The Extreme Sport You’ve Probably Never Heard Of, And How You Can Use It’s Renegade Techniques To Become Superhuman.

how to freedive

While on assignment in Greece, journalist James Nestor witnessed something that confounded him: a man diving 300 feet below the ocean’s surface on a single breath of air and returning four minutes later, totally unharmed…

…and smiling.

This man was a “freediver”, and his superhuman abilities inspired James to seek out the secrets of the little-known discipline of free diving, and to write the new book, Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves.

In the book, he embeds with a gang of extreme athletes and renegade researchers who are transforming not only our knowledge of the planet and its creatures, but also our understanding of the human body and mind. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away through sonar, sharks that swim in straight lines through pitch-black waters using built-in, natural electromagnetic sensors, and seals who dive to depths below 2,400 feet for up to eighty minutes.

From each of these strange phenomena are, James shows how humans themselves could be capable of these remarkable feats such as extreme breath-holding, echolocation, and alternate forms of communication.

James has written for Outside Magazine, Dwell Magazine, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Men’s Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and more, and in today’s interview with James, you’ll learn:

-Why Olympic athletes are learning to hold their breath for more than 5 minutes

-How you can use something called “the Master Switch of Life” to enhance your heart and lung function…

-What you can train your body to do to survive as you dive to greater depths…

-A new form of air pressure equalization that allows you to go to incredible depths, and how to learn it…

-How to use breath-hold walks and other forms of dry land breath training to increase your oxygen capacity…

-Why WiFi routers and cell phones may actually be destroying your innate ability to sense your physical location on the planet…

-How you can learn to navigate without seeing and instead by using a built-in ability called echolocation…

-How you can learn to freedive…

Resources From This Episode

-The book Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves.

-Ted Hardy from Immersion Freediving who can teach you the Frenzel Technique on Skype.

-This Frenzel technique .pdf if you want to teach yourself.

-Performance Freediving International to learn how to freedive.

If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to start freediving, the book Deep, or anything else James and I discuss in the podcast, then leave them below.

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!

Why You Get Cancer And What You Can Do About It.

doran sheffer

A couple weeks ago, I caught a lot of online flak for publishing a controversial article about how professional basketball player Lebron James’ constant use of a cell phone held up to his head probably contributed heavily to his recent development of mouth cancer.

And then, just yesterday, here on my wellness visit to Israel, I visited the home of another professional basketball player – Doron Sheffer (the photo above is of me and Doron in his backyard garden as I interview him).

Doron was an amazing basketball player.

He was an achiever. A hard-charger. A professional person.

As a guard for the dominant college basketball team UConn, he fed the ball to star teammates like Ray Allen (recently with the NBA’s Miami Heat) and played for legendary coach Jim Calhoun. Sheffer averaged five assists and thirteen points per game, he hit 40 percent of his three-point attempts and he led the Uconn Huskies to a brilliant 89-13 record, along with NCAA tournament appearances in each of his three seasons.

He was the first Israeli ever drafted by the NBA (the Los Angeles Clippers selected him in the second round in 1996), but he instead signed a lucrative contract with the Israeli professional basketball team, Maccabi Tel Aviv – which he then led to four consecutive national championships.

But then Doron got cancer. Testicular cancer. All the tremendous pressure, tension, difficulties, frustrations pent-up emotions and stress from the life of a hard-charging professional athlete eventually built up inside him and culminated in disease.

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Stress Causes Cancer

Indeed, scientists have actually discovered that emotional stress similar to what Doron experienced can be a trigger for the growth of tumors. As a matter of fact, any sort of trauma, emotional or physical stress, can act as a literal pathway between cancerous mutations, bringing them together in a potentially fatal combination.

In other words, your risk for developing cancer can be positively or negatively affected by your emotional environment, including everyday work, physical, emotional and relationship stress.

Now here’s the deal: I’m personally a very hard-charging guy focused on personal and professional excellence in everything I do.

And as I noted to Doron in the audio that accompanies this article, I truly believe that unless you are able to relax, to breathe, to de-stress and to simply stop and smell the roses, you’re going to be the kind of person who eventually develops a disease that puts your fast-forward life into slow-motion.

So you have to put the brakes on before your body puts the brakes on and forces you to stop, perhaps with the flu, perhaps with back pain, or perhaps with cancer.

Make sense?

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How To Slow Down Before Your Body Forces You To Slow Down (Audio And Video)

The ultimate question is: how can you do this?

How can you slow down before your body forces you to slow down?

How can you somehow dig yourself out of a hole of a constant barrage of e-mails, text messages, phone calls, over-exercising, eating to train and training to eat, going to bed late, 24-7 self-quantified biohacking, trying to “have everything”, getting up early and still somehow managing to squeeze in some semblance of quality in your friend and family relationships?

This is exactly what Doron figured out, and this man’s new approach to life, his answers, and his new aura of peace and calm spoke heavily to me, which is why I’m now sharing his story with you. He defied conventional medicine and naturally healed his body of cancer, and his approach to life is now refreshing, relaxed and incredibly peaceful.

Myself and the team from Vibe Israel visited Doron at his peaceful home and private health resort “Hyuli” in Amirim, in the mountains of Northern Israel. Amirim was founded in 1958 as a retreat for vegetarians, and it now serves as a residence and hotspot for a community of aromatherapists, massage therapists, herb gardens, spas, a health food shop, an organic olive oil shop, art galleries, restaurants and wellness bed and breakfasts.

These mountains are where Doron reinvigorated his body and underwent his own “spiritual cleanse” after winning his battle against testicular cancer.

These mountains are also where Doron talked to us for 30 minutes about his new perspective on life – 30 minutes of some of the most valuable content you’ll ever listen to or watch (if you’re serious about living happy and disease-free).

Just do me a favor: don’t listen to or watch this one while you’re out pounding the pavement, punishing the gym, or doing hardcore intervals on your bicycle.

Instead, go sit in your backyard, or at the park, or in a comfortable chair in your living room and just breathe and soak in the message.

Ready?

Click here to listen to the audio of our talk with Doron, which was recorded in his backyard garden looking over the beautiful hills of Amirim, and eating organic figs, goji berries and sweet local almonds.

Click here for the video version, or watch below (video may not yet be fully uploaded as there is quite slow internet here in the northern mountains).

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Summary

So that’s it. 

What do you think after listening to the audio or watching the video?

What can you change in your own hard-charging life so that you can slow down before you’re forced to?

Leave your questions, comments and feedback below.

Click here to check out Doron’s private health resort, which is actually open for visitations and retreats for people who want to find the same kind of peace that Doron found, and engage in therapies like Tai Chi, Yoga, Qigong, farming, water treatment, solar healing and simply…playing.

5 Things You Can Learn From The Burgeoning Health, Wellness And Nutrition Scene In Israel.

Ben Greenfield Israel Dead Sea

Welcome to the official report from Israel, where my wife Jessa and I are touring with Vibe Israel, who have brought international on- and offline opinion leaders in health and nutrition on a weeklong personalized experience of the burgeoning wellness scene Israel, including us, Lee from FitFoodieFinds.com, Emily from ThisRawesomVeganLife.com and Kate from CookieAndKate.com.

If you haven’t yet discovered Israel as a country to add to your “must-visit” bucket list, you need to do it. Just check out Part 1: The Israman Triathlon and Ben Greenfield’s Fifteen Fun Facts About IsraelPart 2: Ben Greenfield Engages In Potent Anti-Aging Mediterranean Cuisine Face-Stuffing, and Part 3: Top 10 Tips For Racing Israman Triathlon for my reports from last year, during which I toured the fitness and exercise scene in Israel.

As you read, you’ll definitely want to click here tune in to the audio podcast episode that accompanies this episode, which has includes an audio version of the article you’re about to read, along with a bonus interview from the folks at Scio, the pocket molecular sensor I write about later in this article.

The audio is brought to you by Onnit, which is where I buy crazy equipment for my home gym like Zombie kettlebells, battle ropes and sandbags, along with tasty functional foods like Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Organic Raw Walnut Butter. Click here to check out Onnit and save 10%

OK, let’s jump into the top 5 things you can learn from the burgeoning health, wellness and nutrition scene in Israel (and by the way, the photo above is me covered in mud at the Dead Sea).

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1. Vegan Food Can Be Damn Tasty

On our very first evening in Tel Aviv, we stumbled upon “Mezze“, a unique vegan restaurant located in the heart of Tel Aviv. From roasted mushroom pate to organic rye and spelt bread to a “sabha” of hot black-eyed peas sautéed with tomatoes, garlic and cilantro on organic tahini (a rich and thick eggplant paste), we dined in style after a long day on the airplane.

But the highlight of the meal – by far – was the Mezze spin on “moussaka”- a traditional Greek dish made with layers of eggplant and potatoes with lentil and vegetable stuffing. This stuff literally melts in your mouth.

So I twisted the arm of chef Gal Barzilai, a vegetarian and wild plan expert since the age of 13, to hook us up with his custom recipe for moussaka. Here it is. Bon appetit, baby (or as they say here, “be’te-avon”).

Mezze Mussaka (as translated from Hebrew to English by Adi Kaplan). Click here to convert from metric to common.

Ingredients:

-700g chopped onion
-2 garlic cloves, crushed
-600g orange lentils (soaked/sprouted) – weight after straining and soaking
-1 kg mushrooms torn hand into small pieces
-100g walnuts + 50g cashew nuts soaked for 30 min in boiled water
-1/2 kg sweet potato peeled and thinly sliced
-30g sweet paprika
-1/4t hot paprika
-60g beets
-olive oil

Vegetables (for layering):
-1kg large potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise
-1 eggplant peeled “zebra” style, sliced thickly (1.5 cm)
-handful small tomatoes sliced pretty thick (1 cm)

Tahini (put all ingredients in a blender/hand blender; can also mix by hand):
-125g raw tahini
-150ml cold water
-1 garlic clove, crushed
-1T wine vinegar
-40ml lemon juice
-1/2t salt

Preparation:
1. Saute 600g onions in white oil (canola, grape seed) when starts to brown, add mushrooms and continue to sauté until nicely browned. Grind in a grinder (thickly, leaving small clump – if needed, add vegetable stock or water), then put aside to chill.
2. Put lentils, cashew and walnuts with the soaking water, final 100g raw onions, beets, 150ml water and both types of paprika in a food processor.
3. Brush potato and eggplant slices with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and put in the oven on very high heat

Putting it all together:
1. Brush a pan with a lot of olive oil
2. Layer very densely: eggplant slices, the mushroom/lentil mixture, potatoes, mushroom/lentil mixture, very little tahini, eggplant, thin layer of tahini and top it off with a very dense layer of tomatoes. Brush with olive oil

Bake in oven on 190 degrees Celsius for an hour. It is suggested to let the mussaka “rest” for an hour before serving.

moussaka

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 2. Dates Aren’t Just For Eating

The morning after our dinner at Mezze, we headed to the Dead Sea – an area well known for it’s extremely mineral-rich water – so mineral-rich, in fact, that it is nearly impossible to get your head under the water. You just…float. Here’s a video to show you what I mean:

Anyways, while at the Dead Sea, we visited The Synergy Spa at the Ein-Gedi Hotel. The spa is built on a hillside overlooking a the Dead Sea, and the spa facilities not only contain air saturated with oxygen, but also a bromine treated pool (which I’m floating in on the video above) filled with Dead Sea water.

My chosen treatment at Synergy was a “Date Wrap”, done with Ein Gedi date mud cream. Apparently, the same polyphenols and flavonoids that make dates such a dark and flavorful fruit also have anti-aging and nourishing properties for the skin. As I lay wrapped up and smelling like a giant human date, I was treated to a head and neck massage.

Time will tell if I actually look younger, but apparently this is one of the only places in the world where one can get rubbed down with dates. Eat your heart out, Robert Lustig.

