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Everything You Need To Know About Hair Mineral Analysis.

Hair Mineral Analysis

I’m all about testing and quantifying what’s going on inside my body, so when Certified Holistic Health Coach Wendy Myers approached me at a biohacking conference and asked me if I wanted to have my hair tested with a hair mineral analysis test…

…I made a stop at my local barber…

…got a few strands snipped off…

…sent my hair off to Wendy’s lab…

…and was absolutely shocked at the results I got in my e-mail inbox a couple weeks later. In this episode, we talk about about the results of my hair mineral analysis, and you’ll also learn:

-Exactly what hair mineral analysis is and how it works…

-How you can discover things like adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues and nutrient and mineral deficits from your hair…

-What to do about heavy metal toxicities, and why some heavy metal chelators can actually be dangerous…

-How to tell if you’re undereating or overeating carbohydrates…

-Where natural remedies like infrared saunas and coffee enemas fit in…

-Why even pristine well water can have some serious issues…

-And much more!

Resources:

-Click here to download the results of Ben Greenfield’s hair mineral analysis.

-Click here to download the results of Ben Greenfield’s hair mineral ratios.

-Want your own Hair Mineral Analysis? Click here to go to Wendy’s website and get started.

-Copper Dysregulation podcast

-Transdermal magnesium

-APSWater.com

-Infrared Biomat

-Trace Liquid Minerals

Do you have questions, comments or feedback or hair mineral analysis? Leave your thoughts below!

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

books

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

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

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

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I don’t care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5. Business: The BookStrapper Guide to Marketing Your Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn to cook anything? The 4-Hour Chef.

Crack the code on wealth? Killing Sacred Cows.

Get happier, instantly? The Five Minute Journal.

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

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

Is Bluetooth Radiation Dangerous?

ondes_danger-650x523

Do you use a wearable like a FitBit or Jawbone? How about a bluetooth headset? A bluetooth enabled appliance? A car that has bluetooth technology? Some other bluetooth-enabled self quantification device?

Then this episode is for you, because it’s important to know exactly how bluetooth technology is affecting your sleep, your circadian rhythms, your health, your gut barrier, your blood-brain barrier and your performance.

In Part 1 of this episode, I talk to Christian Johan Smith, who is founder at Phone Halo, which creates technology that helps you track devices that you might lose. In this discussion Christian and I talk frankly about what he knows as the CEO of a company that relies on Bluetooth technology, and what I know from my research in the health space.

Resources Christian and I discuss during Part 1 of this episode:

-Trackr app for iOs/iPhone

-Trackr bluetooth tracking apps on Amazon

-The research study that Ben cites relating bluetooth to the blood-brain barrier

-Good synopsis of health effects of EMF

-Bluetooth airtube headset

-The anti-radiation Pong case for iPhone

In Part 2, I talk with Dr. Jack Kruse, a respected neurosurgeon and CEO of Optimized Life, a health and wellness company dedicated to helping patients avoid the healthcare burdens we typically encounter as we age. He is currently in private practice in the Gulf South and his research has been published in respected dental and medical journals. Jack’s previous episodes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com include “Jack Kruse Tells You How To Live Like A Polar Bear And Eat Like A Great White Shark“, “How You Can Use Cold Thermogenesis To Perform Like Lance Armstrong And Michael Phelps”, and his “How To Beat Jet Lag Naturally“.

Resources Dr. Kruse and I discuss during Part 2 of this episode:

-The “Google Glasses cause headaches” CNet article

-“Bluetooth Radiation May Be More Harmful Than Cell Phone Radiation” article

-Pulsed microwave induced light, sound, and electrical discharge enhanced by a biopolymer study

-EMF and fertility study

-Proposed exposure levels of pulse-modulated electromagnetic fields study

-Microwave pulses health effect paper

-Blood brain permeability in rats from EMF paper

-EMF and cars article

-Radiofrequency, radiation and cancer paper from cancer.org

-Cross Currents: Perils of Electropollution book by Robert O Becker

-Electromagnetism and Life book by Andrew Marino

Questions, comments or feedback about whether bluetooth radiation is dangerous? Leave your thoughts for me, Christian or Jack below!

Update: after recording this two-part series, I contacted Timex about the MoveX20 activity and sleep that I’ve used. They were very helpful, and informed me that it is a “Class 3″ bluetooth device (listen to the podcast to see what that means), that it has a power of 1Mw (0 dBm) and that it transmits every 1 second. I’d encourage you to do the same research for any devices that you wear!

“What To Do With Your Money” – Part 3 of 67 Steps to Getting Anything You Want Out of Life Health, Wealth, Love, & Happiness with Tai Lopez

MeetTai

Welcome to Part 3 of this special podcast series, in which you get to sit in and listen to Tai Lopez coach me (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“.

In this premium subscriber episode, Tai and I discuss personal finances – particularly in the huge wake Tony Robbins is leaving with his new book “Money”, and how Tai feels we should protect and grow our wealth, and exactly what Tai’s personal investment philosophy is.

Want more of Tai?

You can listen to Part 1 of this series here, in which Tai and I talk about multi-tasking, reprogramming your genetics and checking your e-mail less.

You can listen to Part 2 here, in which Tai and I 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:

-Tai’s retreats and public seminars in Hollywood, London and New York

-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 about what to do with your money? Leave your thoughts below.

The Ultimate DIY Guide To Growing Your Own Food And Living Green.

Alik Pelman

Last month, my wife and I traveled to Israel with Vibe Israel, an organization that brings international on- and offline opinion leaders in health and nutrition on a weeklong personalized experience of the burgeoning wellness scene in Israel.

I’ve already released three valuable lessons I learned on that Israel journey: “5 Things You Can Learn From The Burgeoning Health, Wellness And Nutrition Scene In Israel“, “Why You Get Cancer And What You Can Do About It“, and “The Problem With Paleo: Why It’s OK To Eat Bread, Grains, Legumes, Cheese & Milk.”.

Today, you get to listen in as I interview one of the most amazing individuals I met on the Israel trip – a man named Alik Pelman (pictured above with myself and others at his property, photo courtesy Or Kaplan). Alik completed his PhD in philosophy at the University of London and then took a break from academic life and went to learn how to grow food, becoming a professional organic farmer for two years.

Alik then set up his own self-sufficient home in the small village of Clil, in Western Galilee. I had the pleasure of visiting him in his small hut, built almost entirely from local, natural materials. This is where he grows virtually all of his food, and spends most of his working hours doing farm chores, reading, writing and hosting curious visitors like me.

In this show, you’ll discover:

-How to grow food on your roof…

-How to use sheep’s wool for insulation…

-How to make walls out of completely edible corn flour porridge…

-How to use natural oils to protect your floor and furniture…

-How to build an efficient, composting toilet that uses no water…

-How to easily rotate your garden crops for maximum yield…

-How to grow and make your own bread, from seed to loaf…

Resources from this episode:

-Alik’s video that documents all stages of growing your own bread – from seed to loaf

-Israel Homestead. pdf handout that walks you step-by-step through how he built his eco-friendly hut

-My How To Biohack Ultimate Healthy Home book

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about Alik, his life, his hut, and how to grown your own food? Leave your thoughts below!

How Three Raw Vegan Brothers Got Immersed In Underwater Swim Torture, Polar Plunging, And Moonlight Paddleboard Rides.

tmango

The RawBrahs describe themselves as three life-hacking brothers who host holistic health retreats around the world, showing you how to “lose your mind and come to your senses”.

At Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Biohacking Conference, I met Daniel, AKA “Danimal” (one of the RawBrahs), and he described to me some of the crazy adventures and retreats that he and his two brothers have around the world.

Since I’m a big fan of living life as fully as possible, I thought it would be fun to have a member of the RawBrahs on a video to find out what some of their most amazing adventures have been, and how you can join in the fun. In this episode, I interview Timothy, AKA “TMango” (pictured above) and in addition to his abs, we talk about…

-The RawBrah’s youngest brother who swam for a very short time but become one of the fastest sprinters in the nation pretty quickly…

-The underwater torture the RawBrahs got from Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece…

-What the RawBrahs learned about Polar Plunging with Paul Chek..

-Other crazy adventures they’ve been on that you may want to go do yourself…

-And much more! Just click the video below to play.

Some RawBrahs videos that you may want to check out include:

-An interview RawBrahs did with Ido Portal

-RawBrahs with FUNctional Fitness

-RawBrahs getting an underwater ‘torture’ from Laird Hamilton & Gabby Reece

-RawBrahs interviewing strength expert Elliott Hulse

-RawBrahs Polar Plunging with Paul Chek

-An emotional release at one of the RawBrah retreats

Leave your questions and comments below and either myself or one of the RawBrahs will reply!

Kombucha: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask.

kombucha

I drink Kombucha almost every day. My wife usually ferments a batch with a home Kombucha fermenting kit, then adds things like blueberries and ginger to it. But there are a lot of myths and mistruths out there when it comes to Kombucha.

Call it “Kombucha confusion” if you will…

Is Kombucha alcoholic?

Is Kombucha dangerous to make yourself, and if not, how do you do it?

Does Kombucha cause Candida or bacterial overgrowth to occur in your gut?

Are all brands of Kombucha at the grocery store created equal?

How should you feel after you drink Kombucha?

We’re going to answer all these questions and more on today’s special podcast interview with The Kombucha Mamma herself: Hannah Crum.

Hannah is the founder of Kombucha Kamp, the most visited website in the world for Kombucha information, recipes and advice, and her mission is to “heal the world, one gut at a time.” Hannah is also an industry journalist & Master Brewer, directly mentoring thousands of new and experienced Kombucha brewers and providing consultation services for Kombucha start-ups since 2007.

