-time building graph of your heart rate from RR Intervals. Turning the phone 90 degrees counter-clockwise will bring up the graph in landscape. Unselecting RR in the top right corner will allow the user to see all of the other metrics in real-time.


HealthPatch

NEW HealthPatch: The HealthPatch by VitalConnect, uses SweetBeatLife’s software to record the following data in real-time: heart rate, respiration, calories out, skin temperature, steps and activity. This is the future of noninvasive monitoring.


Correlation

NEW Correlation: The correlation screen uses a patent pending algorithm to correlate all of the Fitbit data the user has shared with SweetBeatLife. This data will come from the app itself, the HealthPatch and any other apps the user has authorized (Fitbit, Withings, and/or MapMyFitness). Settings allow the user to view demos or analyze the correlations between their own data. The user chooses which metric they want to correlate to the others (HRV, stress, or weight). They can choose to see all of their data or put in specific date ranges. By doing this, the user can see their current, max, and min metric compared to their other data. Touching the bubbles flips them for more data.


HRV for Training: In competitive sports, improved performance is achieved by alternating periods of intensive training with periods of relative rest. SweetBeatLife uses patent pending algorithms to create a personalized reference line for the user based on 3-minute daily HRV readings. Using the reference line, the app recommends the user “train as usual”, have a “low exertion day”, or take a “rest day”.


Food Sensitivity

Food Sensitivity Test: To use the food sensitivity test, a user must first take a morning reading of the pulse to establish a baseline for the day. Before eating a meal, the user records the foods comprising the next meal and performs a pulse test. After the user is finished eating, the app will prompt users to record their heart rates every 30 minutes until 90 minutes have passed. Once testing is complete, the meal will either pass or fail for food sensitivity. The Food Sensitivity test methodology developed by immunologist Dr. Arthur F. Coca can be found on the web.


HistoryHistory Sessions

History: Accessing saved sessions is easier than ever. The history is split into three sections: charts, sessions, and food. Now users can separate their food sensitivity tests from the rest of their sessions. By selecting a saved session, the user can view their metrics in a graph, upload to MySweetbeat, Facebook or Twitter, and new capabilities now allow users to send their RR intervals in a CSV file to any email address. .


Grab the SweetBeatLife phone app by clicking here, visit the SweetBeatLife website here, and leave any questions, comments or feedback below! Either Ronda or I will answer and point you in the right direction.

Fairies, Unicorns and Paleo Cookies.

unicorn

I’ll keep this quick. I figured you fitness and nutrition nerds may want some extra listening and learning material to fuel your rabid thirst for knowledge.

This week, while driving, working out, cleaning my garage and doing yoga, I’ve listened to:

-Dr. Daniel Stickler show how to defy aging by optimizing the length of your telomeres via natural methods…

-Jacob Egbert talk about why your doctor actually knows very little about true health…

-Marjory Wildcraft  explaining how to grow half of your diet in your backyard in less than an hour a day… 

-Christopher Ryan present on something called “Paleosexuality” (that was interesting)…

-Steven Wright giving the shocking truth about why people really get constipated…

-Eva Twardokens tell why being a good exerciser kind of sucks, and how to pull yourself out of an exercise addiction…

-And a really interesting presentation on fairies, unicorns and Paleo cookies…

Anyways, I downloaded all these from the PaleoFX 2014 page.

You can click here to go to the PaleoFX Video On-Demand page, which allows you to pick and choose which videos you want to watch, or just rent them all for 19.99. I actually use a video-to-audio converter like this to convert the videos into audios so I can listen while I’m working out and driving. I’d recommend you start with the presentations listed above, which I thought were especially good.

So just in case you want to make yourself smarter and get some killer health, longevity, nutrition and fitness content, this is well worth it (all my presentations on workout nutrition, stress and biohacking are there too). Enjoy (and see below for a snippet of the workout nutrition panel with yours truly).

Get Six Free and 99 Cent Endurance Training Books from Ben Greenfield!

Great news! I’ve decided to offer SIX books from me and other Endurance Planet authors for .99 cents or free, for the next 6 weeks only.

So what’s Endurance Planet?

Hosted by coach and fitness guru Tawnee Prazak, Endurance Planet is one of the top outdoor sports podcasts in iTunes, and features interviews with coaches and athletes in the world of ultra running, marathoning, cycling, swimming, triathlon, adventure racing, and mountaineering.

Endurance Planet has been producing 3-5 podcasts a week since 2006 (meaning there’s an enormous amount of awesome training, racing and coaching advice in the archives), and in 2011, I personally took over as owner of Endurance Planet. At that point, we began publishing books too.

Each of those books is now available to you as a free or 99 cent download for the next six weeks only. Consider it a perk for being a reader of my content, and if you feel giant-hearted, please leave a glowing review after you get a chance to check each book out.

Alright, ready? Just add these dates to your calendar and go download away! Here are the details for each book (and as a bonus, every book below includes a free video and a 10-30 minute audio overview read by each author).

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Week 1) 1/27 thru 1/31 FREE book: Endurance Sports for Kids: A Guide To Getting Your Kids Into Triathlon, Cycling, Swimming And More!

KIDS

The miracle of a quiet, under-confident kid that discovers his/her inner strength through accomplishments in sports, and their stories are both moving and inspirational.

There is something about finishing a race and giving it your all that lifts you up for a lifetime.

There is something unique and family-like about being part of a team. And there is something about all kids having more adults who care about them.

But it must be done right. Kids need to be introduced to sports with immense care and proper instruction. Parents or coaches who do this wrong will ensure that the kid-athletes will burn out and leave their sports during adolescence or earlier, perhaps never to return. But done right everyone will enjoy becoming healthier and grow from the experience.

Inside, you will discover:

-Why endurance sports for kids are important
-Ways to lead kids into endurance sports safely and patiently
-How endurance sports form lifelong active habits
-How they give kids a sense of identity
-How endurance sports for kids can strengthen families

This book is a free Amazon Kindle download from 12am 1/27 through 11:59pm 1/31. Grab it now or use this link to grab it later, and please leave a review: http://amzn.to/1dTuNYs.

Outside of the USA
-UK:  http://amzn.to/1iECAv7
-Japan:  http://amzn.to/1hGDqEd
-Canada:  http://amzn.to/1d5lE96
-Australia: http://bit.ly/1jZ0Ndr
-Spain:  http://amzn.to/1e4PMrc
-Italy:  http://amzn.to/L6FqKt

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Week 2) 2/3 thru 2/9 $0.99 book: Endurance Training Nutrition: Top 20 Fueling Myths Exposed

endurancenutritionAre you tired of the same old sports nutrition advice not working for you? Do you feel crappy during your long workouts? Are you confused about what to grab from the grocery store shelf?

Then keep reading because Ironman triathlete and sports nutrition coach Ben Greenfield exposes 20 of the most common sports nutrition and exercise fueling myths for you in his information packed book, “Endurance Training Nutrition: Top 20 Fueling Myths Exposed”.

You’ll discover why these myths are wrong, and what you can do about it to balance your gut, maximize your health, your energy and your performance. All your frustrations about what to eat before, during and after your workout are about to be solved!

You’ll learn the shocking truth about popularly held sports nutrition beliefs, including:

-How everything you know about pre-workout nutrition is probably not true…
-How everything you know about pre-workout nutrition is probably not true…
-Why you don’t need to eat within 20-60 minutes after a workout like everybody tells you…
-How the “Glycemic Index” is a fairly useless tool for measuring carbohydrate values….
-Why whole wheat is not as healthy as you may think…
-How not drinking enough water can still lead to water intoxication…
-Why health foods and energy bars are actually making you slower…
-Why “eating too much” is rarely the cause of gas and bloating during your workout…

-And much much more!

After reading this book, whether you’re a recreational exerciser or an advanced athlete, you’ll change the way you think about fueling your body.  Suddenly, your pre and post-workout eating will become an easy decision, and you’ll no longer need to fret about what you’re going to eat to fuel your long workout.