Anyways, even though I couldn’t seem to find date mud cream for you anywhere, this spa did get me thinking about how you can saturate the air in your own house with oxygen, even if you can’t smear fruit on your own body. Here’s what I found:

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has looked into specific houseplants that can improve indoor air quality by absorbing environmental toxins and increasing oxygen levels.

Ferns, particularly the Japanese royal fern, not only release oxygen into the air but also absorb formaldehyde. The Boston fern adds both oxygen and humidity to indoor air. Gerbera daisy purifies and boosts the oxygen level of the air of your home while you sleep at night, making this a good choice for bedrooms. Other indoor plants considered highly efficient in oxygen production and air purification include heartleaf philodendron, snake plant, spider plant, Chinese evergreen and golden pothos.

So there you have it. NASA studies indicate that 15 to 18 plants in 6- to 8-inch-diameter pots will adequately increase the oxygen in the air in an 1,800-square-foot residential home. This translates to approximately one large potted plant or two smaller potted plants about every 100 square feet.

Now your home can be just like this fancy Dead Sea spa (and here’s a photo of me inside this gorgeous spa).

DSC_1417

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3. You Can Put Coconut Milk In Your Cocktails

Yes, you simply must drink some alcohol while in Israel.

I of course, have been, every night.

Here’s an idea of the crazy cocktail concoctions I was served just last night at the famous Taizu Asian Fusion restaurant (this is an advantage of being a blogger – they just brought me a sample platter of cocktails).

-Hendrix Masala: Gin Hendrix, Campari, Sake, Red Vermouth, Masala Tea

-Lady Gin: Gin, Chartreuse, Cucumber, Fresh Lime, Ginger

-Red Old Sage: Sage, Stolichnoya, Pomegranate, Ginger

-Green Tai: Stoli, Sake, Litchi, Cream, Green Tea

-Sharp Satori: Pineapple, Stolichnoya ginger, Remy Martin, Wasabi, Lemongrass

And my favorite…

-Punducherry: Strawberry Vodka, Vermouth, Coconut Milk, Lemongrass, Herbal Berries

With a mix of herbs, fresh muddled fruits and a few goodies thrown in like coconut milk and green tea, I actually wasn’t too guilty after indulging in this alcohol-infused sampling. Go ahead and try one of these recipes for yourself this holiday season (just be sure to detox afterwards).

This may come as no surprise to you if you listened to Podcast #267, in which we had the following conversation about the olive oil club I’m a member of and the olive oil martinis I make (read full transcript here):

Ben: …now, I actually I’m part of this club called the Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club. They send 3 bottles of olive oil to my house every quarter from like a different area in the world like Australia or Chile or this last one is from Italy.

Brock: You really know how to party, don’t you?

Ben: Well, that’s what I’m getting at. You can do olive oil tasting, it’s actually kinda interesting. It’s somewhere a wine and that you start to recognize the flavors and the aromas and whether an olive oil is herbaceous or sweet or smoky, etc. but you can also make drinks out of olive oil and what I’ll do is take a shot of olive oil and put that like in a martini shaker and then I’ll take a really nice vodka and put 1-2 shots of that in there, squeeze a lemon, do a little bit of olive juice, so it’s kind of like a dirty martini with a splash of olive oil and then I’ll just strain that into a martini glass, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on there, garnish with an olive and it’s olive oil vodka martini and it taste fantastic like the olive oil adds this splash of flavor that you don’t get in a regular martini and the mouth feel, like you’d think it be like oily but it’s actually got this really cool kinda mouth feel, it’s a very enjoyable drink. Anyone who hasn’t tried an olive oil martini before should try one.

So there you have it. Now you can add coconut milk into your cocktails too. L’chaim! (photo below is me with the other bloggers and my wife, washing down our cocktails with a tasty glass of Jordanian merlot)

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4. You Can Exercise Anywhere

When I’m traveling, I have standby workouts, and this trip to Israel is no exception.

For example, if I find a gym, I’ll often do my twist on a 5×5 workout – which is basically 5 sets of 5 repetitions of 5 different heavy lifting exercises. But I throw mobility and movement exercises in the 90 second to 2 minute recovery periods between each 5 rep lift, like this:

-5×5 Bench – Walking lunges while reaching for the sky (10 per leg) for recovery

-5×5 Barbell Back Squat – Bird Dog Opposite Arm-Opposite Leg Extensions (10/side) for recovery

-5×5 Power Clean – Ab Hollowing With Back On Ground With Deep Breathing (10 breaths) for recovery

-5×5 Deadlift – “Quiet” Box Jumps With Silent Landing (10 reps) for recovery

-5×5 Push Press – Bicycle Crunches (10/side) for recovery

If I’m limited to a hotel room workout, I’ll often strap on a Training Mask (use 20% discount code GREEN1) and do a body weight workout for 4-6 rounds like this:

-20x burpees

-10x lunge jumps for each leg

-20x MostFit suspension strap rows

-20x mountain climbers per leg

-60 second handstand hold against wall during recovery

And of course, just like Venice Beach and Miami, they have gyms along the beach here in Tel Aviv, so you can throw down a weight workout with the locals while you’re cycling or jogging on the boardwalk along the Mediterranean Sea. Incidentally, whether I’m traveling or I’m at home, I log every workout I do, 365 days a year, for all members of my Inner Circle (if you’re already an Inner Circle member, just visit the forum and click “Life Of Ben”).

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5. You Can Measure Anything. Really.

As you listen to the audio version of this article, you’re going to hear a special interview with a start-up located right here in the heart of Tel Aviv: SCiO.

SCiO is the world’s first portable molecular sensor that literally fits in the palm of your hand. It contains a tiny spectrometer and allows you to get instant information about the chemical make-up of just about anything around you, sent directly to your phone.

SCiO is based on near-IR spectroscopy analysis method. The physical basis for this method is that each type of molecule vibrates in its own unique way, and these vibrations interact with light to create its own unique optical signature.

The device includes a light source that illuminates the sample and an optical sensor (the spectrometer) that collects the light reflected from the sample. The spectrometer breaks down the light to its spectrum, which includes all the information required to detect the result of this interaction between the illuminated light and the molecules in the sample.

Normal spectrometers are big (about the size of a laptop) and expensive (tens of thousands of dollars). SCiO is unique as it is based on a tiny spectrometer, designed from the ground up to be mass-produced with low cost optics – with minimal compromise on the analysis capabilities.

So based on this technology, SCiO can actually read the chemical make-up of any materials around you, including food, plants, medication, oil and fuels, plastics and wood. For example, you can:

-Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food: salad dressings, sauces, fruits, cheeses, and much more.

-See how ripe an avocado is, through the peel.

-Find out the quality of your cooking oil.

-Know the well being of your plants.

-Analyze soil or hydroponic solutions.

-Authenticate medications or supplements.

-Upload and tag the spectrum of any material on earth to our database (including your own body).

Every time you use SCiO you actually help to build a database of knowledge about the stuff around us. The bigger the SCiO community gets, the more data SCiO will have about different materials and this goes right back to the community of users.

Check out the SCio Kickstarter project here, and listen to my podcast interview with the inventors here.

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Alright, that’s it for now…but more to come later, including information about a brand new startup that can analyze and give you instant nutritional facts on any recipe you find on any food blog or website, anywhere, and another startup that allows you to instantly check how polluted the air is where you’re at, and the “cleanest air” routes for running, hiking, or cycling. Stay tuned.

Shalom – and be sure to check out Onnit if you need killer fitness gear or functional foods that optimize performance, stay tuned for more on what you can learn from the wellness and nutrition scene in Israel, extra entertaining videos from this trip, and tips on taking your own to health and fitness vacation to Israel. In the meantime, leave your question, comments and feedback below!

photos by Or Kaplan

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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.

The Little Known Truth About Smart Drugs And Nootropics (Audio & Article)

smart drugs vs. nootropics

The following is a guest post by Dr. Andrew Hill, Lead Neuroscientist at truBrain. Click here for a fascinating audio podcast that accompanies this article. featuring Ben Greenfield and Dr. Hill.

Dr. Hill received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCLA in 2012, studying how attention operates in the brain. He has been employed as a Lecturer at UCLA over the past few years, teaching multidisciplinary courses on both Healthy Brain Aging and courses in Neuroscience and Psychology. Dr. Hill has published chapters on measuring and modulating human attention, and continues to research self regulation.

Prior to UCLA, Dr. Hill obtained extensive experience working with both psychiatric and developmental populations as well as gaining experience in high technology areas. He received his B.S. in Psychology/Neuroscience from UMass Amherst, and is a key adviser in the formulation of the truBrain’s cognitive blend (get 20% off on your purchase with the code BEN20).

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The Limitless Pill

In the 2011 movie Limitless, Bradley Cooper’s character gets his hands on a smart drug (NZT-48) that enables him to be cognitively super human.  

The only known side effect is that his eyes change color while he is on the drug, but that changes over the course of the movie as side effects, including withdrawal symptoms, begin to get worse and worse.  It’s a sci-fi thriller with a not-so-feel-good message about addiction and performance enhancing substances.  And goons chasing you.

Makes smart drugs sound dangerous, right?

Like any good sci-fi , this movie questions our assumption on the limits of science.  And some of what it is suggesting is not science fiction today. Smart drugs and nootropics are a current reality, being used more and more not to treat or remediate any active condition or complaint but towards boosting already typical or superior performance, in colleges, board rooms, military theatres, and by forward thinking gerontologists.

With the wide variety of compounds available today that have some research support for cognitive effects, it is important for you to understand the risks and benefits associated with usage, or at least how to choose smarter, when choosing things that affect your brain.

For example, one of the most popular misconceptions about smart drugs is that they are the same as nootropics.  This may be due to similar benefits that people use them for, but ultimately they do not share the same range of effects, mechanisms of action, safety and side effects.

So – what are smart drugs?  What are nootropics?  How do we know if something is safe or effective?  What are these drugs actually doing to my brain?  Why am I asking so many questions without answering them?  Keep reading to get this and more information you need to understand these questions, and start formulating your own answers – and your own strategies for selecting nootropics. 

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Smart Drugs vs. Nootropics

A smart drug is generally a prescribed medication or off-label drug used primarily to treat some kind of mental or cognitive disorder.

The most common are drugs such as Adderall (dextroamphetamine) or Ritalin (methylphenidate) in the stimulant class used to treat symptoms related to ADHD – although legal and illegal off-label use is rampant.  And while they may promote focus and energy in some people, others have dramatic side effect, to body and brain.  Smart drugs in the stimulant class also tend to be reinforcing, producing spikes in dopamine and norepinephrine.

This leads to tolerance and habit formation, including adverse effects on appetite, mood stability, cardiac function, stress levels and possibly many other unwanted effects – especially on younger brains such as teens and young adults.  Irritability and mood swings, anxiety, sleep issues, and other forms of emotional or cognitive regulation problems can crop up over time with stimulant use, as well.

A popular atypical stimulant “smart drug” includes the narcolepsy agents Modafinil / Adrafinil, although their effects on cognition beyond wakefulness are unproven, and side effects – while rare – can be life threatening.  If attention problems are already present the side effect risk appears to be significant increased, as well. (Kumar, (2008), Approved and Investigational Uses, Drugs. 68(13):1803-39.).

In contrast to a smart drug, a nootropic is generally a non-prescribed compound, including vitamins, herb, other supplements, natural or synthetic compound that may increase or protect cognition in some way.  The preponderance of research in the past 40 years shows some effects on focus, attention, effects on aging, and possibly cellular metabolism.

To paraphrase the definition of “nootropic” as initially coined in this article by the researcher Girugea in 1972, it is something that improves cognition without appreciable side effects, or provides from protection to the brain.