She co-founded Kombucha Brewers International, a non-profit trade association dedicated to promoting bottled Kombucha around the world, and her Kombucha instructional video series with E-How/Expert Village has racked up over 1 million views. Hannah is also a leader and featured speaker in the Southern California Real Food movement, using the “Kombucha Lifestyle” as an introduction to other fermented foods, gut health, the human microbiome, “bacteriosapiens” and more.

Hannah ships freshly grown, full-size Kombucha starter cultures to more than 10,000 people worldwide and offers kits and Continuous Brew Packages, the ultimate in convenient homebrewed Kombucha, via her webstore. She also has a Free “Do-It-Yourself” Kombucha Guide with brewing, bottling & flavoring tips you can click here to grab.

During our discussion, you’ll learn what exactly Kombucha is, how to make Kombucha, what kind of Kombucha is best, which Kombucha to avoid, when you should and shouldn’t drink Kombucha and much more.

Click here to get Kombucha or a Kombucha Starter Kit on Amazon, and leave your questions, comments and feedback about Kombucha below!

The 30 Days No Alcohol Experiment: Part 2 (What Happens When You Quit Alcohol Cold Turkey).

30 days no alcohol

Alright folks, this is officially it. Sit back, grab a bottle of booze and get ready to be entertained. Exactly 30 days ago, I told you all about one lucky guy named Jason Sissel, who volunteered to guinea pig himself by quitting alcohol cold turkey and doing before and after blood tests with WellnessFX.

You can click here to read Part 1, in which you get to see how messed up Jason was from his daily habit of a few glasses of wine, mixed in with some beer and hard alcohol here and there. You can also click here to read Jason’s blog post “30 Days, No Alcohol Biohack–Thoughts at the Midpoint”.

And now, in Part 2, I’m going to reveal exactly what happened to Jason’s internal biology over the past 30 days. Enjoy, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below the article!

Finally, if you’d like to run your own 30 Days No Alcohol Experiment then you’ll be pleased to know that WellnessFX has arranged a 15% discount on two Baseline blood testing packages (exactly what Jason got), along with a download of a free copy of my REV Yourself ebook. That’s a huge value, and at checkout, you can even include a 20-minute nutritionist consultation for personalized recommendations you can implement immediately. Click here to get this enormously discounted blood testing package now.

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I knew these results weren’t going to be a yawner when I saw this Facebook post from Jason Sissel on December 23, exactly 30 days after he quit his daily alcohol intake:

sissellresults

Wow!

Now, let’s jump into the nitty-gritty screenshots from Jason’s WellnessFX lab dashboard (click here to download Jason’s full WellnessFX blood results).

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We’ll start with triglycerides. Before, I noted that:

“…Jason’s Triglyceride to HDL ratio (one of the first values I pay attention to on a lipid panel) is very high, at 5.9 (I like to see it below 1!). Excess triglycerides can be stored in blood vessels, contributing to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Higher amounts of HDL can carry these fatty deposits away from blood vessels and be protective. So the ratio of triglycerides to HDL can be a valuable measure to help predict cardiovascular risk.

Due to it’s high fructose content, most forms of alcohol can shove triglycerides through the roof. Alcohol has an especially significant additive effect on the postprandial (after a meal) triglyceride peak when it accompanies a meal containing fat, especially saturated fat. This results from a decrease in the breakdown of cholesterol due to an acute inhibitory effect of alcohol on the activity of the crucial fat burning enzyme lipoprotein lipase.

Alcohol also increases the synthesis of large VLDL particles in the liver, which is the main source of triglycerides in the high triglyceride state so often seen with chronic excessive alcohol intake.”

Now check out the results below. Jason’s triglycerides plummeted from 386 to 113, with absolutely no dietary changes other than the elimination of alcohol.

Trigs

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Next, let’s look at Jason’s ApoB, a protein that can help LDL cholesterol bind to and clog blood vessels. Jason saw a significant drop in ApoB (142 to 118), indicating a significant improvement in cardiovascular health.

ApoB

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Next, let’s look at blood sugar. Before, I noted that:

…Jason has high fasted blood glucose and high hemoglobin A1c (a 3 month snapshot of his average blood sugar levels). Since alcoholic drinks contain high amounts of sugar from both glucose and fructose sources, this is no surprise. In an active athlete like Jason, I’d expect to see fasted glucose levels that are below 90, but instead, he appears to have chronically elevated blood sugar levels and is relying upon carbohydrates (not fat) for energy. In Jason’s resting metabolic rate results farther below, you’ll see that this is indeed the case.”

However, now look at Jasons HbA1c values! They dropped from 5.7 to 5.4, another significant improvement in an important metabolic marker.

HbA1C

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Now comes a big one: thyroid.

I had noted before that:

“…Jason has a very elevated TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).  TSH triggers the thyroid gland in your neck to produce thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which are crucial for your body’s use of energy. The amount of functioning thyroid hormones gives your brain feedback as to how much TSH to release, so the brain will release less or more TSH as it senses is necessary. Low thyroid function can cause weight gain, fatigue, cold intolerance and brain fog.

Prior to this test, Jason was aware that he was hypothyroid, and is currently on 75mcg per day of Synthroid (Levothyroxine). This is definitely not my top pick for thyroid supplementation, as it is a synthetic form of thyroid and contains only one of the two major thyroid hormones: T4. I’m a much bigger fan of a full spectrum of thyroid hormones that includes T1, T2, T3 and T4. In the past, I’ve recommend natural thyroid replacement supplements such as ThyroGold for this reason.

While alcohol isn’t always the culprit when it comes to low thyroid function, it can certainly play a role. It has been shown to cause direct suppression of thyroid function by cellular toxicity, and indirect suppression by blunting the release of an important thyroid-related hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). With elevated chronic use, it can also cause a decrease of peripheral thyroid hormones like T3 and T4, primarily due to it’s deleterious effect on liver and gut conversion of thyroid hormones to their active form.

My guess is that Jason experiences a distinct drop in TSH after 30 days, indicated improved thyroid function.”

Jason’s TSH drop was shocking. He went from a clinically concerning 4.73 down to a 2.44, indicating a huge shift in his thyroid hormone production capabilities. This alone has influenced me personally to be careful to limit myself to the “one glass of wine” rule as a consistent habit, and if you’re concerned about your own thyroid, you should definitely pay attention to this one.

TSH

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The changes in Jason’s liver enzymes should come as no surprise. Before, I said:

….”As I would have expected due to his level of alcohol consumption, Jason has elevated liver enzymes. His Alanine Aminotransferase, or ALT, is especially elevated. This is an enzyme in liver cells, and liver damage or disease causes a release of ALT from the liver cells, increasing the amount in the blood. AST and ALP are found in cells other than liver cells, while ALT is more specific to liver cells.

High alcohol intake and high body fat percentages can both increase liver enzymes. I suspect we’ll see some very favorable decreases in Jason’s liver enzymes at the end of 30 days.”

Now check out the charts below. His enzymes dropped significantly across the board. Jason’s liver is shouting an enormous thank-you. It’s amazing how your body’s primary filters can bounce back when you just give them a chance.

AspartaeAmnotransferase AlkalinePhosphatase AlanineAminotransferase

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Before, I noted on Jason’s White Blood Cell (WBC) results that

“…An abnormally high amount of eosinophils in the blood can suggest a variety of different problems, such as allergies or infections, and I often see this in individuals who are A) eating lots of foods that create autoimmune issues, such as commercial wheat, soy, or dairy; B) have some kind of a gut infection, such as bacterial overgrowth or a parasite…”

You can see that Jason’s eosinophil count dropped from 8.1 to 7.3, possibly indicating less autoimmune activity (a good thing!). I’m not entirely convinced that this drop in WBC’s is extremely significant, or related to the drop in alcohol intake, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Eosinophils

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Regarding Jason’s Vitamin D levels, I originally wrote that Jason’s…

“…Vitamin D is low…really low. Ideal ranges for Vitamin D are 40-80 and he is at 11. It is well known in nutritional science that drinking too much alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb and activate Vitamin D.

Vitamin D only becomes physiologically active after it’s been chemically modified in the liver and kidneys. Since the liver must carry the majority of the burden of alcohol metabolism, excessive alcohol consumption puts an unhealthy overload on the liver and makes it less able to perform its other duties. This overload on the liver can eventually result in a number of disorders, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. By compromising normal liver function, alcohol interferes with the conversion of both dietary (from food) and endogenous (from sunlight) vitamin D into its active forms. As a consequence, heavy drinkers will tend to have low blood levels of vitamin D.

Jason will not be adding any extra Vitamin D supplementation over the next 30 days or increasing his sunlight exposure significantly, so it will be interesting to see how cutting alcohol affects his Vitamin D.”

As you can see below, despite no supplementation with Vitamin D, Jason’s Vitamin D climbed from 11 to 18 in just 30 days – which is extremely significant.

VitaminD

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Before & After Photos

You probably noticed above that Jason lost 8.8 pounds of body weight. If you’d like to see what that amount of weight loss looks like qualitatively in photo form, then behold the before and after photos below.

Before…

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A476CC01-79D6-4D08-B3EE-26699D9247F2

After….

IMG_2110

IMG_2109

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Summary

Finally, here is Jason’s own post with his thoughts on the experience and his feelings on the highlights of cutting alcohol for 30 days.

After reviewing Jason’s results, I’m personally inspired to back off my alcohol intake a bit. While I enjoy my nightly glass of red wine, and see no issues with the “glass a day” habit, I am certainly going to think twice before pouring myself a second glass, and although in the past, I’d go out and have two to five drinks every few weeks or so, I am also going to be limiting that amount of partying or binging I do in 2015.