This book is guaranteed to re-invent the way you fuel your body and answer all your workout and sports nutrition questions!

This book is a $0.99 Amazon Kindle download from 12am 2/3 through 11:59pm 2/9. Grab it now or use this link to grab it later, and please leave a reviewhttp://amzn.to/M1wcRi.

Outside the USA
-Canada:  http://amzn.to/1eBaLx0
-UK:  http://amzn.to/1fCzyEK
-Japan:  http://amzn.to/LfPxwF
-Australia:  http://bit.ly/1fBx9IC
-France:    http://amzn.to/1cALVR1
-Italy:   http://amzn.to/1hTXDqj
-Spain:  http://amzn.to/Mm6mHl
-Germany:  http://amzn.to/1fg5ix5
-Brazil:  http://bit.ly/1if28wl
-Mexico:  http://bit.ly/1fmRnXB
-India:  http://bit.ly/1if2tiB

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Week 3) 2/10 thru 2/16 $0.99 book: The Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes 

lowcarbIf you are an athlete attempting to lose weight, teach your body how to more efficiently burn fat, limit blood sugar fluctuations, eliminate bloating and gas, then a low carbohydrate diet is an excellent choice for you.

Unfortunately, most low carbohydrate diets do not take into consideration the high activity levels of endurance athletes, and increase risk of extremely low energy and immune system deficits due to inadequate energy intake.

Here are just a few of the weight loss and performance enhancing gems you will discover inside:

-Why utilization of fat for energy cannot happen if the body is constantly drawing on carbohydrate reserves and blood glucose for energy.
-How the burning of fat for energy does not create this same cellular damage as when glucose is used to create energy.
-Why you don’t need to load with carbohydrate before a race.
-Who should not choose a low carbohydrate diet.

The “Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes”, by Ben Greenfield, is the first book to address the practical steps involved with implementing a low carbohydrate diet and still succeeding in endurance sports.

This book is a $0.99 Amazon Kindle download from 12am 2/10 through 11:59pm 2/16. Grab it now or use this link to grab it later, and please leave a reviewhttp://amzn.to/1dZNZlG.

Outside the USA
-Canada:  http://amzn.to/1bE6Yy1
-UK:   http://amzn.to/1dbUSvW
-Japan:  http://amzn.to/1fg8bOx
-Australia:  http://bit.ly/Mm7AlP
-France:  http://amzn.to/LuoDlE
-Italy:  http://amzn.to/MBITT5
-Spain:  http://amzn.to/1gvmBzr
-Germany:  http://amzn.to/1fBDpA4
-Brazil:  http://bit.ly/MBJvbh
-Mexico:   http://bit.ly/1hU7mga
-India:   http://bit.ly/1fBDJ1M

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Week 4) 2/17 thru 2/23 $0.99 book: Endurance Planet’s Guide to Elevation: Practical Tips For Living, Eating And Training At Altitude

elevationAltitude training and racing information can be confusing. There are scores of supplements, gear, and training strategies that so-called “experts” recommend to keep you from biological disaster at altitude. We turned to a seasoned endurance athlete who actually lives, eats and trains at high altitude every day to sort this out for you.

Here are just a few of the performance proven gems you will discover inside:

-Mountain High Experience – exactly what happens to your body when you get into elevated conditions…
-Going To Altitude – the system and steps necessary to prepare your body for training or racing at elevation…
-Fueling and Hydration – how drinking water and eating changes at altitude, and what you can do about it…
-High Altitude Training – how to handle your high altitude training sessions, and what to do if you can’t get there to train…
-Racing In Thin Air – how to race and properly pace in thin air, along with swimming tips, cycling tips and running tips…
-Going From High Altitude to Sea Level – what to expect when you reverse the scenario and go from high to low to train or
race…

The Guide to Elevation is guaranteed to give you the confident edge you need for top performance at altitude!  Everything you need to optimize your performance and overall workout capacity is revealed in this easy to follow book. You  will now be able to successfully avoid discomfort and susceptibility to injury that are synonymous with altitude training and  racing.

This book is a $0.99 Amazon Kindle download from 12am 2/17 through 11:59pm 2/23. Grab it now or use this link to grab it later, and please leave a reviewhttp://amzn.to/1aQxXWV.

Outside the USA
Canada:  http://amzn.to/1bbdWxy
-UK:  http://amzn.to/1ebOzP8
-Japan:  http://amzn.to/1kgpSkc
-Australia:   http://bit.ly/1fgaeSD
-France:  http://amzn.to/1fn35RX
-Italy:    http://amzn.to/1a4ZXex
-Spain:   http://amzn.to/1if7APM
-Germany:  http://amzn.to/1fn3CDE
-Brazil:  http://bit.ly/1n20nmd
-Mexico:  http://bit.ly/1cAUdIK
-India:   http://bit.ly/1loKzPc

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Week 5) 2/24 thru 3/2 $0.99 book: Real Food Basics: Endurance Planet’s Recipes For Long Workouts

realfoodDo you ever wish you didn’t have to eat gels, bars and sports drinks during all those long training sessions, but you don’t quite know what actually works?

Then get ready for “Real Food Basics: Endurance Planet’s Recipes For Your Long Workouts”. This book jam-packed with amazing recipes to fuel your long workouts. All made from real food that is actually healthy for you and won’t destroy your body, your gut or your teeth while you’re out on those long hikes, bike rides, runs and other endurance training sessions!

Through fabulous recipes, anecdotes and practical instruction, you’ll learn:

-The logistics of carrying and eating real food on training sessions…
-Mouth-watering pre-workout breakfast dishes…
-Portable real food recipes to fuel your long workouts…
-Nourishing and nutrient-packed soups and appetizers…
-Tempting side dishes & sauces to dress up your post-workout meals…
-Main dishes that will top off your energy stores for the next workout…
-And everything else you need to ensure you don’t have to damage your body with the typical fake, engineered and funny tasting fuel!

When you make the switch to real foods to fuel your body you will find increased energy and stamina are in abundance and your recovery times are much shorter.

This book is a “must have” for every serious endurance athlete’s quest for optimal performance.

This book is a $0.99 Amazon Kindle download from 12am 2/24 through 11:59pm 3/2. Grab it now or use this link to grab it later, and please leave a reviewhttp://amzn.to/1g6S6zD.

Outside the USA
Canada:  http://amzn.to/1hUddlL
-UK:  http://amzn.to/1gvqrbQ
-Japan:   http://amzn.to/1fBGXCo
-Australia:   http://bit.ly/1hUdSDw
-France:   http://amzn.to/1bbw5Ix
-Italy:    http://amzn.to/1loLmj8
-Spain:   http://amzn.to/1eBl8AI
-Germany:  http://amzn.to/1bbwvif
-Brazil:  http://bit.ly/1bbwB9A
-Mexico:  http://bit.ly/1ifahRt
-India:   http://bit.ly/MBRe9n

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Week 6) 3/3 thru 3/9 $0.99 book: Run With No Pain

rwnpAre you finally ready to be rid of that nagging, chronic low back pain when you run? Learn these simple exercises and you’ll quit paying for expensive medical visits and fake treatments and finally cure your low back pain forever!

Inside, you’ll discover how these 4 Simple Steps will replace spendy treatments and eliminate pain…

1- Explanation of why your back hurts when you’re active.
2- Complete “Reboot” program for your back.
3- Foundation phase to keep the Reboot permanent.
4- Go run pain-free!

This Low Back Pain Book will…

-Teach you why your back is hurting when you’re physically active or sitting…
-Provide realignment program with videos & written instructions…
-Give you a foundation program to keep your back pain-free for life…
-Let you confidently return to your sport, training and competition!

This book is a $0.99 Amazon Kindle download from 12am 3/3 through 11:59pm 3/9, and please leave a review. Grab it now or use this link to grab it later:  http://amzn.to/1ispsJD.