In a modern context we think of nootropics as something used not to treat any mental condition or pathology directly, but instead to provide support to peak function, protect against long term risk, and provide daily boost.  Across the field, true nootropic ingredients and full blends can now be found largely sourced from natural ingredients.  Nootropic blends are designed to leverage synergy effects suggested in the research and subjective experiences.   The goals with nootropics should always be to allow for greater and more consistent cognitive effort and flow, without the side effects of a stimulant or other harsh substance.

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How Do I Know If A Smart Drug Is Safe?

As a rule of thumb, it is the nature of science to be wrong at times.  

We’ve come a long way since we accepted that the theory behind the Earth being the center of the universe was wrong.  We understand that new research may overturn old knowledge.  So how can we truly know the risks and benefits of long term use of nootropics or smart drugs?

A red flag in understanding the harm of a substance is the body’s ability to handle an overabundance of this substance.  Small amounts of toxic substances may be beneficial in the short term, but the magic happens when we look at what is happening in the body when we get too much.  Something as simple as a cup of coffee may seem harmless, but caffeine in high amounts can cause dizziness, anxiety, and even cardiac arrest or death.  Caffeine mimics the action of the neuromodulator adenosine in the body.  This leads to higher adrenaline and cortisol levels.

Even in typical doses caffeine can deeply affect our sleep and cause heart arrhythmias for some people.   Alcohol has even worse short and long term toxicity symptoms at non-moderate doses, and some people struggle to keep their dosing moderate.  In better doses – perhaps a couple cups of coffee a day (without sugar) and a drink or so per day on average, these substance are actively health promoting, and reduce risk for many brain and cardiac diseases.  When you are picking substances and compounds, dosing should be cautious at first.

From this, a couple rules come out –

1) don’t take any compounds, substance, or blends of substances that don’t list all their ingredients out in plain amounts.  

Proprietary blends with lump-sum amount hiding buzzword-compliant list of magical ingredients known as “fairy dusting” in the supplement industry.

Don’t be fooled.

Read the ingredients.

Figure out why and what is in there, and if you want it.

2) don’t chase suspicious research chemicals without much history of use or safety profile.  

Experiment on yourself if you like, but you only have one brain – make rational and cautious choices.  There are nootropic, smart drug, and cognitive enhancers that have been around for decades – something released last week as a “Research Chemical” with a bunch of numbers and letters for a name and no human studies isn’t worth the risk to you.  Not for years.

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What About Adderall & Modafinil Safety?

Smart drugs such as Adderall can cause dangerous lows, psychosis with extreme use, rebound fatigue, and depression, even at lower use levels.  As an amphetamine, Adderall can act as a reuptake inhibitor, meaning that it can compete with other neurotransmitters for reuptake.

Specifically it is thought to block the uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are associated with reward behaviors and our nervous system functions, respectively.  This causes a flood of these neurotransmitters onto multiple receptors, causing neurotransmitter depletion and overexcited receiving neurons.  This large “signal” is the reason for the focus, but also responsible for some of the side effects that go along with this class of prescription drugs.  Existing research is also a bit weak on any improvement that Adderall or other stimulants may have on short term memory or cognitive function, and some actually may impair function.

Modafinil, also known as Provigil, is an example of a smart drug that has been used like a nootropic.  Modafinil is prescribed to treat sleep disorders, but when combined with a normal functioning brain, can potentially cause increases in cognition and awareness.

Just like Adderall, the use of these drugs outside the medical field does not make them a nootropic.  Modafinil is also a reuptake inhibitor for dopamine, causing the same type of neurotrasmitter flood as Adderall.  However, Modafinil may also affect the histaminergic pathway, which deals with wakefulness and the delicate immune response of the body.  Histaminergic neurons in the brain are more active during wakefulness and slow their firing pattern as we rest or sleep.

Modafinil’s “beneficial” side effects may come from this heightened histaminergic neuronal activation, but too much activation can cause apoptosis, or cell death.  In addition, this has been shown to cause adverse skin reactions that required hospitalization since the histamine pathway also deals with our immune system.  Modafinil may increase your intelligence, but can be extremely dangerous to the health of your brain and body.

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Enter Nootropics

Nootropics, like truBrain’s cognitive blend, and a few other products on the market, have dose-toxicity levels much lower than salt, caffeine, and especially Adderall.  

There doesn’t seem to be any neurotransmitter depletion, tolerance or habit forming potential, adverse body side effects, or impaired brain function, from most true nootropics, by Girugea’s definition.  The mechanisms for nootropics lie within the structural connectivity of the brain, the optimization of blood flow and oxygenation, and the fortification of brain regions over long term consistency.  Nootropics act more as a super supplement to protecting the brain.  Girugea’s own first synthesized nootropic (in 1964) is still in use today and has been shown to have effects on mitochondrial metabolism, cell membrane fluidity, and functional connectivity in the brain.

Piracetam is this poster child for nootropics, and one of the main ingredients in truBrain nootropic blends. It is one of the only compounds used in that formulation that can not be found in nature, however it was originally derived from – and has structural similarities to – the neurotransmitter GABA.

Since Girugea bought piracetam to light in 1964, there has been lots of research to support the benefits of piracetam.  It has been shown to positively affect our cell membranes and to have neuroprotective and pro-metabolism effects on cells.  The fluidity in our membranes changes with stress and old age, as well as moment to moment as one method of regulating receptor activity. By keeping our membranes healthy we can promote the cells ability to communicate.

For example, truBrain combines other membrane oriented supplements – including choline. The cell membrane – especially in the brain – relays ongoing control signals and messages from other cells to the inner processes of the cell.  Neurons’ membranes in the axon (wiring) and soma (cell body) help generate and propagate electrical signals, sum distant signals, and even have computational and complex learning functions related to changes in membrane function.  Healthier and more active cell membranes bring us increased activity and cell communication, and hopefully better cognition.

Piracetam along with other truBrain ingredients such as magnesium, choline, and DHA, increases in brain plasticity and are designed to improve cognition and efficiency under processing load – or peak performance, versus remediation.  Nootropics may support increased cognitive potential as well as long term protection.  The truBrain team added L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine to support neurotransmitters of GABA and Dopamine, respectively.

You can use a similar or different strategy when building your own nootropic regimen, but use a strategy.  Know why you are putting an ingredient in, know how it might interact with the others, and be sure that dosing is safe.

When you are planning your nootropic or nutraceutical regimen, think in terms of nutrition support to cell metabolism and function, amino acids, natural or near-natural compounds, and avoid bad fats and harsh chemicals that give a momentary boost at the cost of later crashing or having other more serious side effects, such as excess sugars and caffeine.

And don’t forget what else you put in your mouth – additional DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids (in grass fed meats, deep sea fish) are excellent for brain health. Craft your diet like you craft your brain supplement regimen – or have both catered / curated for you in a high end product.  If you do create your own blend, think precise selection, not shotgun approach, and add slowly to your regimen.

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The Problem With Instant Gratification

As a culture, we often hear false marketing claims or create mindsets about what is possible with our health.  

We see ads that advertise a pill that gets rid of “stomach fat fast”.  Truthfully, fat is lost uniformly in the body and the fastest and healthiest way to lose weight it about 1-2 pounds uniformly a week.  So we eat poorly and don’t exercise for 2 years and then criticize our healthy workout plans and diet 1 month in when we don’t get the results we want.

The healthiest and most effective things in life are often the ones that we do routinely.  Consistency is key.  This is true if you are talking about athletic performance, academic or intellectual training, or nutrition and supplement support.  While not “necessary” like supplements or medicines, nootropic use follows this principle as well.  There is another rule, emerging.

If something is strongly “felt” dose to dose – if it gets you high, or wired, or sedated…it’s a smart drug, recreational drug, or something that may enhancing some aspect of performance (perhaps at the expense of another), but is definitely not a nootropic.  And finally, nootropics should be sustainable.

With some nootropics there is an initial loading phase followed by a maintenance phase, and while subtle, results can be felt fairly quickly on the timescale of a few days.  The contrasting quick highs / crashes of coffee, alcohol, smart drugs, and even quickly digesting carbs are definitely experienced more immediately, but have consequences that make them unsustainable for many people.

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Summary

So in summary – here are a few initial rules to help select your own nootropic or cognitive enhancing blend:

  • Know your ingredients, and their amounts.
  • Don’t spend your money on obfuscate fairy dusting or expensive blends that are full of caffeine or random research chemicals.
  • It’s not a nootropic if it has side effects.
  • Your nootropic solutions should focus on mild nutritive and metabolic support, for long term gains and protection.  Break the cycle peak and crash that you get with too many stimulants, and avoid the more serious side effects that you risk with smart drugs.
  • Nootropics don’t get you high, altered, or wired.

And don’t forget the other accessible and evidence-based brain and cognition improving methodologies we have at our disposal today: meditation, yoga, and other contemplative (attention training) practices, biofeedback and neurofeedback, diets high in good fats, and other modifiable behaviors you can implement to take control of your brain health and performance.

So take care of your brain – the tools are out there, to support health and shift performance.

Leave your questions, comments and feedback below. Also, if you want to try the nootropic that Dr. Hill helped design, grab truBrain and get 20% off on your purchase with the code BEN20.

Part 2: 67 Steps to Getting Anything You Want Out of Life Health, Wealth, Love, & Happiness with Tai Lopez

MeetTai

Welcome to Part 2 of this special podcast series, in which you get to sit in and listen to Tai Lopez coach Ben Greenfield (and you!) using the strategies from Tai’s online video series “67 Steps to Getting Anything You Want Out of Life Health, Wealth, Love, & Happiness“.

You can listen to Part 1 here.

In this episode, Ben and Tai talk about how to know when you’re actually making enough money, and when you can stop focusing on income, start focusing more on life, love and happiness, and how to strike the ideal balance between being overambitious and underambitious.

Books and resources Tai and Ben discuss in this podcast:

Finding your strengths/personality tests:

1. If you’re an Entrepreneur or are thinking of becoming one, this book and psychology test is best fitted.

2. If you’re a leader or an active member in a team, this book and psychology test is best fitted.

3. If you work a regular job or you want to know how to apply your personal strengths in your everyday life, this is the book and test for you.

 

-The online Meyers-Briggs personality analysis

-Joel Salatin’s books and resources

-Book: The Snowball: Warren Buffet and The Business Of Life

-Book: A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers From Warren Buffett

-Book: The Five Love Languages

-Tai’s Millionaire Mentor program

-Tai’s online video series: 67 Steps to Getting Anything You Want Out of Life Health, Wealth, Love, & Happiness

Do you have question, comments or feedback? Leave your thoughts below.

The Five Best Supplements and Foods to Increase Sexual Performance.

pine-pollen

If your reproductive system is working at top-notch capacity, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re fit on the outside and fit on the inside.

So a good sex life and strong sex drive is very intimately (pun intended, of course) tied to your fitness levels.

And that is why we sometimes feature articles about sex, libido and relationships.

The following such article is written by my friend Jordan Gray, bestselling author of multiple relationship, sex and dating books, and a guy who drastically improved my own married sex life. Enjoy, leave your comments and questions below the post, and be sure to check out Jordan’s books on Amazon.

By the way, if you don’t like frank and explicit talk about sex, then you may just want to skip this article.

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I did an interview called “How To Get Fit For Sex” with Ben Greenfield a few months ago – and he asked me something that rattled around in my head for a while after our call.

At the end of our bad-ass hour long interview about how to get fit for sex, he asked me if I had experimented with any foods, supplements, or other magic potions to increase sexual performance. And up until that point, I hadn’t.

This set me on a three-month-long test to see how much I could dial up my libido, sexual performance, and erectile strength for the better.

Basically, I became a human guinea pig… for sex. Okay, I’ll admit – that sounded stranger than I intended it to.

I have certainly written in the past on how to last longer, how to dial up the sexual polarity in your relationship, how to sexually strengthen yourself, and how ejaculating too much can drain you… but this was the first time that I had tested the idea that slightly shifting your diet could positively affect your sex life.