After all, I think you can have quite a bit of fun without going on a bender, and without deleteriously affecting your blood glucose, liver health, thyroid, metabolism and immune system in the way that we’ve learned by looking at Jason’s results.

Then, as I always do, I’m also going to spend the first 30 days of January doing a simple, mild detox. For me personally, this means one or two 20-24 hour fasts, along with very limited amounts of alcohol, 30 days of Metal-Free heavy metal detox spray, and finally 2 NatureCleanse Detox & Gut Cleanser each morning with 2 NatureCleanse Detox & Gut Cleanser each evening.

If you want to peruse my other detoxing articles and materials, and the rationale behind my personal yearly detox, here are the best resources I’ve created on the topic:

-Is Detoxing Really A Myth? (article)

-How To Detox For Active People (article)

-How To Detox – A Quick Primer On How To Cleanse Your Body For The New Year (Without Going To Some Expensive Resort On A Mountaintop (article)

-How To Fix Your Gut: 9 Bad Things That Happen When Your Digestion Goes Wrong, How To Hit The Reboot Button & The Best Way To Detox Your Body (article)

-Detox Special Podcast: The 8 Most Popular Detox Diets, How To Detox, A Detox Q&A, And Much More! (podcast)

-What Is Detoxification and How Can You Detox Your Body? (podcast)

Feel free to include any detox questions below this post. I’m happy to help walk you through the details, and a detox protocol would be perfect to include along with limited alcohol intake for at least one month out of every year.

And like I mentioned earlier, if you’d like to run your own 30 Days No Alcohol Experiment then you’ll be pleased to know that WellnessFX has arranged a 15% discount on two Baseline blood testing packages (exactly what Jason got), along with a download of a free copy of my REV Yourself ebook. That’s a huge value, and at checkout, you can even include a 20-minute nutritionist consultation for personalized recommendations you can implement immediately. Click here to get this enormously discounted blood testing package now.

So what do you think? Would YOU quit alcohol for 30 days? Have you done it before and if so, what happened? Leave your questions, comments and feedback below!

Are Hunters The Fittest People In The World?

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Is the ultimate functional blend of fitness the “hunter-athlete”?

Could a guy who trudges through mountains for days and shoots 700 pound animals with a bow be more fit than a Crossfitter, Spartan athlete, or Ironman?

Could training to hunt and hunting fitness competitions finally be the way that you can scratch that primal itch to provide food for yourself and your family, while also building amazing cardiovascular and muscular fitness?

In this podcast, recorded live from the Greenfield barnhouse in Spokane, Washington, you’ll find out – as I interview bowhunter Kenton Clairmont from TrainToHunt.com. You’re going to learn about the gnarliest hunting workouts, how hunting can get you to the extreme edge of fitness, Kenton’s go-to hunting workouts, and much more.

Click here to download the audio version, or watch the video below.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about hunting for fitness? Leave your thoughts below, and if you liked this episode, you may also want to tune into “How To Build Primal Fitness And Endurance By Hunting: An Interview With A Bowhunting Triathlete” and “3 Ways Hunting Can Get You Ripped And 10 Ways To Get Fit For Hunting”.

The #1 Health App To Track Your Fitness And Diet In 2015.

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It seems like every day, someone asks me what I use for “self-quantification”. After all, wearable technology that can quantify everything from your steps to your sleep to your stress seems to be taking the world by storm.

And I’ve tried just about all of them. Whenever a new one gets released, I feed my fascination with health tracking and self-quantification by guinea-pigging it on myself. When the very first Fitbit came out, I used it, and from the Tinke to the Timex MoveX20 to the Jawbone UP3 (which the world-famous Dr. Mercola recently waxed positive about in my REV Yourself conference), I’ve found benefits in each.

But ultimately, the darling of self-quantification is heart rate variability, also known as HRV. Ever since the day I learned that professional European football teams (*ahem*, that’s soccer) relied upon HRV measurements to track the physical and psychological response to training, to plan the entire week’s workouts, and to predict injuries and illness before they happen, I started to dig into this technology.

The result has been over three years of HRV articles and podcasts on this website, including the most popular and useful:

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

-Everything You Need To Know About Heart Rate Variability Testing (podcast)

-What Is The Best Way To Track Your Heart Rate Variability (HRV)? (podcast)

-25 Ways To Know With Laser-Like Accuracy If Your Body Is Truly Recovered And Ready To Train (article)

-Do Professional Sports Teams Have It All Wrong When It Comes To Optimizing Performance & Recovery? (article)

Peruse those links above if you know nothing about HRV. You’ll come out the other side as an HRV genius. But perhaps you’re impatient and you just want to start testing HRV, and throw in a few other forms of self-quantification too,such as respiration, energy, skin temperature, steps and calories burnt. If so, then keep reading, because I’m going to reveal the #1 health app to track your diet and fitness in 2015.*

*OK, OK, it’s an iOS app. Android should be available in next couple months. So you can still keep reading if you own an Android.

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Many of the HRV resources I just listed above included conversations with and information from SweetBeat, a company that I’ve always found to has been on the cutting edge of biohacking, and a company that is incredibly good at condensing all the “geekiness” of heart rate variability tracking into practical and easy-to-understand terms.

Earlier in 2014, I began working with SweetBeat to harness their technology into a new app, which I affectionately, appropriately and possibly even narcissistically have named the Greenfield NatureBeat phone app. I wanted an app that would not only allow me to understand the information presented in the data that I track every day, but also give me many valuable metrics all at once (such as HRV, stress, heart rate, weight, steps, calories, skin temperature, respiration, etc.).

Basically, the app uses either a bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor or a patch called a “HealthPatch” (which you can grab from inside the app) to provide real-time measurements of your recovery and nervous system health using skin sensors and data correlation algorithms. It is the exact system that I use every morning to track my own heart rate variability, recovery status and training readiness. It also integrates and correlates data with popular fitness platforms like Restwise, MapMyFitness, Fitbit and Withings.

stress monitorThe “Monitor” screen on the NatureBeat app allows you to choose which feature you would like to use (Stress Monitoring, HRV for Training, or Heart Rate Recovery). After starting a session, the your metrics will fill the screen, showing you heart rate, HRV, stress level, and current mood.

The EKG-like heart beat trace is the first window you see when you begin tracking on this Monitor screen. By flipping this window around, you can see several other real-time features, including the stats screen, which shows all the metrics used in the algorithm calculations and then some (I call this the “geek mode” screen). If you’re using the HealthPatch, which is literally a patch that you can stick on your body,  you can also monitor your respiration, energy, skin temperature, steps and activity.

chartsThe “Graph” screen shows a real-time building graph of your heart rate, using what are called “RR Intervals”. When you turn your phone 90 degrees counter-clockwise, it will bring up this graph in landscape, and gives you real-time feedback about your heart rate activity. This is really the future of noninvasive monitoring of cardiovascular and nervous system health and performance, because it can even give you information about whether your heart is “skipping beats” or experiencing other electrical abnormalities – information you’d normally have to pay big bucks to go do a stress electrocardiogram test to get.

correlationsThe “Correlation” screen uses an algorithm to correlate all of the data you collect about yourself, so you can see, for example, how you sleep correlates to your HRV, how your activity correlates to your food intake, etc. It’s just a cool way to see in graphical format what how different aspects of your life correlate together, whether it’s HRV, stress, weight, body fat or anything else you’re quantifying with any other device.

session summaryIf you look at the most elite athletes on the face of the planet, breakthrough performance is achieved by alternating periods of intensive training with periods of relative rest. Now you can do the same, but without playing a “guessing game” about whether you’re truly recovered. Instead, NatureBeat uses algorithms to create a personalized reference line for you based on a single daily 3 to 5 minute measurement (preferably taken in the morning while you’re lying in bed). Just like your own personal coach or physician, the app then recommends you to “train as usual”, have a “low exertion day”, or take a “rest day”.

And then there’s the food sensitivity feature, which is very useful if you’ve ever wondered whether a food affects you negatively, even if you don’t get a stark reaction to that food (e.g. do eggs or bread affect your nervous system, even if you don’t get a stomach ache from them?) . To use the food sensitivity feature, you first take a morning reading of your pulse to establish a baseline for the day. Before eating a meal, you then record the foods in that meal and then do a pulse test. After you have finished eating, the app will prompt you to record your heart rate every 30 minutes until 90 minutes have passed. Once that testing is complete, the meal will either pass or fail for food sensitivity based on how your heart rate responded to that meal.

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Need to know if you’re recovering properly? How a meal or food is affecting your nervous system and body? Whether your body is ready to go hard or whether it needs a break?

As you can see, this new app does all that for you.

Whether you wear it throughout the day, or simply do a 5 minute measurement each morning, the NatureBeat Heart Rate Variability Tracker app measures:

-Heart Rate
-Heart Rate Variability
-Respiration
-Energy
-Skin temperature
-Steps and activity
-Calories
-Food Sensitivity
-Anything else you want to feed into it from another app

Pretty cool, eh? Full disclosure: it ain’t free. It’s $9.99. So skip a couple lattes this week and try it out.

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Finally, you should know that I’m fully aware of the debate about whether or not having a Bluetooth signal constantly humming about your body is actually good thing.

I suspect that, despite there being no firm evidence of any deleterious health effects of Bluetooth (unlike the evidence that glaringly exists for cell phones), I’m still cautious.

So I don’t use the Greenfield NatureBeat app all day long. I simply use it for a 5 minute “check-in” each morning while I’m lying in bed, then whip it out every now and again when I want to see how stressful something is to the different branches of my nervous system (such as a food, an exercise or even a relationship).