Outside the USA
-Canada:  http://amzn.to/1cAYQlY
-UK:  http://amzn.to/1aLpQ3q
-Japan:  http://amzn.to/1jPZ0Kb
-Australia:   http://bit.ly/1kgAOhS
-France:   http://amzn.to/Mm9RgH
-Italy:    http://amzn.to/1ekai5M
-Spain:  http://amzn.to/1dc0zKi
-Germany:  http://amzn.to/Luxu6J
-Brazil:  http://bit.ly/1aLqiyK
-Mexico:  http://bit.ly/1fgeT7c
-India:   http://bit.ly/1ifcHPX

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Questions, comments or feedback about these free books? Just leave your thoughts below, and don’t forget to review any book that you get!

The Official Black Friday Gift List: 10 Effective, Easy & Cheap Biohacks For Everyone To Try.

biohacker

The following is a guest post by one of my friends – a brilliant biohacker who goes by the secret name “BigPapaChakra”. Let’s enjoy keeping him anonymous for now, shall we? After all, BigPapaChakra is just a darn fine nickname anyways, and I promise to reveal his identity in a future post.

In this article, which you can consider to be your official Black Friday gift list for biohackers or wanna-be health hackers…

…you’re going to discover some of the best, most effective, yet unknown biohacks on the face of the planet that are going to absolutely blow the mind of any biohacker or fitness/nutrition/health technology geek in your life. Most of this stuff is easy and inexpensive too! Just consider this our post-Thanksgiving day gift to you.

Enjoy, and leave your questions and feedback in the comments section below this post.

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Introduction

In my relatively short time here on earth, I’ve come across quite a few interesting modalities that can be used to enhance one’s body, mind, and spirit.

Interestingly, my journey into this realm stemmed from decisions and situations that are entirely opposite to what is typically associated with longevity, vitality, and performance. In fact, they caused me more problems than good, and that is how I discovered many of these paths to optimization, nifty gadgets, and extraordinarily kind and talented individuals.

Ironically, I have an odd fortune that allows me to become a better bio-hacker – a lack of funds. In my experience, the less money you have, the better bio-hacker, athlete, lover, etc. you can become… as long as your will perseveres and you throw in some dedication and effort. If you can’t, well, why not bio-hack your will? Nonetheless, I think that many bio-hacks can be accomplished with limited funds, and that’s what this blog will display.

I’m laying out ten effective, easy, and cheap bio-hacks for everyone to try (and when I say cheap, remember this is all relative to the tens of thousands of dollars some are spending on everything from muscle stimulation units to neurofeedback devices to impanted nanotech cyborg devices)! You’ll also find helpful “stacks” or ways that you can combine specific biohacks for an enhanced effect.

(Disclaimer: I’m not yet a physician of any kind. I don’t recommend any of these products or techniques as means to cure diseases or various ailments, nor do I think they should take the place of a licensed, trained, and trustworthy physician. This isn’t to take away from the efficacy of any of these bio-hacks. Don’t take anyone’s word as gospel when it comes to your health. Do your own research, trust your intuition, and find out what is or is not true for yourself. Some things work better for some people than others, hence why I always say, “to each their own.”)

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1) tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation)

To try and explain this in the simplest sense, tDCS is essentially a cost-effective, easy-to-learn form of neurostimulation which uses a low powered constant current delivered to the brain. Don’t worry; this is a lot safer than it might sound. TDCS has been around for a lot longer than I originally thought – it was used by a man named Giovanni Aldini to improve mood in his patients as far back as the early 1800’s (1).

There are three forms of ‘stimulation’ (I’m not certain that is the best term for it, though that is what’s typically used): anodal, cathodal, and sham. Anodal is ‘positive’ and increases excitability in the region it is placed upon. Cathodal is ‘negative’ and does the opposite – decreases excitability of the region.Sham is just that… a sham. It’s more or less the control in studies.

To keep this brief, tDCS is used for (and successful in) a variety of problems, as well as enhancing healthy individuals cognition and emotions (2) (3).  Don’t forget enhancing mediation (4). There are two ways that you can get ahold of this technology for cheap, in my experience: purchase a unit through tdcs-kit.com for under $40, or make your own. I personally have the unit through tdcs-kit called Foc.us. MindAlive has as similar device called the “David Delight PRO” but at a slightly higher pricepoint.

I have personally spoken to a man with Schizophrenia who used the same one, and this is part of his statement to me, “So to answer your question…Yes it has improved my mood which caused my motivation levels to increase. I found the mood placement is being used in almost the same setup as foc.us. So it wasn’t a surprise that it helped me with my focus/concentration. (…)I would say that this is better than any anti depressant out there by far even 1-2 weeks in. The concentration/focus seems to be a 24 hour effect.”

You can also go to Radio Shack and purchase electronics tutorials/teaching devices that are geared towards younger people and children. With this, you can learn basic electronics and how to rig a tDCS unit. There are videos of this on youtube.

Stack: (CAUTION: safety not yet established; more studies needed. Do your own research) studies have shown that D-cycloserine+tDCS causes the effects of tDCS to last much longer. Many of the studies are concentrated on specific regions of the brain, so effects haven’t been fully tested (brain region is a major variable in tDCS). This is potentially dangerous, but also potentially powerful in enhancing learning, retention, and accurate recall.

2) Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide is often seen as a ‘waste product’ of metabolism, but it in fact has a lot of uses and makes for a neat little bio-hack. To keep it short and sweet, I’ll use a quote from Ray Peat, Ph.D., “Breathing pure oxygen lowers the oxygen content of tissues; breathing rarefied air, or air with carbon dioxide, oxygenates and energizes the tissues; if this seems upside down, it’s because medical physiology has been taught upside down. And respiratory physiology holds the key to the special functions of all the organs, and to many of their basic pathological changes.

There are some paradoxes when it comes to Carbon Dioxide and its effects on physiology. Namely, O2 and CO2 destabilize each other, yet CO2, produced in the cells, releases oxygen into various tissues. Anytime I increase CO2, my body temperature increases (which I will touch upon later), my blood pressure decreases, my extremities become warmer, and I feel more centered. My Resting Breath Hold time also increases. CO2 has been used to stop seizures, enhance neuropsychological therapy, enhance exercise and athletic performance, and is also shown to enhance plants utilization of water (5) (6) (7).

Search Google Scholar for therapeutic hypercapnia, or do a search for Ledislas J. Meduna who used CO2 as an adjunct to various forms of psychotherapy. There are various ways to increase CO2, such as eating carbohydrates, but one of the most effective is breathing into a bag for as long as comfortable a few times a day. The CO2 you expire starts to stack in the bag with each breath, increasing the amount you inhale. The two most notable devices you can purchase that are typically marketed for increasing CO2 content in your body are the BreathSlim and Frolov devices.

I personally own and use a BreathSlim, and Mark Sircus (who has been on the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast) uses and recommends the device. I recommended it to another individual who seemed to not have the greatest experience with it (the water spilled out of the sides, and didn’t give enough resistance as it should), so to each their own. There is a third, and similar device, called the Samozdrav Breathing Device, which measures ventilation at rest and approximate alveolar CO2 content (though I have no experience with this one).

Stack: Take a dose of baking soda in water (I prefer carbonated mineral water for more bicarbonate and CO2) prior to a bath containing Epsom salts (or magnesium chloride), baking soda, and salt while breathing into one of these devices or a paper bag. I intermittently drink more carbonated mineral water as well. I guarantee you will feel amazing during and after this.

3) HCO3, or more commonly, baking soda.

Baking Soda is amazing. It can literally be used for hundreds of things around the house, can be used for beauty and hygiene, but can also be used for heath and performance. Better yet, you can get a large amount of it for a few dollars. Taken orally, it increases CO2 and cell voltage in the body, along with buffering lactic acid. It also increases regional cerebral blood flow in a dose dependent manner (8).