The results, at times, were pretty intense (read: extremely, overwhelmingly intense).

Now – keep in mind that I did not have my testosterone levels checked out by a doctor at any point in this process. This was not a scientific method. I was going strictly by how sexually voracious I felt (a fancy way to say horny), how often I woke up with nocturnal penile tumescence (aka NPT, aka morning wood), and how intense and long lasting my erections were throughout the day when I wasn’t engaging in any sexual activity.

With that in mind, I did control my exposure to each substance/dietary change by only doing one thing at a time. And then at the end I did all of the things all at once (it gets pretty funny… you’ll see soon).

I’m giddy writing this article right now. Over the past three months, my sex drive (and presumed testosterone levels) had a gradual and steady increase, which then culminated in a couple weeks where it was absolutely TOO much.

With a higher sex drive, you can open your woman sexually with more ease, and have more confidence in your sexual abilities.

So without further delay, here are the biggest lessons that I learned from three months of biohacking my sex life with supplements and minor dietary changes.

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1. Remove toxins from your home environment and self-care regimen

One of the first things that I learned the importance of was removing toxins from my home and self-care regimen.

In my off-call conversation with Ben Greenfield, he told me about the importance of removing harmful chemicals from my household. Any unnatural cleaning products (whether I cleaned my stove or my face with them) would harm my sleep and therefore interfere with my testosterone production. And remember, testosterone is the sex and aggressions hormone and is absolutely critical in increasing your sex drive.

Ben’s article How To Detox Your Home deep-dives into the details and science of the matter.

So I got rid of all of the soaps, moisturizers, and others things that had parabens, aluminum, and other harmful chemicals in them that plugged up my body and interfered with my natural hormonal process. I also turned off my WiFi router and cell phone at night so that the EMF waves weren’t dancing around in my bedroom/home.

Whether it was strictly a placebo effect or not, I felt a noticeable difference in my sex drive within the first two weeks of cutting out all of the dyed/perfumed soaps and products from my house. And I was fully single during this time so I knew that the boost in libido wasn’t the rush of a new relationship that was giving me a surge in sex drive.

I truly believe that without detoxing my personal hygiene routine (I personally started using this soap and this deodorant to great effect and cut out every product from my self-care routine) the rest of the steps ahead wouldn’t have done nearly as much. The pathways to increased T-levels would have been blocked by the offending toxins and chemicals in my body.

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2. Your diet matters

Eating clean, real foods, getting regular exercise, and having a full night’s sleep all contribute to your hormonal balance and testosterone production.

I’m going to skip all of the science that I found in books like this (my favourite book on the subject), and this (my second favourite book on the subject), and give you the cliffs notes of the 30+ hours of private study that I did to find out exactly what foods lead to higher testosterone levels.

Specific foods/kinds of foods to limit your intake of: sugar, caffeine, white flour, excessive starchy carbohydrates.

Best foods to consume for testosterone production: zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B, flaxseed oil, nettle root, celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, radish, oatmeal (rolled oats/steel cut oats), garlic, pine nuts, eggs, broccoli, blackberries and blueberries (berries in limited amounts). Incidentally, the multivitamin that Ben now recommends does actually contain most of these compounds.

The more dark and colourful vegetables you consume, and the less processed crap you eat, the happier your body will be, and the healthier your sex drive will be.

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3. Increase Your Intake Of Healthy Fats

As an add-on to the limiting of sugars, white flour, and starchy carbs, ensuring that your diet has an ample amount of polyunsaturated and saturated fats will help in your testosterone production.

Examples of recommended foods containing healthy fats? Coconut oil, raw nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds), grass-fed lean meat, avocados, olives and olive oil, and organic butter.

In the most intense phase of my diet-focused testosterone boosting I drank an organic raw egg before bed every night for a week (testosterone is derived from cholesterol… which eggs have in spades) and I woke up with insane morning wood every morning without fail. From making sure that I consumed some cholesterol and healthy fat before bed I noticed that I recovered more quickly from my workouts and my sex drive had a big shot in the arm.

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4. Some books have much more useful information than others

There are a ton of resources out there on increasing testosterone naturally, and to be honest, they’re full of fluff stories and dry-sounding science. Stuff that I’m sure is all reputable and true, but it’s insanely boring (to me at least).

The three best books that I found on the subject (that were value dense, and also had a tone of voice that didn’t totally talk over my head) were The Natural Testosterone Plan, Testosterone For Life, and Clean. You can dig into those if you feel so compelled.

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5. Pine Pollen

Remember earlier in the article where I mentioned that there came a time where I had stacked so many things that my sex drive started to become unbearably high? Well this last step was the force multiplier that took everything in high gear.

So by this point I had cleaned out/detoxed my body and home environment, limited foods that I knew were bad for me, increased my overall vegetable and healthy fat intake, and was getting better sleep more regularly.

I consulted with one of my friends who just recently turned 40 and he could pass for a jacked 30 year old. The guy is buff… as in, you can always see his veins even when he’s sitting and calmly reading a book. But he’s a vegetarian/organic loving guy who would never touch any kind of pharmaceutical drugs (so he wasn’t taking steroids or anything artificial like that). I asked him what his secret was… and he told me “pine pollen.”

I’d never heard of pine pollen before embarking on this journey, but now that I have I’m never going back.

My friend informed me that pine pollen wouldn’t take my testosterone levels PAST what was a good baseline for what my body wanted to produce, but it would feel like I had a major boost in libido because my body was likely drastically below what it wanted to be (from general poor diet or chronic stress/poor sleep, etc.)

The science behind pine pollen is still shaky at best but apparently the story goes that it is a natural phyto-androgen (which is a fancy way of saying tree sperm). It is also a complete protein, and is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is available in tablet or tincture form, but the tincture form is recommended only for men middle-aged and older, while the tablet can be taken by younger men, women, children, and the aged. Of course, anyone with a pine pollen allergy should avoid both forms.

Long story short, I started taking pine pollen tablets three times a day. My reasoning went like this “This product is probably just a natural health product that does very little, so let’s see what happens when I start off by taking the full dose… probably nothing.”

And I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The next morning I woke up with a raging erection like someone had slipped Cialis into my mouth while I was asleep.

The effects compounded over the next ten days as I continued the dosage at the full level. I told myself that I would give each phase of my T-boosting tests two weeks each (to really see if each phase made a difference), and the pine pollen phase was the only one that I had to cut short because it was too intense.

I could barely concentrate on anything. Every woman that walked by me looked amazing. Sex was on my mind constantly (and I have a relatively low sex drive normally so this was totally out of the ordinary for me).

After ten days of the fourteen day test, I cut my dosage back to half of the recommend amount and I felt much more like a human being again (and less like an animal).

The happy medium that I have found throughout this process is that I have continued to limit simple sugars, alcohol, and caffeine, make sleep a priority, eat more healthy fats, and take the pine pollen dosage just a few days per week. My sex drive has never been more steady, strong, and balanced, and I have more drive and motivation day to day.

Summary

So to wrap things up – start by cutting out the parabens and heavy metals in your self-care products, stop eating food that you know is bad for you, eat more healthy fats, get a good sleep, and if you’re going to experiment with any supplements, try out pine pollen tablets.

Questions, comments or feedback about these five best supplements and foods to boost sexual performance? Leave your thoughts below!

P.S. I didn’t experiment with any prescription drugs (like Cialis, Viagra, Levitra, etc.) during this process because that wasn’t the point of the exercise. I wanted to see if I could naturally boost my sex drive and re-balance my hormones without using drugs. I wasn’t opposed to natural health products like pine pollen, but any drug that I had to get a prescription for was off limits.

How To Find Nutrient-Dense Wild Edibles And Medicinal Plants In Your Own Backyard.

wlld plants

Ever wished you knew if you had plants in your backyard that you could actually eat – plants that might even be good for you, save you money grocery shopping, heal you, provide you with nutrient density and more?

Or maybe you just want to know how to survive in the wilderness for a few days on your own.

The fact is, if you know what to look for, you can find a wealth of edible and medicinal plants all around you. You just need to know where to look, and which plants to avoid so that you don’t poison yourself.

Not only that, but you can also survive in the wilderness with just a few primitive skills – fewer than you’d think.

In this podcast, I interview Tim Corcoran, an expert on wilderness survival, permaculture, edible wild plants and more. Tim is co-director of Twin Eagles Wilderness School · Nature & Wilderness Survival School, an organization he co-founded with his wife, Jeannine Tidwell in Sandpoint, Idaho (located about an hour from my house. Tim is a certified Wilderness First Responder, a graduate of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, and a graduate of the Vermont Wilderness School’s five-year Apprenticeship Program.

During this episode, we discuss:

-3 wild edibles you can find in your own backyard…

-Two crucial wilderness survival skills that everyone should know…

-How you can quickly die if you don’t have the right mindset going into a wilderness survival situation…

-Why we’ve lost our sense of tribe and community and what we can do about it…

-How to go through a rite of passage…

-Why you should know Gilbert Walking Bull’s “Seven Sacred Attributes“…

-And much more!

Click here for the YouTube videos that accompany this episode, click here to grab the free e-book that Tim is offering on “Top 10 Edible Wild Plants”, and leave your questions, comments and feedback about wild edibles and medicinal plants below!

Did Lebron James’ Cell Phone Give Him Mouth Cancer?

Le-Bron

A few weeks ago, I published the video “7 Ways To Reduce Electrical Pollution In Your Office“, and a couple weeks ago, the article “Is Your Mattress Killing You?”. Both addressed the concerning topic of what modern electronic signals are doing to our health.

Now i’s time to dig even deeper. The following guest post comes from Evan Brand, host of the “Not Just Paleo” podcast. Evan recently recorded a groundbreaking interview entitled “EMF Solutions And How To Mitigate Cell Phone And Home Risks“, and it was so compelling, I asked him if he could expound upon it in this article. This is indeed a controversial topic, so if you have your own thoughts, comments or feedback, them leave them below this post.

Take it away, Evan…

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Even if you aren’t an avid gossip magazine reader, surely you’ve heard about some of the extreme measures that celebrities are now taking for their health. Angelina Jolie and her breast removal surgery was the catalyst for me to dig deeper into the lives of celebrities and the things they promote.

Oftentimes, celebrity health issues simply don’t make sense. Their “random health problems” just seem so, well…random…and out of the blue to the general public.

But I am here to tell you these random health problems are not really random at all.

In this article, you’ll learn about why Lebron James’ salivary gland tumor really happened (Lebron recently underwent a 5 hour surgery to remove his tumor). While the consensus that most mouth tumors are benign, that didn’t seem to be the case for poor Lebron.

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Salivary Gland Tumors Entering the Mainstream

More celebrities than just Lebron James have been dealing with salivary or parotid gland tumors. For examle, John McCain and Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys are two more famous cases of salivary gland tumors. Unfortunately, Adam Yauch lost his life due to his tumor at the age of 47 years old.

So why are these tragedies happening? What is it that politicians, basketball players and musicians have in common?

Just think about it:

They frequently travel and expose themselves to radiation, both in the airport and on planes.

They are in high demand by others which often calls for extremely frequent cell phone use.

They are celebrities – there’s simply far less time to turn off and decompress, destress or detoxify.

So is their excessive cell phone use – along with these other damaging life variables – causing their tumors? Although a one study found that short-term use of cell phones did not lead to an increased risk of salivary gland tumors, the authors were unsure of the long-term risks. Another study found no increase in risk for brain tumors after short-term cell phone use, but said they are “waiting for long-term studies to surface”.

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Is Cell Phone Danger Just A Conspiracy Theory?