For example, using this approach of only self-quantifying in the morning, then occasionally using the technology for other activities, I’ve discovered some really interesting data, such as:

-Barbell squats are the most stressful exercise you can do. Technically, as long as you don’t overdo them, this is a good thing, since your body bounces back stronger when you send it that signal that there’s a heavy lion jumping on your back.

-My heart rate variability actually drops (a bad thing) when I consume a whey protein isolate made from cows vs. a whey protein isolate made from goats. I suspect this is due to some kind of allergenic response to the larger protein size in cow whey.

-My morning resting heart rate variability gets amped up the very highest (indicating low stress and relaxation) if I’ve had sex the night before, and plummets through the floor if I’ve consumed an anti-histamine (such as Nyquil or Benadryl) the night before.

Anyways, I could go on and on, but I’m curious what you’ve discovered from testing your own heart rate variability, stress and health…

…so leave your comments below, and if you still haven’t tried this ultimate form of self-quantification, then what are you waiting for? Click here to grab the app now. Happy tracking. 

 

How To Dominate Cognitive Tasks, Think Faster And Get More Done.

how to think faster

I was a bit jet-lagged, tired and slightly below my desired cognitive capacity prior to hopping on stage this year to speak at the Bulletproof Biohacking conference.

So as I wandered through the expo, I thought to myself – why not try a new-fangled smart drug I haven’t tried before?

As you’d probably suspect, that’s not something I advise to do prior to getting on stage in front of hundreds of people, but I occasionally live life on the wild side, so I grabbed a handful of some stuff called “CILTEP” (which is basically a mix of artichoke extract and forskolin), washed it down with a glass of water, and then gave my presentation.

I did not get sick, vomit, or die, and things went pretty well during the presentation. I also got an email a few weeks later from the folks at NaturalStacks (the developers of CILTEP) asking me if I’d like to interview their co-founder Roy Krebs, who is a former college football player, an ex-sushi chef, and is now in charge of helping to develop smart drugs and designed strategies for hard-charging individuals to mentally dominate cognitive tasks.

Roy sounded like a fascinating guy, so I said yes. And now you get to listen in to our discussion, during which I ask Roy:

-How does one become a developer and designer of smart drugs?

-What is your approach to developing a smart drug?

-What are your top strategies for people to dominate cognitive tasks?

-What’s the best way to get things done faster: routine or randomness?

-Do you use to-do lists, or do you just “flow”?

-I’ve heard you’re into sensory deprivation and float tanks. What’s the best way to use those?

Resource we discuss in this episode:

-CILTEP

-FocusAtWill

-RescueTime

-Inversion Table

-Marinara Timer for Pomodoro Technique

-Float Seattle

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about CILTEP, thinking faster, enhancing cognitive performance or anything else that Roy and I discuss? Leave your thoughts below.

My Christmas Gift To You – A Short Story: “The Spirits of Sobriety”.

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Well, this is a first. 

I am giving you the Christmas gift of a short story, written by yours truly.

No hardcore fitness non-fiction or hum-drum scientific geek-speak here. Just a quick 2000 word read about alcohol, or more appropriately, the lack thereof.

What you’re about to read is actually some creative writing that I accomplished on a handful of airplane rides last month (something about being unplugged from WiFi gets my creative juices flowing).

So grab yourself an eggnog – virgin if you’d like – sit back, and enjoy. I call this story “The Spirits of Sobriety”.

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“Seriously Dick, don’t you think this is getting just slightly excessive?”

Perched on a rickety, wooden stool in the dark corner of the pub, Dick leaned back, shrugged indifferently, took a long, cool sip of his Gerolsteiner on the rocks, and pointed a crooked finger at the pricey cocktail menu, “Actually Charles, my liver feels fantastic. Do you realize how hydrated I am right now – I mean, relative to anybody else in here? And how much money do you think I’ve saved by being sober? You see the price of these signature martinis? It’s like Starbucks on steroids, Charles.”

Charles slowly stirred his scotch with a plastic red straw and peered at Dick with a biting glance, “Dick, you’re a bore. You’re no fun. You haven’t had a drink in nearly seventeen years. For crying out loud, Dick, it’s nearly freaking Christmas and you’re going to go through yet another holiday season without so much spirit as a drop of eggnog. Loosen up, man. Remember college? Remember parties? Remember Betty?”

“Betty? Seriously? Are you really going to play that card?” Dick chomped on a chard of ice and violently crushed a lemon wedge into his water, “You really think she left me because I don’t booze?”

Charles had seen Dick’s violent outrages before, and knew it was time to leave his sober companion to lonely, friendless thoughts. He scribbled his signature on the check and stood up to leave.

But Dick kept venting loudly, “Low blow, man. Low blow. Yeah, go. Go home and drink your friggin’ life away Charles.”

Charles pulled his coat and scarf over his shoulders and strode towards the exit, “Merry Christmas, Dick. Enjoy a lonely, sober Christmas Eve as usual, you humdrum.”

Dick slouched over the table and stared aimlessly at the worn brick wall. Humdrum? Am I really that dull? Just because I don’t know the subtleties between a merlot and a cabernet?

As Dick sat silently, pondering the difference between a stout and a porter, a shooter and a cocktail, a Tom Collins and a Singapore Sling, a waitress interrupted his depressed daydreaming.

“Get you something else mister?”

He looked at her, then glanced at her nametag. It said, “Ask Me About 2-For-1 Irish Car Bombs”.

Dick shook his head and stood. He brushed aside two staggering undergraduates, pushed open the big wooden door, and stomped out into the biting cold.

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Back at home, Dick sipped a lukewarm chamomile tea and sat staring at the dying embers of the fire. All was silent. Lonely. Dark. The same as it was every Christmas for him.

The stairs creaked as he headed up to his bedroom, and quietly walked down the hallway under the flickering lights, too embarrassed to attend any of the Christmas Eve parties in the neighborhood – but too committed to temperance to let a drop of alcohol touch his lips.

He crawled into his bed, pulled on a beanie cap to keep his head warm, and stared at the peeling wallpaper before muttering, “Maybe I’ll just get sloshed tomorrow.”

Dick rolled over, pulled the covers tight, and closed his eyes.

—————————-

Sluuurp.

Dick sat bolt upright at the sound.

Splash. Slurp. Gurgle.

“What the hell?” Dick blurted and leapt to his feet.

“Black pepper and cheap leather, that’s what!”

The pitchy European accent came from the dark corner in Dick’s room. Dick could barely discern a shadowy figure standing in the corner, holding a dark bottle of what appeared to be wine.

“You really didn’t get that?” The thin wispy shadow in the corner adjusted her designer jeans, pulled down the sleeves of her tight turtleneck shirt, and slipped in front of Dick, “You really didn’t get those hints of pepper and leather?”

She waved a stained cork under his nose, and arrogantly peered at him, “Pepper. Leather. Possibly dog piss and wet fur. You getting that?”

Dick stepped back, nearly stumbling back into his bed, “W-what the hell are you?”

“Well I’m the spirit of Christmas wine, you ignorant little prick. I can’t believe you’re not getting any of those notes off this wine. Here, come.”

Before he could even flinch, she grabbed his wrist and they were suddenly outside Dick’s living room window, seventeen years earlier. Dick put his nose to the glass.

Sure enough, there he and Betty were, inside a dank apartment.

“You remember this?” The spirit asked.

Dick nodded, “She-“

“Just watch.” The spirit interrupted him, pressing her turned-up nose against the glass.

Betty was obviously furious. She was ranting, pacing, waving her arms, screaming. The younger Dick sat on the couch, head in his hands.

“What do you mean, Dick? What do you mean you’re done drinking? Just done? Just like that? We have a Christmas party tonight, Dick, tonight. You’re such a little bitch. You’re ruining a perfectly good holiday.”

The older Dick winced. He had forgotten how mean Betty had become. He watched as the younger Dick quietly fought back, “Betty, I just – I just don’t like alcohol anymore. It hurts my head. I don’t feel good. I’m done. I’m just, done.

Older Dick continued to watch. He knew what was coming next and felt a lump in his throat as he watched Betty throw a coat around her shoulders and storm towards the front door, “Well Timothy will certainly go with me. And Tim knows how to drink, Dick. He’s fun. He knows how to have a good time.”

She slammed the door. Younger Dick wiped away a tear and quietly sipped on a glass of grapefruit juice.

As Dick turned away from the window, the spirit of Christmas wine held a glass of dark red under his lips, “Care to taste? This Burgundy scored a 97 on the latest Wine Spectator.”

Dick took a sip, “Not bad, I guess. That’s what a fine French wine tastes like, huh?”

“Neeeh.” The wine spirit cackled and leered at him, “Gullible, aren’t you? That’s a two dollar merlot. You’re hopeless, you little bitch.”

She touched his wrist again and suddenly he was back in his bed.

————————-

Dick took a few sharp breaths. His heart was pounding. What a strange dream. What an asinine wine connoisseur. What a horrible memory of Betsy. He put his head on his pillow and closed his eyes.

Clink!

This time the sound came from the downstairs kitchen.

Dick rapidly reacted this time, instinctively grabbing an old wooden baseball bat under his bedframe, bounding down the stairs, and throwing open his kitchen door with a violent scream.

Before Dick was a messy spectacle of a tiny man darting about like a hyperactive elf, his head at barely the height of the kitchen counter as he juggled, poured, spiced and sprinkled countless alcoholic concoctions into glass containers of various shapes and sizes.

“Holy hell!” shouted Dick, “What are you?”

The sharp-nosed, wispy man spun around and glared at Dick, “I’m the spirit of Christmas cocktails of course,” he flipped a bottle of rum and winked, “Peppermint Mai-Tai anyone?”