It drastically increases exercise performance of all kinds, and typically enhances the absorption of creatine (9) (10). I’m sure some of you have used baking soda before, but I would honestly recommend it as part of my repertoire for any kind of workout or competition (as long as it isn’t banned/considered doping), as well as taking it throughout the day for general wellness purposes. The only negative that can come of this is when consuming a lot of calcium in which you can suffer from milk-alkali syndrome (11).

Stack: Same as above, or: load on baking soda prior to a workout, do deep nasal breathing the entire session, and when/if you become fatigued, take a break and breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes before resuming. Some Z-Health practitioners recommend this, as have physicians at the Silicon Valley Health Institute. I’ve used it for martial arts sessions as well.

4) Transcranial Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

This one is like my baby. There are a lot of uses for low level/cold laser therapy, but I’ll stick with transcranial purposes. Low Level Laser Therapy has been around since the sixties with the advent of the Helium-Neon (HeNe) laser first used on rodents in which it regrew their hair. But, it really goes back to 1896 with the use of the Spectro-Chromedesigned by a color therapy researcher named Dinsah P. Ghadiali (Spectro-Chrome therapy was not used in 1896, but this was when Dinsah began researching and conversing with the likes of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla) (12).

Not to delve too deeply into the extremely dense science of this, the main mechanism of LLLT is the delivery of photons to cells in the brain, directly affecting Cytochrome C Oxidase (CCO) which enhances cell respiration and energy production (13). In humans, it has successfully treated and/or reversed Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety; post Stroke symptoms, as well as increasing emotional and cognitive abilities in healthy individuals. Careful attention is warranted, though – the effects largely stem from a biphasic dose response curve predicated on hormesis… there is such a thing as overdoing it. I have used LLLT to start reversing my severe HPPD symptoms with great success. I was stunned when I recently saw a neurologist at the University of Chicago and he (and his colleagues) had no idea what LLLT was.

There are a multitude of LLLT devices, such as (but not limited to): The Vetrolaser, TendonLite, Euon, and ThorLasers. Many of these devices unfortunately cost an arm and a leg, though, yet there is an alternative; Infrared Lights not marketed as medical supplies. LEDs are cheaper than lasers, and are no less effective. In fact, they seem to be a bit safer. You can find very cheap ones on Ebay under fifty dollars. I recommend this.

Stack: Combine LLLT with a mitochondrial supplement stack. Methylene Blue seems like a viable route, but I have no experience with this. I would recommend using the stack found in this Longecity forum thread, as I have used it with amazing results.

5) Indoor healing light spectrums

Continuing with light being a useful modality to well-being and performance, we get to something everyone should do – change indoor lighting. As of now, many people are aware of the damage blue light can do to circadian rhythms, sleep, and thus, all of health (keep in mind green, white, and violet are equally damaging). Unfortunately, many have yet to realize that they can simultaneously decrease their exposure to damaging wavelengths, and increase exposure to therapeutic, healing, “pro-life” wavelengths.

LEDs, halogens, incandescent bulbs, and heat lamps can all be used. Halogens emit an almost ‘sun-like’ spectrum of light (14), and have a large amount of red and near infrared light. These wavelengths actually have the capabilities of healing and protecting the retinas as well as increasing alertness without disrupting melatonin whatsoever (the nadir for melatonin disruption is right around 464nm) (15) (16).

I recommend switching out your general indoor lighting for these bulbs: http://bulbrite.iqlightbulbs.com/bulbrite-714025-250br40h.asp or visiting the LowBlueLight website for a wider array of choices.  There is evidence that getting Incandescent bulbs with a red filter is better, acting through transmittance to increase red light; I’d imagine a red lampshade would do the same, albeit to a smaller degree. John Kellog actually reported about the therapeutic benefits of incandescent lights in a 200pg book known as Light Therapeutics (1910) (17). Personally, I would opt for incandescent lights, and occasionally you could place them closer to your skin (18-24 inches) for concentrated therapy. You could experiment with Halogens, which have a lot of healing wavelengths (more so than incandescents), but they have a lot more blue light and UV radiation i.e. damaging to the retinas and can disrupt circadian rhythms.

Stack: (1) Use five or ten 150 Watt incandescent bulbs for a few minutes in the morning to stimulate circadian rhythms. (2) Cover windows with a plastic film containing copper, which can remove some of the harmful aspects of sun light.

6) Monitor Body Temperature and Pulse

Measuring body temperature and your pulse rate is essentially a proxy for your metabolic rate and thyroid health. The basal body temperature is impacted by things other than metabolic rate and the thyroid, thus the pulse helps interpret this result (distinguishing results of healthy metabolism from cortisol, adrenalin, etc.). The temperature of your extremities aids in this process further.  A lot of blood tests for the thyroid are extremely flawed.

Broda Barnes was a man who treated an absurd amount of patients who he found to have thyroid dysfunction. He argued that body temperature, measured before getting out of bed in the morning, was the greatest diagnosis for thyroid function (18). A good reading would be roughly 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit, though, again, a better diagnosis can be made when taking pulse and extremities into account. Broda Barnes stated that although this was not a perfect test, it was undoubtedly more reliable than TSH and other readings (19) (20). “More information can be brought to the physician with only the aid of an ordinary thermometer than can be obtained with all other thyroid function tests combined. “ Dr. Broda Otto Barnes.

Stack: Body temperature taken in morning (ASAP), after meals, before bed, etc. while tracking pulse and feeling for how warm your extremities are. Also, read Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness by Broda Barnes, in addition to The Thyroid by Thomas McGavack.

7) Experiment with Alkalinity

This is a topic that is often debated, and for a long time I was completely against the idea of measuring any form of alkalinity. This was before some interesting literature came out showing that net renal acid accumulation is linked to a lot of diseases (21) (22). One study analyzed data from 66,486 women, and the other, 98,995 women. What were the largest contributors to this ‘acid buildup’, so to speak? Increased phosphorous intake, increased sodium, and decreased potassium, magnesium, and calcium intakes.

Even latent acidosis can decrease health, namely resting metabolic rate (23). For everyone following an ‘evolutionary’ or ‘traditional’ diet, this isn’t hard to get around. Salt foods to taste, because sodium is important, but ensure adequate supply of other macro-minerals and electrolytes. This is only difficult because of the current fructophobia, even though the largest meta-analyses show that fructose is not as damaging as many are lead to believe. Not only this, but it has been used to treat diabetes, has functional roles in the human body, directly participates in the Pentose Phosphate Pathway (creating reducing equivalents), and acts more like a ketone than other carbs (it is a ketose, as opposed to an aldehyde) (24) (25) (26) (27).

Moral of the story: don’t fear fruit – add it to your diet in moderate amounts, especially sweet tropical fruits. Adding fruit to a diet packed in fat soluble nutrients from liver, oysters, some shrimp and so on, might just enhance your metabolism, increase endogenous antioxidant levels, aid in the utilizing the PPP, and a lot more.

Stack: Use sodium bicarbonate prior to exercise and in baths; supplement potassium bicarbonate to increase alkalinity and potassium consumption; add magnesium bicarbonate to your water (28). All of these can easily be found on websites such as Amazon.

8) Supplement Stacks

There are a lot of interesting stacks that are being discussed and developed by people on various anti-aging boards. Keep in mind, not all these users are physicians, so maintain strict reservations and do your own research – never take anyone else’s word for what works or what is safe. The first one was discussed earlier, and I personally have a lot of experience with it. It’s called TULIP – The Ultimate Laser Protocol. It’s based around mitochondrial upregulation and protection paired with the use of red or infrared lasers and LEDs. It causes mitochondrial biogenesis, decreased ROS, and greatly increased ATP levels.

The basic stack is PQQ, CoQ10, and Shilajit. PQQ and CoQ10 have been used individually to treat brain degeneration, and used together with even more efficacy (29); Shilajit synergizes with CoQ10, while also acting as an adaptogen. Taken together, they enhance each other. Other additions to this stack are creatine, exogenous ATP, Idebenone, ALCAR, and R-ALA (K-R-ALA is supposedly the best, and Dave Asprey recommends it, but I have never gotten ahold of any).  The second one is known as CILTEP – Chemically Induced Long-Term Potentiation.  Long Term Potentiation is one of the primary mechanisms of learning and memory.