Do these studies sound a bit like the relaxed attitude towards leaded gasoline or cigarettes when they began? Scientist Clair Patterson was living in fear each day due to the mass poisoning that lead was causing in cities with cars and to the health of the ocean. The lead concentration levels in the oceans were rising and were directly correlated from leaded gasoline. The gasoline industry didn’t want to hear it. After all, it was big business, and big business is big money.

However, the gasoline companies later hired other scientists to attempt to disprove and convince the public that leaded gasoline was really safe. The full account of this story is shown in Neil Tyson’s TV series called Cosmos. In my opinion, it’s a must watch episode for every citizen of the planet.

But back to cell phones.

There are scientists, politicians and average everyday people like myself who are concerned about the billions of cell phones that are being produced and used each day on this planet. Why haven’t we questioned or paused for a moment to ask how these things may be affecting us on the cellular level? I forgot about the power of money, I suppose. The tech industry is one of the few industries that has boomed in the global recession. It would be catastrophic to the world economy if we were just to abandon the cell phone industry. And besides, we are far too addicted to our tech toys to leave them behind.

If we keep assuming everything is safe until proven dangerous (pesticides, GMO’s), we will lead ourselves into human extinction. Scientists have long documented the decline in life expectancy in the 21st century here. It’s no surprise to those of us that are aware of the multi-faceted toxic world we live in. Without the ability to detoxify or find nurturing foods, it’s no surprise when we look at the statistics. And when you add in cell phone towers every 200 yards throughout the city, along with WiFi centers spreading like some sort of bacteria, you can really begin to grasp the scale of this issue.

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Straying Away From Nature

There’s a reason you feel more at ease when you are immersed in nature. As someone who spent a lot of time building hiking trails and working in fields in an area with zero cell phone towers, I can tell you that my anxiety and breathing issues are much more relaxed when I’m in those natural environments. When it comes to stress, there are certainly many factors at play, but EMF is a big factore.

As Ben points out in the well-researched article “How To Detox Your Home“, exposure to EMF has been linked to headaches, fatigue, depression, hyperactivity, eye strain, muscle cramps or twitches, poor sleep quality due to reduced melatonin secretion (as stated by the Bioinitiative Report), anxiety, autism, blood-brain barrier permeability, blood sugar dysregulation and heart palpitations.

And this isn’t just cell phones we’re talking about. I must point out that there is more than just one type of damaging electromagnetic field (EMF), including:

-Radiation frequency, WiFi, cell phone and cell towers coming from your home, public transit, airplane, environment and anywhere where a large group of people with tech gadgets congregate.

-Dirty electricity coming from appliances near your bedroom, fuse boxes, smart meters, hair dryers, televisions, power lines, light fixtures, microwaves and other electronics. You can test anything with your Trifield meter. The safe limit is 1mG.

-Non-native magnetic fields from extension cords, power outlets, some electronics and metal bed frames.

Perhaps you’re getting the idea why the massive post-industrial surge in cancer rates is not just limited to mouth cancer. It’s affecting every cell in our entire body – above and beyond simply our heads.

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But WiFi Is Just So Cool!

Even if you’re not personally much of a “cell phone person”, the pervasiveness of WiFi should be concerning to you.

Here in Austin, Texas, the public transit sector has put a huge marketing campaign into promoting their new buses that contain the fastest WiFi. Companies are creating entire businesses based around in-flight WiFi to satisfy our need to conduct “important business” from the airplane.

But has no one realized that buses and airplanes are essentially metal, enclosed microwave boxes? We are simply stuffed inside of them like a TV dinner waiting to explode!

A recent story I overheard at the airport was about the number of tech gadgets each person was carrying. People now have a smartphone, tablet, laptop and usually a few more random electronic “toys”. Take those three gadgets – multiplied by a flight of 150 people who do not follow the “airplane mode” rule – and you have 400+ devices bouncing signals around an airplane cabin.

There should be an immediate requirement and stricter enforcement against devices not put in airplane mode until further studies can disprove the evidence against our health. But I doubt this will happen. Skeptics or people who have no clue about this subject simply want to conduct business and play with their toys – optimizing productivity or being plugged into the world over health. I personally make ever effort possible to travel on airplanes and transit systems that do not have these features available.

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Kids Are At Risk Too

When I was in school, cell phones and WiFi wasn’t pervasive in the school system. I was safe. But now, 5 year old kids are taking smart phones to school and are sitting in a WiFi bath throughout the enitre day. Almost anyone who has raised a child is aware that a child’s skulls is not as dense as an adults, so they have less protection against these invisible forces.

This article quoted The Council of Europe Parliament, who looked at evidence of these technologies and the potential harmful effects on humans and concluded that “immediate action is required to protect the children”.

The Council proposed putting the following measures into place:

Set thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves of the type emitted by mobile phones;

Introduce clear labeling on products indicating the presence of electromagnetic fields and any health risks associated with use;

Ban all mobile phones and wireless networks in classrooms and schools;

Run information campaigns aimed at children and young adults about the risks to human health;

Step up research on less-dangerous types of antennae and mobile phones.

Dang. Hopefully America catches up soon.

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What’s Next?

Although the World Health Organization still has a conservative stance on cell phones, cell towers and electromagnetic radiation, they too point to the fact that these 4G advanced technologies have not been around long enough to see the full effect on society. I personally expect their stance to begin to change as the evidence continues to pile up.

On episode 86 of my podcast, I’ve had one of the most respected EMF experts discuss some of the implications and clinical research on this topic in his career as an M.D. Dr. Samuel Milham also authored the book Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization. I’ve also talked with Ann Louise Gittleman on episode 87. She is the author of Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution.

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What You Can Do

Fortunately, there are action steps you can take right now to ensure you’re not swimming in the same EMF filled soup that Lebron James’ head has been exposed to for so long. Ben has discussed many of these solutions in detail in his “How To Biohack The Ultimate Healthy Home” e-book, but here’s a quick list to get you started:

  1. Turn off at night or completely remove or disable WiFi from your home and hardwire your computer. I’ve noticed faster recovery, deeper and more restful sleep accompanied by an increase in dreams and dream recall.
  2. Use antennasearch.com when you’re moving to a new location or planning to build a home. Pick the location with minimal or no towers whenever possible.
  3. Avoid holding your cell phone right up to your head when talking. Use the speakerphone or hold the phone away from your head while turning up your volume.
  4. Avoid cell phone use in the car or put it on airplane mode.
  5. Do not use bluetooth headsets. Only use air-tube headsets (Ben discusses them in this article).
  6. Turn off the breaker to your bedroom at night if you’ve got access to the breaker box.
  7. Use a Trifield meter or even a Lapka device to survey your work area and home for unsafe levels of magnetic fields.
  8. Use Dirty Electricity Filters if your magnetic level readings are safe and below 1mG using the 0-3 feature.
  9. Do not bring any electronics into the bedroom.
  10. Get rid of your metal-containing mattress and bed frame as they act like an antenna. Many people report better sleep by switching to a wood frame and metal and toxin-free mattress.
  11. Use your laptop hooked up to an external display with wired (not wireless or bluetooth!) keyboard and mouse. My Macbook Air emits over 5mG from the keyboard.
  12. Keep the head of your bed away from the wall where wires or electrical outlets are present.
  13. Make an effort to immerse yourself in nature and other places where EMF exposure will be minimized.
  14. Ground yourself to the earth in a safe manner, such as by frequently getting barefoot outside.
  15. Drink more spring water, as EMF tends to dehydrate you.
  16. Don’t let children, preferably anyone under age 10, have long exposure to cell phones
  17. Deny and refuse smart meters at all costs. If your state prevents you from rejecting their installation, attempt to find a safer home and in the meantime, maximize your distance.
  18. Maintain adequate mineral status – including magnesium – as mineral deficiencies can allow heavy metal toxicity, further creating a “human antenna” effect.
  19. Engage in love, laughter and joy to maintain a light-hearted attitude and stress response.
  20. Do your best and take small steps each day to minimize exposure and risk.

Think about what you can do to mitigate some of these risks. Would you actually be able to live without your cell phone? Is this all a conspiracy? Do you think celebrities are destroying themselves with all their cell phone use, plane flights and stress? Leave your thoughts, comments and feedback below this post.

Sources

23 Cutting-Edge Interviews With The World’s Leading Experts on Fat Loss, Nutrition and Human Performance.

I’ve been keeping this big secret for awhile, but during the entire summer of 2014, I spent a ton of time interviewing an elite crowd of the world’s top experts on performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep and hormone optimization.

And from Dec 15-Dec 19, I’m going to release ALL those interviews in what I will admit is the very first online conference I’ve ever organized (but even though I’m an online conference newbie, I’m still pretty darn proud of the content I’ve been able to collect for you in this one).

I have had the honor of conducting 23 one-on-one conversational video interviews with some of the world’s best doctors, athletes, scientists and biohackers. These talks capture their cutting-edge non-run-of-the-mill research and thoughts on performance, mental clarity and total body optimization. Each of these incredible conversations is going to be streamed online *for free* so you can watch and listen in.

And I guarantee these discussions are not coming up in your doctor’s office or average health or fitness magazine – this is groundbreaking stuff.

The name of this conference is REV Yourself”, it’s hosted by en*theos.com, and it’s all about showing you exactly how to rev your body and look, feel, and perform at your absolute peak potential. All of these interviews will be streaming for free starting December 15, and even though it’s over a month away, you can take early bird action and sign up right here to get full access and all the details.

Check out this amazing line-up of experts and topics:


Andy Murphy Pic
How To Use NLP To Beat Food Cravings, Run Faster and Permanently Change Any Bad Habit

with Andy Murphy

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can train your unconscious brain to change your habits and actions, but to do so, you must reprogram it.
  • One extremely important part of Neurolinguistic Programming is to create a physical anchor.
  • You can use NLP for both physical performance and mental performance, but also for self-control and changing habits permanently (including controlling food cravings, as you’ll see in this video).


How To Protect And Enhance Your Sleep

with Ameer Rosic

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • How to start every day with some type of beverage that supports your mitochondria, such as apple cider vinegar, organic baking soda or minerals.
  • Standing and moving during the day activates specific sleep pressure proteins that allow your pineal gland to produce melatonin at night.
  • We all hear blue light is bad for you and your sleep, but blue light exposure can actually help you sleep when exposure is done in the morning.


How To Change Your Life By Getting More Done In Less Time

with Ari Meisel

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Create very small, achievable intermediate goals instead of big, lofty goals – get “one small win” each day.
  • Use virtual assistants, personal assistants and automation websites to get more done in less time – and that you don’t have to be rich to do it!
  • Use the Pomodoro technique of “interval training” of your tasks, with “25 minutes on-5 minutes off”.


How To Play More And Exercise Less

with Darryl Edwards

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Include the PRIMALITY components of “Primality, Restorative, Integrative, Mindful, Adaptive, Life Enhancing, Instinctive Movement, Tactical, Youthful Exuberance”.
  • Use the concepts of primal play, you can maintain levels of extreme strength and fitness without ever stepping foot into a gym.
  • Play – it not only increases levels of fitness in a fun way, but also causes a hormonal response that makes you both happier and smarter.


How To Build Strength & Cardio At The Same Time

with Doug McGuff

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can engage your anaerobic energy system to the extent that you can overload it with lactic acid and get an enormous cardiovascular effect – but you can do this with weights, not cardio!
  • Within just 12-15 minutes of super-slow, controlled and intense strength training using 5 basic exercises, you can build strength and cardio at the same time.
  • Lactic acid can actually be quite useful, and you can train your liver to actually take lactic acid and convert it into glucose to be a useable fuel source.


How To Fix Your Gut

with Dr. Alejandro Junger

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Most Western doctors test the gut the wrong way, and don’t actually measure the DNA of organisms in the gut, which is the gold standard for testing.
  • Yeast and fungal overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth and parasites are three common and harmful gut issues that are commonly seen in the gut of civilized populations.
  • When the conditions in your gut are not optimal, such as lack of good bacteria, too much starch and sugar, or an unhealthy diet, you will set yourself up for being “taken over” by gut invaders.