Dick wrinkled his nose in disgust, “Thanks, but I’ve just had wine.”

“Well you know what they say. Wine before liquor, never sicker. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I don’t know. Here!” Before Dick could flinch, the spirit flung a shot glass at him, dashed to his side and filled it to the brim, “Schnapps! Drink!”

Dick fumbled the shot glass and impulsively poured the sickeningly sweet drink into his mouth, coughing loudly as it burned it’s way down his throat. Suddenly, the man was at his side with another shot, “Prairie fire! Drink! Cheers!”

And again, “Liquid Cocaine! Go!”

Dick’s head was already spinning. Resistance was futile. He slammed another shot. Lemon drop. Kamikaze. Slippery Nipple.

The room became a fog. Dick’s face was turning green. The little man’s sharp, biting voice was eating a headache into his skull. Dick felt the bile coming up his throat as half a dozen hard alcohols stirred in his stomach, and the shots kept coming.

Dick was halfway to his kitchen trash can and vomit was already seeping out the corners of his mouth. As the little man made some kind of joke about a cheap date, Dick buried his head into the trash and began spewing.

Everything went black.

————————-

“Ho-ho-HO.”

The loud chuckling sounded like brash church bells inside Dick’s throbbing head. The room smelled sulfurous, as though someone had smashed a dozen rotten eggs against the wall, or farted.

“Phbbt.”

Definitely a fart. A loud, fermented fart. Dick squinted in the direction of the laughter, and the overwhelmingly pungent smell. An enormous, bearded ogre-like man sat perched on a stool in the corner of the room, his giant gut nearly spilling nearly down to his knees. He rubbed his big red nose, took a vast swig of a frosted brew, and chuckled again, holding out an overflowing mug, “Care for a l-l-lager?” he stuttered, obviously drunk;

Dick groaned as the bitter hops wafted under his nose. He suddenly felt even more sick.

The tipsy giant staggered to his feet, adjusted his giant red cloak, and stumbled towards Dick, lurching forward and spilling sticky brew on the bedroom floor. He smiled broadly and slapped a huge hairy hand on Dick’s shoulder while shoving the mug under Dick’s nose, “C’mon, take a nip o’ this from the spirit of Christmas beer.”

Dick tried to pull himself away from the towering spirit, but it was too late. The massive man forced a gulp of beer down Dick’s gullet, suffocating him with the stench of strong brew and fermented body odor.

Dick struggled to escape from the vise-like grip on his shoulder, but the giant just laughed again, his rank breath hot against Dick’s cheeks, “Live a little, my sober friend.” He gave Dick a forceful bear hug and began to laugh again, his big belly jiggling wildly. Dick desperately made one last violent attempt to escape, ferociously shoving the spirit, then realized his horrible mistake as the enormous mass of beer, hair and body odor passed out and came crashing down on him.

All went dark.

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Dick awoke to the glow of winter sunshine streaming through the bedroom window. He sat up and braced for a dreaded, splitting headache.

But his head felt clear. Clean. Had it all been a dream?

He jumped from his bed and quickly tiptoed down to the kitchen, cautiously cracking open the door. The counters were pristine and untouched, the trash can neatly tucked away in the corner. He strode to the refrigerator and poured himself a glass of cold, refreshing water.

Dick tap-danced to the frosted window, and flung it open to see the neighborhood children dashing through the snow, cheering loudly as they pulled their sleds up and down the street. It was Christmas morning, and all was right with the world, without a drop of booze in sight!

Still in his pajamas and slippers, Dick dashed outside. He pranced to the corner market, skipped past the holiday wine sale, and threw open the cooler, shoveling handfuls of Perrier and Pellegrino into his basket. He even splurged on a six pack of O’Douls and as he waited in line, he tapped on his smartphone and ordered a Christmas gift subscription for Charlie to a year-long Culligan’s filtered water delivery.

As he pranced merrily out into the parking lot and back down the street, Dick winked, smiled and confidently bellowed to the neighborhood couple passing his way on the sidewalk, “I’ve got spirit, yes I do, I’ve got spirit how ‘bout you?”

He tossed a gift of Gerolsteiner to the bewildered man and woman as he skipped away through the snow, shouting back over his shoulder, “This will go perfectly with cranberry and a lemon wedge, no vodka required!”

The couple stood there for a moment, curiously inspecting the bottle, then the woman looked up.

“This may actually go well with the gin. Shall we start the party before breakfast this year?”

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So…what do you think?

Should I toss in a bit of creative writing for you here and there? Or should I stick to my day job? Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Oh, and speaking of sobriety, definitely stay tuned next week, when I’m going to reveal Part 2 of the shocking results from the “30 Days No Alcohol Experiment“.

P.S. I have absolutely nothing against alcohol. I am, in fact, off to drink a very large glass of red wine as soon as I push the publish button.

The Problem With Paleo: Why It’s OK To Eat Bread, Grains, Legumes, Cheese & Milk.

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A few weeks ago, while I was in Israel, I posted the photo above to my Instagram page, with the comment that…

“A Paleo person could never survive in Israel – local popped corn sprinkled with moss from the rooftop, freshly grown spelt and rye, falafel with soaked chickpeas, amazing lemons and guavas you simply bite through the skin, carob picked straight out of the desert, local raw sheep’s cheese and goat milk cheese sprinkled with fresh herbs, and omega-6 fatty acid packed tahinis blended with beets, freshly pressed olive oil and cilantro. Oh well. More for me.”

I have to admit that I stuffed my face with huge portions of nearly every food listed above when I visited a home in Galilee for a traditional weekly Jewish Shabbat feast. During that dinner, I sat next to Uri Mayer-Chissick (also known as “The Israeli Locavore”), who is a food historian and wild edible plant expert, and we had an interesting about traditional agricultural foods like bread and cheese, and the surge in popularity of the strict avoidance of these foods by those who adhere to a “hunter-gatherer” Paleo-esque diet.

Uri and I delve deeply into this discussion today’s audio podcast.

screenshot_991And this guy is the real deal. Not only does he cook amazing food, but he also leads hikes and tours of the Israeli countryside to find local wild edible plants, and he teaches outdoor cooking classes, gives food history lectures and prepares gourmet meals in nature, reconstructing historical recipes with wild plants.

When he’s not traipsing through the valley of springs in north-eastern Israel with a pot and pan in his hand, Uri lectures about food, the history of local food preservation, ways that ancient medicine used nutrition as a way to achieve balance, and the traditions of foraging, healing and cooking in the Mediterranean and Middle-East.

During our discussion, you’ll learn:

-How a Paleo diet that adheres to the philosophy of no-bread, no-grains, little to no dairy, etc. has been received in a Mediterranean culture where it seems that bread, legumes, wheat, cheese, etc. are such staples…

-How “traditionally prepared” bread is so much different than modern bread, and how you can find or make easy-to-digest bread…

-How you can prepare things like lentils and chickpeas to make them more friendly to the human gut…

-What it is it some dairy causes health problems, but some dairy is no nourishing and digestible…

-Why a rise in celiac disease is due to a difference in the way wheat is grown…

-And much more!

Resources:

-Nourishing Traditions

-The Art of Fermentation

-Goat whey protein

-Vertical gardening towers

-Vibe Israel, an organization that brings international on- and offline opinion leaders in health and nutrition on a weeklong personalized experience of the burgeoning wellness scene in Israel (I’ve already released two valuable lessons I learned on that Israel journey: “5 Things You Can Learn From The Burgeoning Health, Wellness And Nutrition Scene In Israel” and “Why You Get Cancer And What You Can Do About It“).

By the way, even though I’m not Paleo, you can click here to come hear me speak at PaleoFX 2015, which is a Who’s Who gathering of the ancestral food and exercise movement, with world-class speakers including best-selling authors, physicians, nutritionists, research scientists, professional athletes, trainers, sustainability and food activists, biohackers, and more.

Question, comments or feedback about the problem with Paleo? Leave your thoughts below!

A Day In The Life Of The Ultimate Fat Burning Weapon Inventor.

evening cold thermogenesis

Meet Eric (pictured above as he stares off into some mysterious icy wilderness).

I’ll keep this simple for you: Eric is mildly obsessed with the use of cold exposure to burn massive amounts of calories. He invented a vest that I use every week, called a CoolFatBurner. You put the vest over your shoulders, where your body carries the majority of your rapid calorie burning brown adipose tissue, and then you just sit there.

Oh yeah, one other thing: the vest is filled with cold packs.

So anyways, you may be scratching your head, you may think all this is woo-woo, you may already know about “cold thermogenesis” but you’re not quite sure how practically to do it, or you may simply want an easy way to nudge any extra holiday calories off your waistline and instead use them to generate pure, clean body heat.

Either way, keep reading, because Eric is today’s guest author, and he’s going to give you a glimpse inside the nefarious, shivering mind of the ultimate fat burning weapon inventor – himself. Enjoy.

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Howdy and Happy Holidays.

If you’ve been reading Ben’s blog or listening to his podcast for the past year, then you probably already know of the fat-burning benefits of cold thermogenesis, cold showers, keeping your house cool and wearing special gear that keeps you cold.  Along with interviewing guys like iceman Wim Hof and neurosurgeon Jack Kruse, Ben was the first person to reveal the results of my groundbreaking indirect calorimetry experiment, which shows that high intensity cold stress can boost your metabolism by 301% (gotta love burning an extra 600 calories while I play video games).
Since then, I’ve shown that wearing my Cool Fat Burner vest can boost adiponectin by 60% in two hours, raise resting metabolic rate, and activate brown fat – and keep it active for hours after removing the cooling vest. We later duplicated this experiment last August, just to further show the cold thermogenesis can maintain maximal brown adipose levels even through a hot summer season. Using the weapon of cold, we also showed that you can spot reduce stomach fat via cold-induced fat cell apoptosis.