The primary stack is artichoke extract, forskolin, phenylalanine, B-complex, caffeine (optional), ALCAR, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (possibly not necessary based on the individual) (30). Lastly, there is the “Happy Stack”. This is all about cellular growth and renewal, myelination, increasing specific neurotransmitters, and so on (31). The primary stack is Uridine (find your goldilocks zone), DHA, and Choline.

Stack: Happy CIL-TULIP. A combination of each of them, but excluding some ingredients. Some are currently experimenting with this and having great results, though I haven’t tried it and personally would recommend great caution. The combination strongly affects various neurotransmitters, transcriptional factors, gene expression, and so on.

9) Magnetism

Beware, this is harder to pull off for cheap, but you can probably capitalize on the holiday discounts.

Magnetism, geopathic stress, bioelectricity, etc. is a fascinating area of research that I’m delving into. It has been known for hundreds of years since Harold Burr (possibly before him) that electromagnetic fields are necessary for and guide all life forms, celestial bodies, nature, and so on. Robert Becker (the “Father of Electromedicine”) regenerated human finger tips, healed diabetic ulcers with 100% success rate, and found magnetism to affect dedifferentiation of cells, being a viable alternative to stem cell treatments (32) (33). Yuri Kholodov found higher organisms (we are one) to be most ‘sensitive’ to changes in magnetic fields, and nervous tissue, especially in the brain and glial cells, to be the most sensitive tissues.

Electrokinetically treated water has enhanced exercise recovery and performance and is shown to have a higher activity of oxygen. If you want to shell out the big bucks, a Magnetico Sleep Pad would be a wise purchase. It uses unipolar magnets to recreate a strong magnetic field that our earth is currently lacking. This has widespread implications for cellular renewal, stem cell growth, telomeres, hormones, and much more (34).

Dr. Philpott also has a magnetic sleep pad that is bipolar and has a lot of good reviews. You could attempt to make your own magnetic sleep pad, but have to be extremely careful in your placement of the magnets, the depth of your mattress, the kind of magnet, etc. You can also use magnetic pads for your seats at your desk or in your car, along with magnetic jewelry, insoles, masks, and more.  If the idea of magnetism and water sound odd to you, I would recommend reading the books or studies of Gilbert Ling and Albert Szent-Gyorgi. The biophysical state of cells, cell water, and their structure(s) are often overlooked in Western Medical and biological literature, and that’s the largest part of magnetic forces acting upon life forms.

Stack: (1) If finances aren’t a problem: Magnetico sleep pad, in addition to magnetic seat covers at your desk and in your car. If you have one, use an EarthPulse throughout the day and for nagging injuries, but not under the Magnetico pad as there are typically problems when combining these at once (for sleep). You can let your drinking water, juices such as kvass or even kombucha rest upon the pad to become magnetized. (2)

If finances aren’t currently in your favor, you can magnetize your water. Here are is what Paul Becker told me via email: “4 CUP COFFEE MAKER WITH HOT PLATE BASE 15 BUCKS AT WALLMART. 30 VOLTS POWER SUPPLY RADIO SHACK 20 BUCKS AND PACK OF ALLIGATOR CLIPS 2 BUCKS OR SO RADIO SHACK. KEEP THAT COFFEE MAKER ONLY FOR DISTILLED WATER AND MAKING THE COLLOID.” You can make colloidal silver this way, as well as magnetized drinking water. Search google scholar or electrokinetically modified water, you’ll be surprised.

10) Photons Therapy for Electromedicine

Another largely overlooked aspect of medicine, as well as ecological health and evolution on our planet, is the application of Tesla’s (and others like him) research. This is where Ed Skilling comes into play, with his alternative electromedicine therapies. He was commissioned by California Cancer doctors in 1959 and given a 30,000 Rife Machine to evaluate, and determined much of the Rife theory was inaccurate and decided to delve into electromedicine himself as members of his family had died of cancer (what the machines that he analyzed were used to combat)(35).

Ultimately, this is a technology that uses infrared light, photonic gases, sound and other light frequencies to stimulate your body’s natural healing processes. The machine is claimed to largely stimulate and aid in the optimal functioning of the lymphatic system which leads to body wide homeostasis.  There are dozens of videos of different physicians using it online, and you can also watch presentations at various technology conferences as well. The manufacturers offer payment plans, low or no interest rates, and seem to be very helpful.

Stack: Stand ‘in’ the Photon Genie/Genius while doing advanced heart rate variability exercises and/or bag breathing.

Summary

Well, there ya have it! Some cheap and quick, yet undoubtedly effective (and also quite fun) bio-hacks for Black Friday and the holiday season; I hope you put some of these techniques to use. Remember to be safe, and most importantly, happy holidays!

(Major shout out and thanks to LostFalco of Longecity – the reason I know about LLLT and TULIP. Also thanks to Abelard Lindsay and MrHappy on Longecity, creators of the other two supplement stacks.)

Leave your questions, comments and feedback below!

Additional Helfpul Links And Resources

tDCS:

  1. (1) http://tdcs-kit.com/

CO2:

  1. (2) http://www.breathslim.com/
  2. (3) http://www.intellectbreathing.com/
  3. (4) http://www.samozdrav-world.com/en/about
  4. (5) http://www.amazon.com/Non-Rebreather-Mask-w-Vent-Adult/dp/B00B1FJNXS/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1380745479&sr=8-7&keywords=rebreathing%20mask&tag=viglink122377-20
  5. (6) http://stores.homestead.com/windsongpress/-strse-54/5-Liter-WindSong-Air/Detail.bok
  6. (7) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unisex-Latex-Rebreathing-Mask-Breathing-Control-Latex-Hood-/190845858787?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c6f4cb3e3
  7. (8) http://www.amazon.com/Breath-Builder-BAG-Breathing-Bag/dp/B000XZYW6K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380765439&sr=8-1&keywords=breathing%20bag&tag=viglink122377-20

Baking Soda:

  1. (1) Any. Arm and Hammer is fine, while also being available almost anywhere.

Indoor Lighting:

  1. (1) http://bulbrite.iqlightbulbs.com/bulbrite-714025-250br40h.asp
  2. (2) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CP19XA/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000CP19XA&linkCode=as2&tag=empowesusten-20
  3. (3) http://www.osram.com/osram_com/products/lamps/specialty-lamps/infrared-lamps/index.jsp?mkturl=uv-ir

LLLT

  1. (1) http://www.ebay.com/itm/96-LED-60-degree-Night-Vision-IR-Infrared-Illuminator-Light-lamp-For-CCTV-Camera-/160987372402?pt=US_Surveillance_Gadgets&hash=item257b985b72
  2. (2) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008A6999E/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B008A6999E&linkCode=as2&tag=rapefo-20
  3. (3) http://www.ebay.com/itm/48-LED-Illuminator-CCTV-IR-Infrared-Night-Vision-Light-12V-Power-Supply-Adapter-/251266500210?pt=US_Surveillance_Gadgets&hash=item3a80a68672
  4. (4) http://www.q1000laser.com/sc/contact/index.php?lc=1
  5. (5) http://www.qlaserws.com/products.html
  6. (6) http://www.thorlaser.com/products/

Temp and Pulse:

  1. (1) Any reliable thermometer. A pulse oximeter would be a nice addition.