Protecting Your Body From The Hazards Of Airline Travel

with Dr. Jack Kruse

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Increasing use of technology/wifi on airplanes can cause much more damage to your body than airport X-rays.
  • Communicable disease, blood clots and risk of catching a cold can be 100x higher when you are flying.
  • There are 17 things you can do to protect your body from the hazards airline travel – from foods to supplements to biohacks.


Hidden Secrets To Becoming A Better Breather

with Dr. John Douillard

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can train yourself to achieve a deep, meditative state of alpha brainwave activation and focused relaxation during exercise.
  • Breathing through your nose during exercise is a key skill that you must learn to correctly activate your lung’s receptors to lower cortisol.
  • The secret to decreasing pain and discomfort during exercise is to use proper breathing tactics to get the ideal combination of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activation.


How To Become A Fat Burning Machine

with Dr. Peter Attia

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • It takes 1-3 months to become fully fat adapted, but when you do it, it allows you to do long workouts and get through the day while sparing your use of carbohydrates and glycogen.
  • Once you’ve achieved a state of fat oxidation, you can “cheat” on carbs and still get yourself back into fat oxidation within 48-72 hours.
  • “Bonking” during exercise is not necessarily a factor of running out of carbohydrates or glucose, and is probably instead because the brain fails to utilize glucose – and this can be fixed with adequate amino acids.


How To Challenge Your Body And Mind

with Hobie Call

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • If you want to do a race or an event, then push yourself to that same level in at least a few of your training sessions.
  • A treadmill plus a weighted vest, with 1:3 or 1:4 work:rest ratios is a very difficult but highly effective way to become a tougher, faster runner.
  • It’s OK to defy the norms of training – Hobie runs just 10 miles a week, but is still one of the fastest racers out there!


How To Easily Track What’s Going On Inside Your Body

with Jeff Hunt

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • There are 12 important things that you can pay attention to that will directly dictate knowing whether or not you’re getting the most out of your workouts, or are at risk for injury or illness.
  • When you look at an isolated single variable, such as urine color, it can tell you a little bit about your state of recovery, but putting together a cluster of recovery factors is far more accurate and informative.
  • Lack of recovery doesn’t just mean that you’re unable to workout hard – it also means you can lose your love of exercise and your passion for the sport you’re competing in!


Top Recovery Tools: the Best Ways to Recover as Quickly as Possible

with Jeff Spencer

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • The same strategies that work for a Tour de France cyclist can work for the traveling businessman and the busy soccer mom.
  • You can stack injury recovery techniques such as heat, then topical, then electrical or laser or mechanical stimulation, and do it all outside for benefit of sunlight.
  • The next “big thing” in recovery and injury prevention is to pay attention to your electrochemical gradients, and how the use of devices affects your cell’s ability to recover.


How To Conquer Your Fears, React Under Stress, and Master Your Life

with Jesse Elder

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • When you see evidence that your training is working, it’s a huge boost. So don’t just train, give yourself a chance to compete, because results beat theory.
  • Your life is meant to be lived as fully as your imagination and courage will allow.
  • Thoughts create feelings… and feelings are more powerful than most people will ever know.


How To Enjoy Real Food (Without Spending Your Life In the Kitchen)

with Jessica Greenfield

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Eating real food doesn’t mean spending long periods of time in the kitchen – and much of the techniques you can use from fermentation to slow food prep can be done without you even being there!
  • One of the best ways to save time on eating real food is to batch your grocery shopping also batch your food prep into just one to two times during the week
  • Learning how to use a crockpot is one of the best things a beginner can do.


Why You Need To Do Hard Things

with Joe DeSena

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • From watching TV in Mandarin Chinese to carrying 70 pound rocks up hills, doing hard things can give you a long, fulfilling life by keeping you from getting soft.
  • The mental component of training is just as important as the physical component.
  • A good way to build durability is to do a hard, intense workout immediately followed by an easy, long workout.


Why You Need To Cheat On Your Diet

with John Kiefer

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can cheat every day on your diet if you time your carbohydrates, fats and proteins properly throughout the day.
  • Ice cream, alcohol and dark chocolate can each have benefits if you eat them at specific times during the day.
  • In moderation, insulin is actually a good hormone that can assist with both muscle gain and fat loss.


How To Become A Supple Leopard

with Kelly Starrett

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • The worst thing you can do before or after exercise is to sit down.
  • The best way to assess why you got injured is to start by assessing hydration, sitting too much, not sleeping enough and things that you may not think have anything to do with the injury itself.
  • Skin massage, raking with soup spoon or stick, dry brushing the skin and even keeping a Chinese soup spoon in your bathtub or hot tub for skin therapy is an enormously effective injury prevention tactic.


6 Ways To Get As Fit As A Navy Seal

with Mark Divine

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You should try to do something that scares you at least once a week.
  • Durability includes pushing through injuries, even though we’re often told not to – and sometimes it’s OK to keep going when you’ve injured your shoulder, knee or back.
  • Stamina and endurance are sorely neglected training areas, and when not done in excess and used strategically, can result in huge fitness boosts.


The 3 Keys To Looking Good Naked

with Mark Sisson

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You should lift heavy stuff 2-3x per week and you don’t even need to step foot in a gym to do it.
  • Sprint for 15-60s 1-2x per week, allow yourself to fully recover in between each sprint and go beyond running to try things like cycling, elliptical, swimming, etc.
  • A key to looking good naked is to avoid snacking and to instead turn yourself into a fat burning machine.


Practical Ways To Protect Yourself From Hidden EMF Killers

with Michael Neuert

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Popular science believes that the only thing to worry about when it comes to electrical devices is heat, but the signals these devices emit go far above and beyond merely heat.
  • There is absolutely no way to truly know, measure and mitigate EMF in your home and work environment unless you use a meter to test.
  • You can shield yourself from EMF effectively by taking proper steps – including how your home and office devices are configured.


How To Cool The Brain

with Nora Gedgadaus

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • High blood sugar can cause neural inflammation, and it can happen even on a low carb diet if you are stressed.
  • Once you have an immune reaction that affects your brain, you’ll have that immune sensitivity forever.
  • Curcumin is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory, which works very well with resveratrol (e.g. organic red wine) and other flavonoids (e.g. dark colored organic vegetables), bioperine (e.g. organic black pepper).


How To Fix Your Adrenals

with Shawn Talbott

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Humans are not zebras who just run from a lion every now and then, and there is a big difference between acute stress and being stressed out.
  • When cortisol levels are high, you shuttle resources away from producing testosterone, and adaptogenic herbs can be used to lower cortisol and increase available resources for other hormones.
  • One of the best ways to test for your adrenal function is a simple salivary cortisol test at multiple times during the day.


Biohacking Your Brain

with Steven Fowkes

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Some of the best cognitive enhancing gear includes a good water filter, a HEPA filter with a negative ion generator and an infrared lamp.
  • The biggest ways to destroy cognitive performance include gut inflammation, gluten, milk protein from commercial dairy and amino acids deficiencies.
  • You can amplify your choline levels with foods such as walnuts, broccoli, cauliflower for choline, while also shutting down brain inflammation with foods such as coconut oil, cur cumin and fish oil.


How To Transition Back To Regular Eating From A Detox

with Yuri Elkaim

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can do two to four cleanses per year that coincide with the seasons.
  • Cleansing doesn’t require fancy supplements or juices, but can be accomplished 100% with real food.
  • If you don’t use it you lose it – and if you completely avoid natural sources of gluten or lactose, you may struggle heavily with them if you ever need to eat them.

Amazing, right?

It’s incredible, and I’m extremely honored, to have this much healthy living wisdom all in one place. I can’t wait for you to check out these cutting-edge, non-run-of-the-mill interviews so you can REV yourself, get the most from your body and mind, and experience what it feels like to look, feel and perform at the complete next level.

REV Yourself streams for 100% free starting Monday, December 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM PT / 3:00 PM ET, and goes all the way through December 19. Click here to register for free and get your all-access ticket today.

Everything You Need To Know About Essential Oils For Fat Loss, Performance, Smart Drugs, Scar Healing, Detoxing And More.

Essential Oils

Two years ago, I got a nasty staph infection.

It exploded into the flesh-eating bacteria MRSA, it took over both my arms and legs, it ate a golf-ball sized hole into my right thigh and I nearly lost my left arm.

The entire nasty story, along with shocking photos, is here.

After trying every natural remedy and topical creme on the face of the planet, I eventually got rid of the entire thing and healed myself with essential oils.

Over the past two years, I went from knowing nothing about essential oils to discovering an entire wealth of knowledge about these amazing natural remedies, and in today’s podcast episode with Dr. Sarah Lobisco, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about essential oils for fat loss, performance, cognitive enhancement, scar healing, detoxing and more, including:

What exactly an essential oil is and how an essential oil is actually made…

How essential oils work chemically within your body…

The three different ways you can apply and use essential oils…

The best essential oils for your immune system…

The best essential oil blends for stress and sleep…

The best essential oils for fat loss (and for stretch marks too!)…

Amazing ways you can use one essential oil as a smart drug and cognitive performance enhancer…

How essential oils can be used to enhance physical performance…

How essential oils can be used for cleansing and detox…

-Why not all essential oils are created equal, why some can do some serious damage to you if you’re not careful, and the exact brand that Dr. Sarah uses

My guest, Dr. Sarah Lobisco, is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport’s College of Naturopathic Medicine (UBCNM). She is licensed in Vermont as a naturopathic doctor and holds a Bachelor of Psychology from State University of New York at Geneseo. Dr. LoBisco speaks professionally on integrative medical topics, has several journal publications, and is a candidate for postdoctoral certification in functional medicine. She currently has a private integrative medicine consulting practice located in Ballston Spa, New York, where she incorporates her training in holistic medical practices with conventional medicine.

Do you have more questions about essential oil? Leave your comments and feedback below, and click here to peruse the Young Living Essential Oils we discuss in this episode.

The Five Sitting Mistakes That Fit People Make

leg press

I’m in post-Ironman recovery mode (full audio race report here), so today’s article is a bit more brief than usual. But as I (ironically) sit around recovering, I’ve recently been reviewing a new program called “The Sitting Solution” (you can listen to my podcast with the creators of that program here), and it got me thinking about sitting mistakes…

…sitting mistakes that I see many fit people making.

In other words, even if you’re an exercise enthusiast who avoids sitting for long periods of time in chairs, it doesn’t mean that the risks of sitting aren’t hitting you in other places.

So without further ado, here are 5 sitting mistakes that even fit people make (and by the way, even though I’m “sitting around” all day today recovering from Ironman, I’m constantly shifting from sitting at the counter, to lying on my stomach on the living room floor, to getting into a lunge position at the kitchen table, etc. So yes – you can even “sit all day” without actually sitting all day):

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Mistake #1. Sitting At The Gym (e.g. the use of weight machines like Nautilus)

As I point out in my Fox Magazine article on free weights vs. weight machines, when you use free weights such as dumbbells, kettlebells or barbells, you can move through a greater range-of-motion. Many weight machines simply don’t “feel right” to your body, no matter how you adjust the seat or handles. With free weights, you have complete freedom of rotation so that something like an overhead shoulder press can feel much more natural and comfortable with free weights compared to weight machines.

Of course, the other problem with weight machines is that most of them involve sitting. And in this position, your head protrudes forward, your spine rounds into a C-shape, your shoulders round and internally rotate, your hips and knees flex and your ankles are flexed. In this poor sitting posture (even when you’re exercising) certain muscles get tight, certain muscles get elongated and weak, and certain joints get restricted.

Doesn’t it simply seem counterintuitive that you’d sit all day in your office, in a car, on a subway, at breakfast or lunch, and then get to the gym only to sit some more?