That’s fat cell death. Goodbye muffin tops.

But we now know that the Cool Fat Burner can do a lot more than speed up fat burning. It can also directly encourage muscle growth.  This is arguably just as important as the fat burning benefit.  Why?

As of the time you are reading this, over 2/3 of Americans are overweight, with the modernized world not far behind.

But when many people try to lose weight, they end up losing muscle tissue along with that fat, sometimes losing a lot of valuable muscle that can be very, very hard to get back!  This is obviously not good.  Aside from the fact that you’ll look less healthy, be weaker and have decreased performance at most physical tasks, you may also be at higher risk for the various metabolic and “lifestyle disorders” you tried to avoid by losing weight in the first place.

And now, since you lost muscle, your workout capacity and resting metabolic rate have dropped, which means that what used to be a maintenance level of food that was burned by your own muscle is now a calorie surplus!

So your purpose in become the ultimate fat-burning machine is clear: you want to be able to burn fat, while preserving (or even building new) muscle.

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How To Burn Fat And Build Muscle At The Same Time

Cold thermogenesis can be your secret weapon in this battle that so many others struggling at the gym don’t (yet) realize.

To help maintain muscle while you burn fat, cold thermogenesis can help you:

So cold thermogenesis can not only boost metabolism, burn a massive number of calories, and help keep the fat off, but it can also help preserve and even promote muscle gains. Click on the links for yourself. The research has spoken, and it just makes sense when you think about – in the same way that exercise can be uncomfortable and eating healthy or skipping a few holiday bottles of booze can be uncomfortable, cold exposure can be uncomfortable – but the benefits of even mild cold stress are profound. Discomfort pays off.

So what is the best protocol to optimize cold thermogenesis and make all this happen?

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How To Use Cold Thermogenesis

I’ve integrated some of the most effective diet plans, workout paradigms, and cold thermogenesis breakthroughs into what I call the “Body Recomp” plan.  This plan is highly individualized and customizable, since it’s really just a set of principles that you pick and choose as you please, combining diet, exercise and cold stress in the absolute best ways to meet the goals of burning fat, building muscle, and improving health, with the speed at which you go dependent on how far you’re willing to take the diet and the cold.

Is your goal to eat 18 scoops of ice cream (dairy-free vegan coconut ice cream, of course) and partition those calories away from fat and instead shove them into muscle, all while still walking around with exemplary health markers and clinically low insulin levels?  Well, here you go:

Eventually, I’ll have the Body Recomp plan up on the new Cool Fat Burner site with free access.  Until then, I’m going to give you a few general concepts, principles, and practices you can get started with.

To begin, you must understand two simple concepts: mTOR and AMPK – one builds up and one breaks down, respectively. The table below fills you in.

Cool Fat Burner

 

The key in building muscle and burning fat at the same time is to unlock the benefits of both these processes, while avoiding the negatives of both – to build your muscles, without increasing fat storage or abnormal, cancerous cells and to burn fat and clean up bad cells without tearing down muscle.

Cold thermogenesis spans the gap.  It has been shown to accelerate fat loss and kick in AMPK, and yet the effects of both irisin and adiponectin can help preserve muscle tissue and activate mTOR.

And that, in a very basic scientific nutshell, is how you build muscle and burn fat at the same time.

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The Levels of Cold Thermogenesis

Back when the Cool Fat Burner was first created, I defined 3 distinct levels or intensities of cold stress, based on the level of cold stimulus required, the systems they activate, and the results they give you.

Level 1: Beginner / Casual Intensity:

This feels like being lightly cooled off, and would be like hanging out in a 65°F room with minimal clothing. It activates the autonomic nervous system, and causes a small increase in calorie burning (probably around 10%).  This is a low level of cold thermogenesis, and could be done for hours a day, with minimal effort.  You may even experience enhanced glucose uptake at this level.

For example, I received an email from a Cool Fat Burner user who wasn’t ready for the insulin sensitizing effects of cold thermogenesis. He said he wore the cooling vest over a T-shirt, and when he approached the 30 minute mark, he nearly passed out! When I questioned further, it turned out his mother was diabetic, and that he was 100lbs overweight and had a fatty liver.

Simply put, the customer had poor insulin sensitivity, and was pre-diabetic and cold thermogenesis caused a massive burning up of blood glucose, pulling it into brown fat and muscle tissue!

Even though I don’t encourage cooling yourself into hypoglycemic shock, this of course proves the power of cold exposure, and demonstrates why brown fat is being researched to help treat or even prevent (T2) diabetes.  It also demonstrates that you need to be careful when engaging in cold thermogenesis, because it actually works!

Level 2: Moderate Intensity

This is a deeper chill, and starts to activate brown fat and skeletal muscle uncoupling.  This will definitely increase glucose uptake and start to allow for nutrient partitioning.  The calorie burn numbers here can depend on how much muscle and brown fat you have (you’ll burn more calories when you maintain muscle while losing fat).

Also note – cold thermogenesis can maintain maximal brown adipose tissue levels even through summer, which I found when wearing a cooling vest around 1.5 hrs a day, and verified with PET scans.  So while hot weather will decrease brown fat in everyone else, you can use cold thermogenesis to maintain maximal BAT levels and fat burning even through the summer.

Level 2: Hardcore Intensity

This intensity ventures into the realm of shivering.  But before you go running for the hills, understand that there is a spectrum here – this can be a subtle, barely perceptible pre-shiver that only works in small muscle groups, and progress up to large-scale shivering shaking your entire body.

Even in the indirect calorimetry experiment, doing slight to moderate shivering, interval shivering (so-called “shiver surfing”) I demonstrated a boosted metabolism of over 300%.  This level also produces the highest levels of adiponectin and irisin.

So shivering will burn a massive amount of calories, can help preserve or even build muscle, can radically increase insulin sensitivity, causes the fastest increase in your regular brown fat stores, and cause “browning” of your subcutaneous white fat into “bright” or “beige” fat, as well as a whole host of health and life-extending benefits (some may mistakenly think that hardcore intensity would be an unpleasant experience, but they’d be wrong).

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Two Sample Days Of Cold Thermogenesis

So, using these principles and applying those various intensities of cold thermogenesis, here are two sample days from the Body Recomp plan. Example one is for clean-bulking muscle (e.g. you want to build muscle and you really don’t have much fat to lose), and example two is for fat burning without losing muscle.

Example 1 – Anabolic Day (clean-bulk muscle building):

Goals:  turn on mTOR, build muscle without gaining fat.  Enjoy cheat foods.  Increase metabolism.  Have a ‘break’ from dieting.  Enjoy satiety, experience a full stomach.  Overall ‘building up’ of the body. Yep – you guessed it – perfect for the holidays.

Meal 1: Breakfast

Breakfast-5 eggs, 5 strips bacon, assorted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, etc)

-~50gm protein, moderate fats, very low carb  (usually take fish oil and chia seeds and fat-soluble vitamins like Vit D with this meal)

Note: Brazil nuts have a lot of selenium, which can build to toxic levels.  Eat in moderation.

If your workout suffers from having no carbs and you’ve ruled out it’s not just psychological, then throw in some slow-digesting carbs.  Oatmeal would be an excellent choice.

Workout 1: Early afternoon, muscle-building resistance training.

New PictureNOTE:  “resistance training” is a bit ambiguous.  We know that progressive overload is needed to preserve / build muscle.  Yet it’s recently been implied that the differences in rep ranges – the classical 1-5 reps for strength, vs the 7-12 reps for hypertrophy – may not be as clear cut as we once thought.

It appears one should work a muscle at least 2-3 times a week, anywhere from the “power rep range” (typically 1-5 reps) to the “hypertrophy rep range,” (usually 8-12 reps) and still get the same muscle size growth or preservation.  So specific rep ranges may not be too important in terms of muscle size and preservation, and individual goals, can factor in here.

Note:  On a more metabolically intensive variant of the Body Recomp plan, you can cycle in extremely high rep work, complexes, anaerobic work, metabolic work, HIIT (high intensity interval training), and LISS (low intensity steady state cardio).  You can also frequently cycle the type of exercise, as well as add ‘exotic’ methods, such as resistance bands, paused reps and timing schemes, partial movements, conjugate principles, and so on, to prevent plateaus and boredom. To preserve muscle simply means you need to spend adequate time on strength-end of the strength/endurance spectrum.

Meal 2: Post-Workout Meal (carb refeed)

post workout-Chicken thighs, lentils, sour kraut & kimchee, sweet potatoes, greek yogurt, an apple (usually w/ caramel dip), and dark chocolate.

-Lots of protein adequate carbs, as well as fiber and pro/pre-biotic elements.  (if you take probiotic pills, this would be a good time to pop ‘em)

-At least 50-60 gm protein in this meal.

-Alternate post-workout meal:  Junk food / cheat meal version:  use your imagination. Just make sure you get enough protein and make every attempt to keep things Ben approved. A giant gluten-free pizza with a pastured egg and some feta cheese on top? OK. A basket of greasy, inflammatory chicken wings? Probably not.

Note: While it may only take 20 gm protein to increase muscle protein synthesis, it’s still probably a good idea to get more protein per meal, especially if you’re older, andI never get less than 40gm protein in any given meal.  I like to get .8 to 1 gm per pound bodyweight every day, divided into 3-5 meals.  I weigh between 190lbs to 200lbs, depending on current goals, so I never get less than 150gm protein a day.