Alkalinity:

  1. (1) Any Sodium Bicarbonate
  2. (2) http://www.life-enhancement.com/shop/product/pb120-potassium-basics-by-durk-pearson–sandy-shaw
  3. (3) http://purebulk.com/potassium-bicarbonate-powder.html#.UpfUV8QWJr8
  4. (4) http://www.forresthealth.com/bi-carb-formula-250-caps.html?&bid=1&partner=19064
  5. (5) http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/f11/make-your-own-magnesium-bicarbonate-drink-tastes-sweet-46555/
  6. (6) http://www.uniquewater.com.au/the-water/

Magnetism:

  1. (1) http://magneticosleep.com/
  2. (2) http://www.azunimags.com/about_us.html

Photon Therapy: 

  1. (1) http://www.edskilling.com/

Citations

tDCS

  1. (1) http://www.biusante.parisdescartes.fr/chn/docpdf/parent_aldini.pdf
  2. (2) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393210002319
  3. (3) http://www.brainstimjrnl.com/article/S1935-861X(08)00040-5/abstract
  4. (4) http://shinzenyoung.blogspot.com/2012/07/meet-my-new-girlfriend-tdcs.html

Carbon Dioxide

  1. (5) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7458/full/nature12291.html
  2. (6) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7458/full/nature12411.html
  3. (7) http://www.ideaconnection.com/inventions/11744-Medical-mask-for-fast-and-efficient-suppression-and-pre.html

HCO3/sodium bicarbonate

  1. (8) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724528/
  2. (9) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22941193
  3. (10) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12900682
  4. (11) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk-alkali_syndrome

LLLT

  1. (12) http://educate-yourself.org/products/dinshahandspectrochrome.shtml
  2. (13) https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/182368464/2013-gonzalez-lima.pdf

Indoor Lighting

  1. (14) http://heelspurs.com/a/led/BLACK_BO2.gif
  2. (15) http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/resources/newsroom/pr_story.asp?id=253
  3. (16) http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20112004-22093.html
  4. (17) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jevSr-LykF08ualZgyhWPERCGB8k6JYy3jrYVweQ-NA/edit

Temps and Pulse

  1. (18) http://www.slideshare.net/roger961/is-986-really-normal
  2. (19) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18443261
  3. (20) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOb2POQGE6g (interesting visual explanation)

Alkalinity

  1. (21) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19410381
  2. (22) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12450898
  3. (23) http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-C5YprOD1Gqw/T38G3PJ8FMI/AAAAAAAAEGY/Ny11n5tJPyM/s1600/a.PNG
  4. (24) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2467321/pdf/postmedj00346-0026.pdf
  5. (25) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2603858/pdf/yjbm00642-0165.pdf
  6. (26) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3382482/
  7. (27) http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/543fructose.html
  8. (28) http://www.rexresearch.com/beckett/1beckett.htm

Supplement Stacks

  1. (29) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303106/
  2. (30) http://jn.physiology.org/content/91/5/1955.long
  3. (31) http://jn.nutrition.org/content/127/5/834S.full

Magnetism

  1. (32) http://jbjs.org/article.aspx?articleID=13521
  2. (33) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1806700/
  3. (34) http://ston.jsc.nasa.gov/collections/TRS/_techrep/TP-2003-212054.pdf

Photon Theapy/Photon Genie

  1. (35) http://www.edskilling.com/edskilling.html

New “Done-For-You” Coaching Package with Ben Greenfield

Black Box package

Have you ever wanted coaching from Ben Greenfield, but not been sure quite where to start?

Or have you ever wished all the stuff Ben talks about on the podcast could just arrive on your doorstep in one convenient package, along with complete instructions from Ben on how to use and implement everything?

If you want the complete done-for-you solution for performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep and hormone balance, then keep reading – because Ben has just put the finishing touches on the ultimate answer for you. Whether you want to do an Ironman triathlon or just shed a few pounds, everything you’d ever need is included.

It’s called the “Black Box Package“, and here’s what it includes:

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Basis Band1. Basis Band Body Tracking Device

Basis is a wrist-based health tracker and personal dashboard that leverages four types of advanced sensors in its lightweight, customizable design in order to calculate various health metrics – including steps taken, calories burned and sleep quality, as well as resting heart rate, skin temperature and every other parameter you need to, set, track and build healthy habits you can actually maintain for years.

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Encoder new box 22. Superhuman Performance Encoder + Entrainer Drops

The Superhuman Performance Encoder is a small surgical-grade rubber wristband that houses a piezoelectric disc which activates alpha brain waves, blocks harmful electromagnetic frequencies and naturally tunes your body to perform better, recover faster, sleep more deeply and think more clearly. It also includes Entrainer Drops, which you add to one glass of water each day for maximum nourishment and hydration of every cell in your body.

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Earth Pulse3. EarthPulse Sleep on Command System

The EarthPulse Sleep on Command pulsed electromagnetic sleep machine is a simple, harmless device which you place under your mattress. By magnifying the natural magnetic frequencies emitted by the surface of the earth, it will improve your sleep, mental and physical performance – and have you feeling younger and sleeping like a baby within just one day of use. When it comes to natural sleep and recovery enhancement, along with ergogenic life extension with zero drug use, there is no other technology on earth even close to EarthPulse.

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Cool Fat Burner4. Cool Fat Burner Vest

The CoolFatBurner Vest is the world’s only wearable cold thermogenesis, weight-loss device that pulls your body into intense fat burning and muscle building and recovery mode simply by wearing the vest at your home, at office or in your car. It works completely independent to whatever >diet or exercise you’re already doing, while vastly enhancing results, increasing blood flow and giving you free fat burning even in the absence of exercise.

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MostFit Suspension Strap5. MostFit Suspension Training Strap

The MostFit Suspension Strap offers you grab and go body weight training that instantly strengthens all of your major muscles, while improving balance and core strength, helping you to build lean muscle, boosting your metabolism, and increasing endurance. Its simple yet effective design makes it easy to use anytime, anywhere. It conveniently anchors to doors, making it instantly accessible at your home, office, or on the road in your hotel room. Lightweight and compact, yet extremely durable, it can also be used outdoors, looped around a tree trunk, swing set, and just about anything you can get your hands on. You’ll never need a gym again.

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16. Detox & Gut Supplement Pack

The Detox and Gut Healing Pack is designed by Ben Greenfield for detoxifying the body, detoxifying the liver, healing the gut, cleansing the gastrointestinal tract, eliminating bloating, gas and insomnia, and allowing for a total body reboot of your body’s most important organ – your gastrointestinal tract. The pack contains one bottle of gut and liver cleansing capsules, one bottle of therapeutic probiotics, one bottle of nourishing colostrum,  one bottle of digestive enzymes and one bottle of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal Wild Mediterranean Oil of Oregano – along with exact instructions on how to use each component to maximize complete healing, rebuilding, and optimization of your digestive tract.

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Hormone Pack7. Hormone Supplement Pack

The Hormone Pack was designed by Ben Greenfield as a means of promoting hormone stabilization and hormone balance in a gentle and natural manner, without the use of pharmaceutical or synthetic hormone replacement therapy. It is comprised of everything you need to naturally support and balance hormones, including a bottle of adrenal gland supporting trace liquid minerals, a bottle of hormone-forming cholesterols and fats from natural cold-processed fish oil, and Chinese Adaptogenic Herbs to regulate and restore normal hormonal and adrenal function.This is a perfect if you are overtrained, overstressed, have low libido, get brain fog, have trouble sleeping or just need a boost of natural energy that you can rely upon without having to worry about harmful chemicals or pharmaceuticals.

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gunnar glasses8. Blue Light Blocking Eyewear

Your body produces an important hormone called melatonin – the sleep hormone – and icreasing your body’s melatonin production can improve your sleep, your recovery and your libidio. Melatonin is produced by your pineal gland, and normally only when you are in darkness. Using artificial light such as smartphones, computers and ipads in the evening before going to bed shuts down melatonin production due to the unnatural blue rays of light present in these electronic devices. Once you shut down melatonin production, your life quality begins to rapidly decrease. For this reason, your Black Box Package includes a stylish set of blue light blocking eyewear equipped with filters that eliminate only the blue component of light, and allow you to sleep better, reduce eyestrain, have higher mental clarity and recover faster.