Even if you avoid sitting at weight machines, you may still find yourself tempted to sit as you recovery between sets with free weights – perhaps to stare off into space, stare a gym TV or thumb through a magazine. I’d advise you to instead engage in activities such as foam rolling, dynamic stretching, bird-dogs and other active recovery methods, or to even superset your exercises so that you recover one muscle group as you work another.

Zero sitting required at the gym, period.

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Mistake #2. Sitting On A Bike

This topic is particularly important for the cyclist who likely spends hours behind a desk and gets their exercise on a bike. Both chronic sitting and cycling are often performed in an exaggerated flexed position. As a coach, I’ve frequently worked with the cycling population and have noticed they often complain of neck and upper back pain. The pain often begins as an ache or sore muscle, but if left unaddressed can quickly turn into something more serious such as a pinched nerve, loss of range of motion, or a bulging or herniated disc, which can then result in surgery.

It’s incredibly important for a cyclist to become aware of the positions they are putting themselves into at work and on the bike. And it is equally important to incorporate the appropriate mobility and stability exercises throughout the day to offset the joint and muscular adaptation that occurs from frequent flexed positions. Even if the seat height, handlebars and size of the bike are optimal for an athlete, the spine will still be in a flexed position.

So if you sit on a bike, at least do it the right way, and offset some of that biomechanical damage a bike can do by engaging your thoracic spine when you’re off the bike with exercises such as seated cable rows and foam rolling on the low back with the arms overhead.

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Mistake #3. Exercising Hard After Sitting All Day

In her new book “Move Your DNA“, biomechanist Katy Bowman has some very interesting thoughts about what happens when joints and vessels stay restricted, compressed and bent all day, and then get subjected to high amounts of blood flow via exercise.

“Artherosclerotic plaques occur preferentially at sites of complex geometry, most often in the abdominal aorta, iliacs, coronaries, femorals, popliteals, carotids and cerebrals.” Why? Complex geometries create complex flow fields (places where blood doesn’t flow smoothy, but whirls around). Eddies in the blood place “non-aligned” (their word, not mine!) loads on arterial-wall cells, causing them to change genetic expression. Cells in these areas change from plaque-resisting to plaque-promoting. (Quote from: Cardiovascular Solid Mechanics: Cells, Tissues, and Organs.)

Basically what this means is that by sitting all day, then exercising, you could cause turbulent flow in areas of arterial stiffness that increase cardiovascular risk. It’s like trying to force water through a kinked hose.

So if you’re serious about your heart and cardiovascular health (and not being one of those healthy folks who has a heart attack during your post-work run), you should think all day about whether or not you’re kinking your hoses.

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Mistake #4. Sitting On Giant Exercise Balls

My friend Marc Perry at BuiltLean.com has an excellent observation on the common office practice of simply sitting on an exercise ball:

“With a few exceptions, the research overwhelmingly shows that a chair is a better option than a ball, at least when you’re at work.

A 2006 paper published in Human Factors examined differences between sitting on a stability ball and in an office chair in terms of trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine posture.1 The authors found that, though there was a small increase in the activation of certain trunk muscles, sitting on a ball resulted in significant discomfort. So, their recommendation is to avoid using a ball for this purpose.

Another study looked at similar variables and found an increase in “spinal shrinkage” in people who sit on an exercise ball,2 which certainly doesn’t sound desirable.

Yet another research paper concluded that “prolonged sitting on a dynamic, unstable seat surface does not significantly affect the magnitudes of muscle activation, spine posture, spine loads or overall spine stability.” The authors also found higher levels of discomfort in the stability ball users, which may be a result of soft tissue compression against the ball.3

I found 1 paper that supports the use of stability balls for decreasing pain. In a case report published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 2 low back pain sufferers reported improvement in symptoms after changing from a chair to a ball.4

Sitting on a ball versus a chair may increase passive caloric expenditure. A study from SUNY Buffalo showed a 4.1 calorie per hour increase in energy expenditure from sitting on a ball versus a chair.5 This translates to an extra 32 calories over an 8-hour work day.

So, is sitting on an exercise ball at work a bad idea? Yes.”

My advice instead of an exercise ball? Simply get a good chair that allows you to be in a variety of positions throughout the day, such as the adjustable height chair at RebelDesk. Use code “BEN” to get $40 off the Rebel Crank-Up desk or code “GREENFIELD” to get $20 off the Rebel Chair.

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Mistake #5. Sitting On The Toilet

Of course, fit people poop too, right?

As I point out in my article on “Why You Should Squat To Poop“, your body is meant to be in a squatting position to properly eliminate stuff from your colon. You can control to some extent your need to defecate by contracting or releasing the sphincter on your backside.

But that sphincter muscle can’t maintain proper pooping function on it’s own.

Instead, your body relies on a bend between the rectum, where the feces is stored- and the anus- where the feces comes out.

When you’re sitting, the angle is “kinked”, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps your poop inside. Not only does this create straining and constipation, but it also inhibits complete elimination – which means that you can literally have old feces just hanging around in your lower digestive tract.

Turns out that kinking is definitely the case, even in fit people – who often complain of constipation and low back pain due to their toilet sitting biomechanics.

The remedy for this mistake is simple: use a Squatty Potty. No joke.

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Summary

Over time, even the fittest person will eventually adapt to poor sitting positions and often experience pain, despite superior levels of fitness.  This acute pain can turn to chronic pain. Then it hurts to move, and so you stop moving and continue to be stagnant. This creates a vicious cycle of stagnation that increases your risk for pain, chronic disease and loss of function.

So you can eventually sit yourself into un-fitness, chronic pain that annoys you during every workout, or both.

What do you think? Do you make any of these sitting mistakes, or see others doing the same? Are you ready to ditch your giant exercise ball, get a proper bike fit, squat to poop, avoid weight machines and take frequent stretch breaks at work?

Leave your comments below, and be sure to click here to grab The Sitting Solution, and to see a shocking video and even more details and solutions on the truth about sitting.

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 Quitting Alcohol Helped Today’s Guest Lose 30 Pounds, Make More Money, Attract Better Friends And Lovers, And Got A Job Hosting SportsCenter on ESPN (And Your Formula For Reducing or Quitting Alcohol).

jamesswanwick

In recent podcasts, I’ve talked a lot lately about alcohol, and what it does to the body, both good and bad.

My friend James Swanwick, who wrote the article below and is the host of the Alpha Male Club podcast, has a very interesting take on alcohol. So in today’s podcast, you’re going to learn how quitting alcohol helped James lose 30 pounds of fat, make more money, attract better friends and lovers, and got him a job hosting SportsCenter on ESPN – and get a formula for reducing or quitting alcohol.

You’ll learn:

-Why James quit alcohol…

-What happens to your body when you stop drinking, physically and mentally…

-The biggest challenges that happen when you stop or reduce drinking…

-What to do when you’re at a party or bar if you’re not going to order a drink…

-If James turned to any other vices as a replacement…

-Why James doesn’t just use a “one glass of wine a day” approach…

-And much more!

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“I am four years alcohol-free today.

What started as a 30-day challenge, turned into a four-year lifestyle change. Friends often ask me about this so I figure I’ll quickly share my story, assuming others may be interested.

I was never a big drinker. I’d enjoy a few quiet beers during the week.  Most weekends I’d go a little harder and get a good “buzz”. On a handful of occasions over many years, I would say I got “drunk”.

It was all good fun. There was no drinking to excess. I never had a drinking problem.

But I awoke with a shocking hangover one morning four years ago at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas after a particularly fun night. I walked into an International House of Pancakes for a hangover breakfast.

The IHOP menus have photos of the food you can choose – big, bright, bold colors. The sight of those scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes on the menu and big, fat, overweight people sitting at tables next to me made me ill.

I decided then and there to see if I could go 30 days alcohol-free. It was simply a personal bet with myself to test my self-discipline. I didn’t plan to go more than 30 days. But I eventually would.

The first two weeks were hard. I went out with friends and ordered water or diet coke and they’d give me a hard time. “You’re un-Australian!” they’d say to me.

But I got through those two weeks and I was off to the races. I felt better, slept better and had much more mental clarity.

After 30 days, I’d lost an incredible 13lbs (5.9kg) of fat around my stomach. Just from stopping drinking. I had more money in the bank balance, my skin looked considerably better and I actually enjoyed getting out of bed early morning to exercise.

James (left) a few years before he quit drinking at 218lbs (98kg) and James (right), today, alcohol free, at 180lbs (82kg)

So I said to myself, “Bugger it. I feel great. I’ll just keep going and see how far I can go.” Little did I know just how far I would go.

After 60 days, I craved a cold beer. Or a red wine. Or a Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic with a dash of lime.

When it was hot outside, I started dreaming, “I would smash an ice cold beer right now!” But I breathed deeply, downed a diet coke or water and the feeling passed.

After three months, I felt terrific. I’d dropped a few more pounds of fat and was starting to put on some lean muscle in the gym. People were complimenting me on how good I looked.

I also realized that despite not drinking, I was still managing to have wildly entertaining nights out – even with my drunken friends slurring their words around me. Conversations with women became much more interesting.

When I told women I wasn’t drinking, far from them thinking I was an alcoholic in recovery, they actually told me they were impressed with my self-discipline.

You don’t need alcohol to have a good time

“Beautiful,” I thought. “I can stop drinking and still be fun, entertaining and attractive to women.”

Guys were always suspicious of my story, though. They always thought I was a recovering alcoholic who “obviously” had a problem. I just smiled.

Between three and six months I was in the zone. I felt energetic and healthy and I actually started to thrive on telling people I had temporarily stopped drinking.

But many people – particularly guys – still challenged me. They called me a “Pussy!” Or said to me, “Just have one!” Or “An Aussie that doesn’t drink?!?! F$%k off!”

I just laughed, pointed to my head and gave them my stock response, “I’m too strong in mind!” Some idiots even tried to secretly slip vodka into my soda. I had to make a point of always sniffing before drinking if they’d ordered for me.

Six to 12 months was fairly easy to be honest. And this is where I noticed the most dramatic changes.

I found that my relationships were considerably better – romantic and platonic. For example, I was constantly thinking about how I could help my friends rather than how they could help me.

I was more inclined to help people generally and was more considerate. I was calmer and noticed I made better decisions.

My work productivity soared. My business made more money.

More opportunities – like an ESPN audition to host SportsCenter – came my way. When it did, I was clear in mind, energetic, and seized the opportunity. I ended up getting that gig and hosted SportsCenter for two years.

I did, however, find I got tired at night time and went to sleep earlier. Listen, I could still burn the midnight oil until 5am during my sobriety. But I found I didn’t really want to. I felt like nothing that good really happened after 1am anyway.

So I would party hard – alcohol-free – until 1am. Most people who just met me weren’t even ever aware I wasn’t drinking. I could still be the life of the party with nobody even knowing. Then I headed home to be asleep most Friday and Saturday nights by no later than 2am.

James still James partying late  – alcohol free

I was up at 8am or 9am on weekends to hit the gym, showered, had breakfast and was ready to tackle the day by 11am when my mates were just dragging their lazy hungover backsides out of bed.

When I reached the personal milestone of one year without drinking, I found myself back in Austin at South by Southwest. I went to a pub, ordered a Budweiser, and put it to my mouth.

For James, no alcohol means more energy for exercise

It smelled good.

I had every intention of drinking that beer. But something stopped me from taking a sip. I paused and thought about it for a minute.

I decided that all the pros of not drinking outnumbered the cons. So I said to myself, “I’ll just keep going.”

So I did. I put the Budweiser down and haven’t picked up a drink since.

March 12, 2014, is four years to the day since I gave myself that initial 30-day challenge.

I’m 20lbs (9kg) lighter today than I was when I started on March 12, 2010. I’m 38lbs (17kg) lighter than when I was at my porkiest (See fat face photo above). Drinking definitely kept fat around my waist. Stopping drinking eliminated it.