Note #2: the carb refeed can boost leptin and thyroid, can help reduce muscle protein breakdown, replenish muscle glycogen, and provide a psychological break from the diet.

cold thermogenesisCold thermogenesis / Cool Fat Burner session

After this post-workout meal, I’ll go for 1.5-2hrs wearing one or both cooling vests (Cool Gut Buster along with the Cool Fat Burner)

I may not shiver during this session, because I don’t want to burn off too many calories, nor activate AMPK – I want those post-workout meal calories to go into muscle building.

The goal here is for increased nutrient partitioning and pushing the nutrients into the muscles. I’m not really trying to burn too many calories, unless I went overboard with the junk food and fear carb spillover.  Moderate intensity cold thermogenesis is enough.

Meal 3: Night Meal

night meal-Huge 2.57lb taco salad (yes, the scale was tared for the weight of the plate and fork)

-Probably at least 80 gm protein.  High protein, moderate fat, lowish carbs (no wrap or chips here).

So by the end of the day, I probably had nearly 200 gm of protein and I had a decent amount of carbs (almost all in the post workout meal).  The ‘cleaner’ version of the PWO meal had a lot of fiber, prebiotics, and phytonutrients.  The junk food version (not pictured) would be lacking in all that, unless I took fiber supplements and vitamins with it.  Lifting was done somewhere in the 1-5 or 8-12 rep range per set, trying to get a minimum of 30 reps per muscle group for the whole workout.  Cold thermogenesis was used to help catch any extra calories and hopefully push them into muscle and BAT.

So the end results would be increased muscle growth, boosted leptin and thyroid, a psychological break with the cheat meal, a full belly, and muscles that would feel pumped and full with little to no added fat, all followed by a deep, restful sleep.

Example 2 – Fat Burning Day (burning fat without losing muscle):

Goals:  Fasting or “PSMF” (“protein sparing modified fast” to maintain muscle synthesis, since muscle synthesis can continue for up to 48 hrs after a hard workout).  Huge calorie burning and fat loss.  Activation of cellular cleanup and the enhancement of health and longevity via AMPK pathways.

Note:  much of day will be spent in either an air conditioned environment (if it’s hot outside) or with heat turned down or off (winter).  Ideally wear minimal clothes.  Keep fingers, toes, ears, and nose warm.

Meal 1: Breakfast

breakfast 2Optional:  fat-based coffee

  • -Coconut oil
  • -Grass-fed butter
  • -Cocoa powder
  • -Cinnamon

Also take fish oil and chia seeds, as well as any fat-soluble vitamins here, such as Vitamin D or Vitamin K.

Note: The coffee will help to shut down appetite stimulation, and the fats will lessen gluconeogenesis of the PSMF protein-only breakfast (e.g. the ability of the proteins to turn into sugars).

protein slurry-Protein slurry.  60-80 grams of casein (and egg?) protein powder, with powdered peanut butter (or – since I know Ben is reading this – raw almond butter) and almond milk or coconut milk.  Bacon on top.

Note: Consider avoiding whey (and maybe egg) protein if you’re trying to maximize AMPK.  Whey contains a lot of the amino acid leucine.  Leucine activates mTOR.  This is good on anabolic days, not so much on fat burning AMPK days.

Remember, AMPK is involved in cellular cleanup, the destruction of harmful junk cells, and longevity. We want to maximize AMPK on this fat burning day.  So at least for the morning hours, consider keeping insulin low, mTOR turned off, and AMPK revved up as high as possible.  That means not eating whey, and possibly not even eating eggs, as they too can be insulinogenic, turn on mTOR, and turn off AMPK.

Meal 2: Late Morning / Early Afternoon Meal

pre-cool fat burner session-Pre- Cool Fat Burner session.  Huge protein smoothie.  (at least 40-50gm protein for me at ~ 195lbs)  Lots of ice, to chill the insides.

-Long, hardcore cold thermogenesis session.  I’ll go at least 1.5 to 2hrs.  At least 1 hour will be spent somewhere around shivering.  (NOTE:  it is not advised to wear a cooling vest longer than 30 minutes without medical consent)

Even after removing the cooling vests, I’ll lounge in the same cold room for at least an hour or so. So this single session alone could run upwards of 4 hours. But I’m still being productive (and yes, also playing video games) during those 4 hours.

Meal 3: Late Afternoon Meal

turkey burgersTurkey burgers on Portobello mushroom ‘buns.’  (salted stems used as ‘fries’)

High protein, low fat, no carb.

Evening cold thermogenesis.

evening cold thermogenesisTake a chill-walk, wearing the CFB (CoolFatBurner vest) if feasible.  The extra walking will serve as low intensity steady state cardio (LISS), and adding cold thermogenesis to the mix adds even more calories burned.  Go for at least an hour.

Note:  Dress lightly if possible and walk slow and casually, so as to not generate too much heat via exercise.

Meal 4: Night Meal

night meal 2-~60 gm of protein.  Cod, broccoli, and zucchini.  High protein, moderate fat (butter and almond flour on zucchini), low carb.

-At least 200 gm of protein for the day, very low fat and carb.  PSMF.  (eat at least 1gm protein per pound bodyweight on fat burning days, to help preserve muscle)

So with an already boosted metabolism, I’m already in a huge caloric deficit from the PSMF.  Add to that many hundreds of calories burned from the CFB and I should easily hit 1/2lb of fat loss this day.

What’s more, by keeping insulin low especially through morning, by depleting glycogen all day, ad by being in constant fat burning mode, I’m maximizing insulin sensitivity, improving health markers, activating AMPK, and doing some serious house-cleaning on the body’s cells.

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Summary

So that’s it!

Yeah, I know you probably have questions, so leave them in the comments section below. I’ll answer.

These two sample days were obviously opposite in nature and outcome.  Anabolic growth vs. metabolic cleanup.  Building muscle and repairing tissues vs. burning fat and cleaning up cellular junk.

So choose your goal. Then, as a famous shoe company once quipped, just do it. And yes, either strategy is 100% Ben Greenfield approved and endorsed. Have fun.

Cold thermogenesis and the Cool Fat Burner can help with both.  Use Ben10CFB for a 10% discount when you purchase your fat burning gear from CoolFatBurner.com.

Seven Mental and Social Hacks For Staying Slim This Holiday Season.

santafat

One solution to holiday feasting is to simply take the Spartanesque route and consume oodles of sparkling water and gum while avoiding the caloric excess altogether.

To me, that doesn’t sound like much fun. And I certainly do my fair share of eating and drinking during the holiday season.

But at the same time, we could all use a little help ensuring that the body fat doesn’t get too high by the first week of January. After all, who wants to spend the entire first month of the year battling the bulge? So in today’s guest post by author Abby Maroko, you’re going to get seven mental and social hacks to staying slim this holiday season. Enjoy, and leave your comments, questions and thoughts below the post!

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As athletes and exercisers, we are strongly connected to our bodies and physical pursuits. So of course, when the winter holidays roll around, gaining weight – especially in the form of fat, can pose a giant concern.

For others of you, you might be worried about gaining weight causing depression and/or guilt, which can drain your motivation and become all consuming, leading to skipped workouts.

I don’t want to let the fear of gaining weight eat away at you, or myself. There is too much fun to be had – and too much mingling and bonding to do, to be spending this precious time of cheer staring at your plate in indecision.

Thanksgiving is behind us, but we have a whole holiday season ahead. That is a lot of days and a lot of opportunities to eat, especially if you are hibernating inside and spending too much time in the kitchen. You are going to need a bulletproof plan to ensure that you maintain the physique you desire and the one that is conducive to your fitness goals and overall happiness over the rest of the Winter holiday season.

This is not a guide to dropping pounds. I do not encourage you to set that goal over the holidays. A more realistic goal is to maintain your body weight and physique.

In this article, I give you a look inside my arsenal of mental and social hacks for keeping your body tight, and, free from binge and overindulgence regret, keeping your happiness high this holiday season. They are an amalgamation I’ve strewn together from my expertise as a personal trainer, lifelong athlete, health coach, and student of psychology. If you’re an athlete, your athletic experiences will help you better assimilate these tips, because I use the terminology of sport and competition that only people with a seriously vested interest in their health and fitness will understand. Oh, and don’t worry, this list of tactics is a guilt-free spread, so dig in.

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1.  Go The Distance: From Your Kitchen.

What I mean: In the most respectful way, LEAVE YOUR KITCHEN when you are done eating (a later tip will help you decide when exactly you are done). As registered dietician Keri Gans advises in her weight-loss and weight-maintenance book, The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You, short-circuit nighttime eating by simply leaving the very environment which is taunting you, your kitchen. She jokes that nothing good happens in the kitchen after 10 pm. Definitely mostly true, unless you are naughty ;).

Your call to action: Step away from the leftover heaps of stuffing and pitchers of eggnog. If your friends and family are still in the kitchen, leave and take the conversation into another room with you. If it is the days after the big meal, don’t hang out in the kitchen where all the remnants are stored. When you leave behind the food, you also leave behind the desire to eat it, which can get mixed up with boredom or be unconsciously practiced out of poor habit or social mirroring, aka doing what those around you are doing, which, again, is something you don’t think much about (‘monkey see, monkey do’, especially when you are distracted by conversation.

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2.  Dissociate and distract yourself from food.

What I mean: This should be no problem for you. You are already well practiced with these strategies.
When physical discomfort rises during a workout, race, or event, you shift your focus to your mind with tricks like mantras. And, over a long training period/cycle, when you are wobbling from a long bike ride and your quads are tender to the touch, you utilize your mind by distracting yourself with activities like reading, again, to take your mind off of the pain.

You will make the same transition–from body to mind, just with food, to tackle your holiday race.
Indulging in cravings is a visceral, or gut (pun intended), action–meaning it is rooted in your body. Your blood boils and your eyes pop out when you see a gooey piece of cake on the counter.