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wellnessFX9. Complete Performance Blood Testing

If you want to take your health and performance to the next level, you need to equip yourself with all the right tools and information about what’s happening inside your body. Our blood test for performance includes all your biomarkers for performance hormones, advanced nutrients, and metabolism – including thyroid, complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic profile, liver and kidney health, vitamin status, advanced cholesterol profile, hormonal status, inflammation, magnesium and metabolism markers. You’ll also get all instructions for easy measurement at your local lab, with no visit to a doctor’s office required – and complete interpretation of your results in your consultation with Ben Greenfield.

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Expanded GI Panel10. Gastrointestinal Effects Panel

Gastrointestinal function is extremely important for your health, immunity and performance. Your intestinal tract contains significant amounts of bacteria – some beneficial, some neutral, and some harmful. Balancing beneficial microbial flora in the gut is key in digestion, nutrient usage, and ridding the body of waste and pathogens. Poor digestion and malabsorption can lead to immune dysfunction, nutritional insufficiencies, mental/emotional disorders, and autoimmune diseases. Our gastrointestinal panel tests for anaerobes, parasites, fat cell index, absorption issues, fatty acids, bacteria, inflammation, and overall digestive health – so there is zero guesswork about what is happening inside your gut. This test also includes complete interpretation of your results during your consultation with Ben Greenfield.

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Black Box11. Black Box Total Body Reboot Plan with Daily Workout & Meals

This Black Box Total Body Reboot Plan is a 12 week exercise and meal plan protocol designed to completely equip your body with everything it needs for complete optimization of performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep and hormonal balance – with zero guesswork. You’ll get detailed daily workout and recipe creation instructions so you know exactly what to do every week – and each morning, you’ll look in the mirror and witness your body transform as you follow the easy-to-follow instructions in the plan.

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HeadshotSmilingSide112. One Hour One-On-One Consultation With Ben Greenfield

Once you’ve received your Black Box Package, Ben Greenfield will personally schedule a one-on-one discussion with you to ensure that any and all of your questions are answered, and that your package is 100% customized to your specific needs and goals. No topic is off-limits during your discussion with Ben, and he’ll equip you with the knowledge and personalized instruction to ensure that you have everything you need to get the most out of your Black Box Package with zero guesswork.

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If you have any questions about the Black Box Package, or you need extra customization added to the package, simply e-mail [email protected] and we will make any adjustments you need and answer any questions you have about this unique, ground-breaking package that will change your life, body and mind forever.

The Ultimate Visual Biohack – How To Create Your Own Custom Set Of Vision, Performance and Sleep Enhancing Eyewear.

ben greenfield glasses

The glasses you see pictured above are my newest toy. They are the ultimate biohack for visual performance and sleep.

My eyes weren’t messed up to start with. I actually have 20/20 vision.

But I wanted even better visual performance.

So in this article, I’m not only going to teach you how I enhanced my vision with these glasses, but you’re also going to discover exactly how to get a custom set of your own glasses that allow you to sleep better, while also improving hand-eye coordination, enhancing visual acuity, increasing mental performance and dramatically decreasing brain fog and eye fatigue.

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How These Glasses Work

If you’ve every purchased a set of tinted glasses or sunglasses, then you probably know that certain lens colors are useful for specific light conditions or activities. The image below gives great examples of both colors and uses of a variety of lens colors that you could potentially choose based on the specific conditions in which you most often find yourself.

lens for sports performance

However, visual performance goes far above and beyond simply using a specific color to filter your specific light conditions.

For example, in the article “The Last Resource You’ll Ever Need To Get Better Sleep“, you learn how the blue light waves emitted by computer screens, televisions, smart phones, e-readers and other devices can dramatically disrupt your sleep quality – and even cause insomnia.

In addition, in the article “How To Increase Balance“, you learn about three critical components of your biology that affect your ability to move, to track objects, and to perform well. One of those components is your visual system. In that article, I describe how your visual balance system is comprised of sensory receptors in your retina called rods and cones. When light strikes the rods and cones, they send impulses to the brain that provide visual cues about how your head, body or limbs are oriented relative to other objects.

To protect and enhance performance of the visual system, I’ve recommended everything from apps that remind you to briefly stop working, or to focus your vision elsewhere (like AwarenessWorkRaveTime Out, and ProtectYourVision) to playing sports that require eye tracking to using a special kind of eye “workout” called “The Vision Gym”.

But I’ve also highly recommended special glasses that not only reduce eye glare, but also filter out blue light. These “blue light blocking” glasses can be purchased from sites such as Gunnar and LowBlueLights.com. While these sites certainly offer a decent solution, I recently decided I wanted to take things to the next level and actually get blue-light blocking, visual performance enhancing eyewear that was customized to my own unique pair of eyes.

After all, the the color yellow cuts blue light rays, and allows for a high amount of visual perception around a wavelength of 550 nm (to which the human eye is very sensitive), but it doesn’t necessarily enhance hand-eye coordination, reading speed, etc. It basically just reduces eye glare, and allows your body to have a little less natural melatonin suppression when you’re staring at a screen for long periods of time at night.

As a biohacker who wants to figure out how to squeeze every last drop of value out of my body, I personally wanted the ultimate combination of visual performance and sleep enhancement. So I wasn’t willing to settle for simply blocking blue light.

And this is where something called the “Irlen Method” fits in…

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The Irlen Method

The Irlen Method is a research-based vision-enhancing method that uses colored overlays and filters to create custom eyeglasses. It was originally developed by a woman named Helen Irlen, who discovered and created this method in 1980 to improve perceptually-based reading and to to help overcome learning difficulties. Over 54 research papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals showing significant changes in reading rate, accuracy, and comprehension.

Basically,  Irlen Method is non-invasive technology that uses colored overlays and filters to improve the brain’s ability to process visual information. This technology can improve reading fluency, comfort, comprehension, attention, and concentration – while also reducing light sensitivity. It is simply a color-based technology that filters out offensive light waves, so the brain can accurately process visual information.

Traditionally, Irlen Method is used to help children and adults suffering from reading and learning problems, dyslexia, ADD, autism, headaches, migraines, light sensitivity and even traumatic brain injury…

…but when I heard about the technique at a biohacking conference, I decided to visit an Irlen specialist to test out whether the overlays and filters in a set of Irlen eyewear could help a guy who has 20/20 vision get even better visual performance, enhanced reading speed and increased hand-eye coordination.

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Where To Get Your Own Custom Lenses

I began by visiting the Irlen website and contacting an Irlen screener and diagnostician in my area named Kirstie.

Kirstie just happened to be coming to Spokane two weeks later, so we set up a custom fitting and assessment process at a hotel near my house.

The assessment process is normally separated into two testing sessions, but we squeezed it all into one long 4 hour-ish session. The first part of the process is called the “Screening”. During the screening, I did a bunch of perceptual tasks to create an awareness of any visual distortions I was experiencing when reading. We checked for:

-Reading rate

-Flow and fluency

-Comfort

-Eye tracking

-Reading comprehension

-Site vocabulary

-Sustained attention

-Ability to skim or speed read

-Error rate of reading

I did just fine, but had already warned Kirstie that she probably wouldn’t find any issues with my reading and visual ability, as I am a trained musician, speed reader and tennis player.

So then we moved on to the next step – a “Tint Assessment”. During the tint assessment, we tried dozens of different colored lenses to create my own unique color. This was simply a test and re-test method of matching different lenses with pages, screens and reading charts to determine which set of lenses resulted in the ideal vision enhancing effect for me. We not only worked on finding a color that filtered out offending wave lengths of light that my eyes do not do well with, but we also matched it with an amber tint that would block the blue-light wave spectrum from screens.

In the end, we wound up with my unique lens color…

…which turned out to be kind a purplish-yellow, exactly like in the glasses in the image on the top of this post. 

OK, OK – not exactly the sexiest, most manly tint on the face of the planet – but for the enormous difference in eye comfort and reading speed that I got with the lenses, I was incredibly happy.

I said goodbye to Kirstie, and set out for the next step – finding the ultimate pair of frames to send to her so that she could get my new custom colored lenses cut and fit to my exact frame specifications.