This is likely due to three main things: 1. Alcohol contains a lot of carbs 2. Drinking makes you eat a lot more food, especially bad food like fries and desserts 3. Quitting drinking gives you more energy which turns you into a fat-burning machine.

I’m not for one moment suggesting you should quit drinking entirely like I did. Obviously, I am an extreme case. But my story clearly shows some of the positive benefits you can get if you do quit. Even just reducing your alcohol consumption by a few drinks a week, I believe only positive things can happen.

If I have a drink today, no worries. I’ve accomplished my goal. But I just don’t feel like having a drink.

In summary:

PROS: I feel better, look better, work better, act better, am better, have more money, have better quality of friends, really enjoy a nice ice cold water, don’t miss alcohol, realize I CAN party like a rock star WITHOUT alcohol, friends who’ve known me a long time say I’m a considerably nicer and more agreeable person

CONS: It is sometimes awkward explaining to new friends or business associates why you don’t drink. BUT…that initial awkwardness is mostly felt by THEM, not by you. And you can’t control how they feel.

If you decide you want to give it a try, trust that the pros will likely outweigh the cons. Set yourself a 30-day-goal. Or a two or three-month goal. Test it. See how you feel. See if it works for you. Or go for a year.

Or don’t do it at all. If you’re happy drinking, keep drinking! I love drinking! I love to drink a six-pack of beer and a bottle of red with the best of them.

I’m sure I’ll do it again one day. But for now, I’m happy with water and soda and feel like I am the best version of me.”

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about the health of alcohol, quitting alcohol, reducing alcohol or anything else related to today’s podcast? Leave your thoughts below and either James or I will reply!

The 2014 Bulletproof Biohacking Conference Show!

IMG_3982

drloI’ve just returned from the 2014 Bulletproof Biohacking Conference, where I spoke on “5 Potent Biohacks For Beastlike Performance”, tested the latest and greatest biohacking gear, and grabbed 13 educational and entertaining interviews for you with some of the best biohackers and biohacking tool companies on the planet.

IMG_3988The slides for my presentation, along with each and all of these insider interviews are now available (along with our vault of over 300+ other secret BenGreenfieldFitness shows, interviews, videos and pdf’s) over on the BenGreenfieldFitness Premium channel. Click here to go Premium for ten bucks a year (yeah, $10 for the entire year – you heard right), and listen in or download now!

Here’s what’s included in the 2014 Bulletproof Biohacking Conference show (WARNING: some of these audios are funny, but also slightly edgy and inappropriate):

1) An “injectables” interview with the amazing Dr. Lo – who sings me a beautiful song as she injects a 100% legal recovery and performance cocktail into my butt cheek…

2) A interview about why not all electrostimulation is created equal, and how to use high and low frequencies to get different results…

3) A chat with Daniel Vitalis of Surthrival about whether elk antler velvet can really increase testosterone…

4) How to get an entire safe and EMF-free Pulsed Electromagnetic Field, light and sound, binaural beats room in your house for way less than you’d think…

IMG_39785) A frank chat with the guy at Muse about whether it’s actually safe for your brain to hook up EEG electrodes to your head…

6) How an ex-cop turned herbal chef of JingSlingers makes blue nootropic ice cream, and her exact recipe…

7) How to biohack sex and experience a 15 minute orgasm…

IMG_39848) What happens when you combine compression with weight, attach it all to your body, then try to walk around…

9) How I felt when the most powerful therapeutical laser on the planet was pointed at my knee, and whether protective eyewear is really necessary when playing with devices like this…

10) A new wearable device that shocks you when you do things like check Facebook or search for kitten photos…

11) The pulsed electromagnetic coil that you wrap around a body part to instantly shut down pain and make bones heal faster…

IMG_398512) The gaming and brain training system that you can control with your brain waves…

13) And finally, what it feels like to get oxygen infused with pure essential oils shot up your nose…

When you click here to go Premium and grab this entire biohacking show, which includes all the audio clips above, you’ll also get full access to the Powerpoint slides from my talk “5 Potent Ways To Biohack Beastlike Performance”. Enjoy!

IMG_3986

Ironman Insanity: How to Train for the World’s Most Grueling Endurance Race In Just 14 Days.

Ben Greenfield Ironman minimalist

Let’s just start by letting the cat out of the bag, shall we?

In exactly 14 days, I will be racing Ironman Hawaii, the World Championships of Ironman on the Big Island of Kona. Yes – that one: the hot torturefest in the lava fields during which you race a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and finish with a marathon for dessert.

And I just found this fact out approximately 24 hours ago.

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Allow me to clarify why this is kind of a shocker.

I have not trained for Ironman. Nadda. Zip. Zilch.

I have just six days ago finished, extremely battered and bruised, the Spartan World Championships.

I had planned on spending my next several weeks drinking organic wine and stuffing my face with dark chocolate.

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So when my manager for Team Timex told me I’d been tasked with showing up to the starting line of one of the most grueling endurance events on the face of the planet, although most people spend 8-16 months training for this race, and not a meager 14 days…

…I naturally said “yes”.

After all, I’ve always been curious how the human body would handle an Ironman triathlon without any actual Ironman training. I also have a few tricks up my sleeve that make me want to experiment with how well my body will hold up in the lava fields, namely:

Two months ago, I completed Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine’s brutal Kokoro camp, which proved to me I’m capable of achieving 20 times more than I really think I am…

Twice a week, I’ve been following Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s heat acclimation sauna protocol we discussed in the podcast “How To Use Heat Exposure“…

I’ve been lifting heavy weights and training for Spartan racing, so I know that my joints are bulletproof and that I can run decently…

Timex has given me full access to their amazing arsenal of pacing tools – namely the Run Trainer and Cycle Trainer – so I can at least pace properly and keep myself from completely blowing up during Ironman…

And finally, I’ve got a big bag of tricks to get my body to recover really fast.

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However, I also have some pretty significant disadvantages, particularly in the training preparation department. After finishing Israman in January, I threw in the towel on much triathlon training and shifted to obstacle racing instead.

Longest swim of year: 1 mile. Average weekly swim mileage: 500 meters, primarily breasttroking with my kids…

Longest bike of year: 12 miles. Average weekly bike mileage: 15 miles, mostly on a mountain bike…

Longest run of year: 14.5 miles. Average weekly run mileage: 8 miles…all on soft, cushy trails…

Total number of triathlons completed this year: 2 very short sprint triathlons.

So you could very accurately say that I have trained less than probably any athlete who will be racing Kona. Way less.

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So how in the hell am I going to get ready for this monster of a race in just 2 weeks?

Good question. I’m just now scrambling to figure that out myself.

Since I have both affectionately and with great ridicule been called the “Biohacking Triathlete”, I’ll definitely hack the heck out of this thing, but before I tell you how I’m going to train and what I’m going to eat, allow me to clarify one thing…

…my plan is not to trudge slowly through Ironman Hawaii with a goal of “just finishing”. My mind simply doesn’t work that way. I show up to any event mentally prepared to push my body and brain to their absolute limits.

So with that clarification, my plans are:

1. Ride a bike 30 minutes every morning to re-accustom my body to pedaling a bicycle. Unfortunately, due to a broken bike frame, I don’t actually have a triathlon bike right now, so I’ll ride my road bike instead. During these rides, I’ll use Elevation Training Mask or Hypoxico altitude training generator to grow a few extra red blood cells. And one week before the race, I’ll do one steady 2 hour ride for a bit of “time in the saddle”.

2. Avoid much running, since it’s a high-impact activity and it’s too late now to put much work into the body, especially since I’m recovering from the brutal Spartan World Championships.  The cons of running much at this point outweigh the pros. Instead I’ll do an short, 10-15 minute intense treadmill or aqua jogging sprint session every other day. Both of these modes are lower impact compared to pounding the pavement.

3. Swim 20-30 minutes every day in very cold water (this upregulates nitric oxide production, and the cold will assist with fighting inflammation too), alternating between hard 100’s/50’s/25’s one day, and skill work the next day. Getting a “feel for the water” is very important when you want to efficiently race an open water intense 2.4 mile swim, and I’ll need to get that feel back – really, really fast.

4. 30 minute dry sauna sessions every 48 hours until I shove out to the Big Island on October 8. You can learn exactly why this heat acclimation tactic is so important in the episode “Everything You Need To Know About How To Use Heat Exposure To Enhance Performance, Burn Fat, Gain Muscle And Think Better.“.

5. Electrostimulation sessions every other day with a MarcPro+ on my quads, hammies, calves and shoulders, which is going to suck the post-Spartan race inflammation out of my body. I’ll also do deep tissue work with a full body foam roller sessions on the days I’m not electrocuting myself.

6. A few easy 15-20 minute resistance training sessions to maintain muscle memory and strength. To avoid muscle tearing and breakdown, I’ll primarily use the MostFit Suspension Trainer, and do slow, controlled full-body sessions.

7. A jacked-up nutrition supplement arsenal, namely: Thorne AM/PM Multivitamin Complex to increase my nutrient levels, 4 EPA/DHA fish oil capsules every day to help joints recover from Spartan, 1 daily shot of X2Performance to load with ATP, 4 daily Colostrum capsules to get my gut ready for the heat, 1 daily packet of TianChi to lower cortisol levels, a bunch of extra greens to increase alkalinity, 1 X2Performance for last 7 days leading up to race, and of course, 1 big cup of bone broth every day. For the race itself, I’ll plan to pack my water bottles and fat-based energy gels so I can follow the exact nutrition protocol I outline here.

8. Drag all my fancy triathlon gear out of it’s dark corner in the garage, specifically a BlueSeventy PZ3TX skinsuit, BlueSeventy Element Goggles, a Giro Air Attack Helmet, Rocket7 Cycling Shoes, Timex Cycle TrainerTimex Run Trainer.

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So when you put it all together, my 14 day Ironman training protocol is going to look like this:

Mon, Sep 29: 30 minute easy bike spin, short treadmill run off bike, short suspension trainer session after run. Swim hard. Sauna. Electrostim.

Tue, Sep 30: 30 minute easy bike spin, short suspension trainer session off bike. Swim skills. Foam roller.

Wed, Oct 1: 30 minute easy bike spin. Swim hard, short aqua jog after swim. Sauna. Electrostim.

Thu, Oct 2: 30 minute easy bike spin, short suspension trainer session off bike. Swim skills. Foam roller.

Fri, Oct 3: 30 minute easy bike spin, short treadmill run off bike. Swim hard. Sauna. Electrostim.

Sat, Oct 4: 2 hour bike ride. Foam roller.

Sun, Oct 5: 30 minute easy bike spin, short treadmill run off bike. Swim skills. Sauna. Electrostim.

Mon, Oct 6: 30 minute easy bike spin, short suspension trainer session off bike. Swim hard, short aqua jog after swim. Foam roller.

Tue, Oct 7: 30 minute easy bike spin. Sauna. Swim skills. Electrostim.

Wed, Oct 8: Fly to Kona. Day off. Electrostim on plane.

Thu, Oct 9: Speak at Ironman Medical Conference. Easy swim in ocean. Foam roller.

Fri, Oct 10: Quick swim, bike, run practice. Massage.

Sat, Oct 11: Race.

And of course, back to my original plan of red wine and dark chocolate on Sunday.

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So there you have it.

I am going to prepare for the world’s most grueling endurance race in just 14 days. And sure, I’m known as a minimalist training guy, but this is taking things to a whole new level, and I have no clue if my body can actually pull this one off. It’s going to take every trick I know.

What do you think?

What would YOU do if you had 14 days to prepare for an Ironman?

Do you think this is absolutely insane?

Leave your questions, comments and feedback below, and stay tuned to the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page for updates, announcements and some very cool contests in the next few days leading up to Ironman Insanity.