Enter ADS Sports Eyewear.

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Where To Get Your Own Custom Frames

ADS Sports Eyewear is an optician owned and operated online company specializing in prescription sports sunglasses. They utilize the latest prescription technology called Free-Form Digital Surfacing, which allows for way more clarity in wraparound sports sunglass frames, and Lenticular Free-Form, which makes it possible to put stronger prescriptions in almost any prescription sunglasses without creating excessive thickness.

What all this means is that you can get distortion-free prescription vision in sports sunglasses, but you can get frames that don’t actually look like something your 80 year old Grandma would wear – like fashionable prescription Oakley sunglasses.

So I contacted Michael, the company’s marketing manager, and put him in touch with Kristie from Irlen so that we could figure out what type of frame would actually be compatible with my new set of Irlen lenses. It turned out that a matte black Oakley Crosshair 2.0 model did just the trick.

Next, I had the frames ordered and sent to Kirstie…

…then I simply sat back and waited like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.

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Summary

Within 2 weeks, the special package arrived.

I excitedly unwrapped it. Inside, in a soft, jet black cloth were my brand new set of vision, performance and sleep enhancing eyewear. Not only do they fit like a glove, but compared to any other blue-light blocking glasses, sunglasses or other eyewear I’ve ever tried, these things are amazing.

When I wear them while working at night, I sleep better as soon as I go to bed.

When I wear them while tracking objects, such as reading music or tracking a tennis ball, I see more clearly.

When I’m starting at a screen for a long period of time, I don’t get eye fatigue.

I read faster. I comprehend more of what I’m reading. I don’t get distracted while reading.

And while the entire process from start to finish was not exactly cheap (it was actually several hundred dollars once it was all said and done), this is a set of glasses I own for life. If they ever get destroyed or lost, Irlen still has all my custom lens info on file, so I can get another pair at a fraction of the cost.

So that’s it. If you like to own nice things and you want better vision, performance and sleep, then getting a custom set of Irlen lenses is a no-brainer. Start by:

1) Contacting an Irlen screener and diagnostician in your area.

2) Getting 15% off of your prescription order of frames or sunglasses when you use the code BGFit at ADS Sports Eyewear

Question, comments or feedback? Do have any “vision hacks” you’ve used to improve your vision, sleep, or mental acuity? Have you tried Irlen before, or Gunnar glasses, or anything else like this? Leave your thoughts below and I promise to reply!

How To Burn More Fat With Cold (And Bump Up Your Metabolism by 301%).

301fat

Can drinking a gallon of cold water each morning help you burn fat faster?

You bet.

So can cold-hot contrast fat burning showers, in which you shower for 5 minutes while turning the water for 20 seconds cool, 10 seconds warm…

So can keeping your house cool and sleeping without covers…

So can taking mile long walks in the cold in which you keep your whole body cold, except your face, hands and feet….

But in today’s video, you’re going to discover how to take burning fat with cold to an entirely new level.

Allow me to introduce you to Eric from CoolFatBurner.com.

Eric recently tested his entire metabolism and calorie burn at the “EPARC” lab – Exercise and Physical Activity Resource Center – at the University of California, San Diego. He video recorded the entire experience, in which he experienced acceleration of fat burning and ketosis, faster clearing of glucose from his bloodstream, and…

…a 301% increase in metabolic, calorie burning rate.

Check out the 20 minute video below. During the video, Eric is demonstrates some pretty cool fat loss biohacking gear. Pun intended.

If you want more resources on cold thermogenesis, then you’re in luck. In addition to today’s podcast, I’d highly recommend you check out the following:

The CoolFatBurner.com vest Eric wears during the video.

What Is A Body Cooling Device, and Does It Actually Work? (podcast)

How You Can Use Cold Thermogenesis To Perform Like Lance Armstrong And Michael Phelps (podcast)

Tips For Burning More Fat With Cold Thermogenesis (And Why Icing Really Does Work) (article)

The BenGreenfieldFitness Premium content, which features an absolutely mind-blowing 1 hour cold thermogenesis lecture and slides by Ray Cronise (podcast)

-The DeSoto Arm Coolers I’ll be sporting during Ironman Hawaii this year

Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Body book 

Questions, comments or feedback about the video or about how to burn more fat with cold? Leave your thoughts below.

The World’s Best Phone Apps For Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation.

Omvana-App

If you’ve ever wanted to sleep better, learn how to meditate, enhance your relaxation, or even delve in the world of cutting-edge mental techniques such as lucid dreaming and enhanced alpha brain wave activation, then today’s episode is for you!

Vishen Lakhiani is the founder and CEO of Mindvalley — a ground-breaking company comprised of innovators, artists, technologist and dreamers from over 30 countries around the world.

Vishen works with authors, thinkers, and leaders who have pioneered new ways of doing traditional things: parenting, entrepreneurship, spiritual growth, self-development and more. Mindvalley’s team of programmers and marketers then work to build the systems to take these ideas mainstream.

Resources we mention during this episode include:

-The meditation app Omvana

-The sleep app Dormio 

Lucid Dreaming

Binaural Beats

Om Harmonics

Six Phase Meditation video

And here’s one extra for you. I’ve personally been implementing both the MindValley apps and also a morning journaling technique from FiveMinuteJournal.com to enhance my relaxation, goal-setting and focus each day.

What about you? Do you meditate? Do you use these apps? What kind of questions do you have about sleep, meditation and relaxation? Leave your comments below!

 

5 Things I’m Packing For The Holidays To Keep Me From Getting Fat And Sick This Christmas.

Sweetbeat

Every year, my family packs up and heads to Moscow, Idaho, where we celebrate Christmas with extended family and friends…

…while stuffing our gullets full of holiday food and cheer (i.e. alcoholic beverages).

For example, on Christmas day, I will probably start the morning with eggnog and champagne…

…then move on to bacon, eggs and a variety of breakfast casseroles…

…followed by a second breakfast of waffles (gluten-free of course) and sausage, likely along with more booze …

…and then I’ll have just a couple hours to recover before indulging in a Christmas feast of meats, wines, cheeses and a wide assortment of very calorie rich hor d’ oeuvres drenched in butter and fatty sauces.

When the smoke has cleared, I’ll probably have consumed somewhere around 6000-8000 calories on Christmas day – much of it alcohol, fat and carbs.

And although you gotta “live a little” (as you learned in the article 3 Simple Big Meal Strategies To Maximize Fat Loss, Control Appetite and Limit The Damage From Overeating), this type of gluttonous scenario can cause:

-Increased blood insulin levels, which decreases fat mobilization and ability to burn fatty acids as a fuel.

-Increased storage of fat and carbohydrate and conversion of sugars into fats (even with a big meal as low as 750 calories).

-Increased sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity from a release of norepinephrine and epinephrine, which can significantly increase blood pressure.

-Increased percentage of energy coming from carbohydrate oxidation with a decreased percentage of energy coming from fat oxidation.

-Significant reduction in endothelial (blood vessel) function for up to 4 hours (even in healthy, low cholesterol subjects) due to big accumulation of circulating triglycerides.

Eggnog ingredients
Here’s a serving of eggnog, BEFORE any booze is added.

-Changes in the blood that allow it to clot more easily, combined with increased workload and blood flow to the stomach and intestines, thus raising the risk of heart attack.

-Clusters of solid food material that can get stuck in the narrow duct that connects your gallbladder to your intestine, causing potential for gallstones.

-And the list goes on and on…including increased inflammation from overstuffed fat cells, reduction in sensitivity to appetite control hormones, and large vacuoles of triglyceride based fat building up in the liver (fatty liver).

So in today’s post, I’m going to tell you the 5 things I’ll be packing when we head down to the family for the holidays to keep me from getting fat and sick. Let’s jump right into the first one (and even if you don’t have this stuff on hand, take some notes and hook yourself up with it for the next time of indulgence, for example, New Year’s!) – and as usual, I promise to answer any of your questions below the post, so fire away if you have thoughts or feedback as your read!

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