Your call to action: Transfer the heat in your fingertips to your mind by engaging in an activity other than eating when you are finished eating. Call a friend. Read a book. Do you like to play an instrument? Do a spontaneous jam session. The holidays grant you the opportunity to do things your busy life doesn’t otherwise allow for. Take advantage of the free time and do something that doesn’t involve ingesting calories.

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3.  Work the preemptive cheat.

What I mean: Like it sounds, a ‘preemptive cheat’ is a planned indulgence. You eat something tasty when the craving hits. You eat a reasonable portion of the ‘cheat’ to prevent eating a gargantuan amount later. If you enjoy sweets, you would have a piece of chocolate before your sweet tooth totally rages. Why? The rubber band effect is at play. The harder and longer you restrict yourself, the bigger and stronger your desire pushes back. The result? You are way more likely to come crashing down from perfection into a full-fledged binge.

This tip stems from Jill Coleman, MS, owner of JillFit physiques, a health and wellness brand where she does nutrition, fat loss, and mindset coaching. A former physique competitor, she takes pride in her body and values staying lean and muscular. She is able to do this while having nibbles and tastes of semi-unhealthy or taboo foods on a regular basis, and it has worked to avert sabotage of fat loss for many of her clients. The preemptive cheat will also protect your mood, because nobody feels good after a giant binge session.

Your call to action: At your big holiday meals (Christmas, Channukah, Kwanza, whatever else you may celebrate) this year, seize the moment and eat one food or taste one dish that looks good to you when it is served. Eat it when your taste buds are yanking at your tongue for it.

This one might be the hardest one to wrap your mind around and muster up the courage to employ, because I am asking you to indulge in something you ban every other day of the year. Something you consider ‘a treat’. You don’t want to feel like you are cheating, either.

Here is my advice to you on this: reframe this as a splurge instead of a cheat. You are breaking zero rules except the ones you place on yourself. And if you are too fixated on the cheat thing, make it your guiding goal to just be nice to yourself. You put enough wear and tear on your bodies and minds every day of the year in training, and opening up this little window to splurge will reinvigorate you by giving you a break from the pressure and grind.

Strive for imperfection. Veer outside of your diet lane.

Do exactly the opposite of what you do in training, or what you are forced to do on your recovery days, and loosen the gears of your eating mindset. Be less restrictive now so you don’t come crashing down later.

Disclaimer: If you are an all-or-nothing thinker, portion sizing probably is not your thing, and this strategy will be unappealing to you. No problem. Leave it behind, and focus on strategies 1 and 2. There is plenty of ammo there to shoot down the threat of gaining weight. If you are one to attack leftovers like a behemoth, the preemptive cheat is a match for you.

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4.  Play the “What Am I Thankful For?” Game

What I mean: Thanksgiving has obviously passed, but this strategy is so powerful that we are going to carry it over from Turkey Day to the rest of the holiday season. With the additional opportunities to gather with our loved ones during winter vacations comes additional time to reflect on what we are appreciative for. Activating that feeling of being blessed will trigger the release of gratitude—or just a bunch of feel-good hormones—which will flow through your body. And–the number one result, you will have stopped thinking about food.

Your Call to Action: Take a moment or a minute to stand (please, less sitting), think, and harness what it is you are appreciative of. If family and friends surround you, just open your eyes. That will save you the effort of thinking. Also, take advantage of being enveloped by loving relationships and be engaged in them. I mean, get involved in conversations. Look at your buddies and smile at them. Laugh with them. These experiences will help prevent unwanted eating in two ways. A) By diverting your attention. They will pull your attention to other people and push your attention away from food, and B) By feeding your soul, which might be the real source of your hunger. Yes, as airy-fairy as it sounds, you might just need to satisfy emotional or social cravings, which can often get lost in translation in the body-mind conversation, making us think we need to eat more.

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5.  Pinpoint your why.

What I mean: If you have ever read the classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by neurologist and psychiatrist Victor Frankl, you know the importance of having a reason, a why, to keep working towards your goals. In the book, Frankl details his experiences as a concentration camp inmate during World War II, really honing in on what he observed to be the sources of fuel for those who survived (and yes, he was one of those survivors). As the title suggests, it was the incessant search for meaning that sustained lives. And, he breaks down meaning into three categories: purposeful work, love, and courage in the face of difficulty. For you readers, purposeful work is applicable. Your purpose, or aim, is twofold: to stay trim and to stay in shape; and your work will take place in two domains: food and exercise. To do purposeful work, you will need to take potent action and make smart decisions about how you eat and move. This intention-focused work will keep you on track with your fitness and physique. You will not only survive the holiday season, but you will come out of it in step with your priority goals.

Your call to action: You already know your goals of staying trim and staying in shape. Now take it one step deeper. Ask yourself this: what is the why behind my desire or need to look good and perform well. Write your answers down on a sheet of paper and keep it at your bedside. I advise you to take a gander at it when you wake up and before you go to sleep, at the very least; and then use it additional times on an as-needed basis to avert any crises when they may arise (i.e. considering skipping a workout, taking your frustration out on a piece of cake instead of the pavement or a punching bag). For example, when you are ready to walk into the kitchen, walk to your room instead and read your special note. Feeding that why into your mind in the short window of time that could make or break you will save you from any unwanted eating or exercising blunders, which could set you back and weigh you down. Amazing how a few words can reel you back into the place you need to be.

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6.  Leave no room for mistakes.

What I mean: While completing my studies to become a Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (an online program), I learned a great way to describe something I had been practicing for years. It is a technique called “crowding out.” To do it, you eat all of the good stuff first. There is no need to explore the science behind this trick. It is pretty simple. When your stomach is filled, and your cells are nourished, by nutrient-dense foods, and—tah-dah!—you don’t have the room or the need, and thus, lingering hunger, to eat poorer foods. You omit the futile feeding and you make your body smile by giving it, again, the good stuff.

Your call to action: You are what you eat, right? So, stay away from the nutrient-poor foods and live richly, by eating nutrient-rich foods. The key is to start with the good stuff. This translates to starting your day with the healthiest foods and starting each meal with the healthiest foods.

Wondering how to choose what is healthiest? Use your knowledge, taste buds, and gut compass (yes, what agrees with your gastrointestinal tract, as well as your intuition), to figure out what the “good stuff” entails. If you are not too knowledgeable about good vs. bad foods, revert to these two pieces of advice. From Skittles: “taste the rainbow.” Only execute it in the exact opposite way this candy brand had imagined. Don’t eat candy. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables that cover the whole spectrum of color. Red bell peppers. Orange sweet potatoes. Yellow squash. Leafy green kale, swiss chard, spinach (salivating as I type). There actually are no truly blue foods (they are a shade of purple), but blue berries (making it two separate words for the sake of not being redundant). Indigo blackberries. And purple cabbage. There are so many hues of plants in between, too.

The second sage advice to sprinkle into your dishes comes from journalist and activist Michael Pollan, author of several best-selling books, such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules: “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” And, if I can insert one more descriptor between the words ‘eat’ and ‘food,’ it is ‘whole.’ Basically, anything that came from the Earth or was raised naturally and humanely (for more information on mastering this selection process when you hit the grocery store, refer to Ben’s articles).

The most important thing is to apply these recommendations at the start of your day and start of your meals. Eating colorfully and eating lots of plants will take care of many of your nutrient needs and fill you up, leaving less room for scarfing down processed, sugar-laden junk food.

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7.  Scatter some beta-carotene into your daytime eating.

What I mean: Beta-carotene is also known as “Pro-Vitamin A” because it is assimilated into the body as either the precursor to Vitamin A, which or to function as an antioxidant. It shines through in foods as vibrant colors like green and orange. Today, I am encouraging you to be bright like the sun and go with orange, because these choices also contain natural sugar. Think carrots and sweet potatoes. By sprinkling these into your meals and/or snacks during the day, you will fend off the all-too-common and all-too-undesirable late night sugar feeds. You know, when you have just finished dinner and, as you are putting away any (potential) leftovers, you sneak into the pantry for a handful of chocolate chips or a pinch of granola—the things you were trying to avoid all day long! Avert the crisis, again, by getting your sugars earlier in the day, from natural sources, and you will end up satisfied at the end of the day. The return? Less time spent in the shadows of the dark of your kitchen, fewer calories consumed impulsively, glowing skin, and razor-sharp vision.

Your call to action: Add sweet potatoes or carrots to your meals and snacks during the day. For example, create a sweet potato hash for breakfast, mixing eggs, chopped up sweet potatoes, and any other veggies and seasonings you care for. Sticking to a more low-carb diet or fasting in the morning? Chomp on some carrots at lunch or for a snack. Do this and when you are winding down for the night, your appetite, and insulin levels, won’t spike up before you go to sleep.

Staying slim and fit doesn’t have to be so hard. It is the season of giving, so give yourself the gift of resting your mind and de-stressing. Strap yourself with these seven strong tips and you will have enough ammo to blast any chance of overeating or under-exercising you for the entire holiday season. Remember, athletes, this is a season we are tackling, so take it one day at a time. Each day you eat well and exercise well, you will have created a wave of momentum to carry into performing well the next day. I wish you all your best efforts. Luck will not be needed. Happy Holidays.

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Abby Maroko is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. She is also a Health Coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is a two-time Boston Marathon qualifier and played competitive basketball for 12 years. Abby has a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, where she also studied Movement Science. To contact her with comments or inquiries, send an email to [email protected] And to stay up on her latest articles on fitness, food, and psychology, as well as her adventures in fitness, visit her blog and follow her on Instagram @getamptnow.

Beyond Dehydration: Why Cramping Really Happens And What You Can Do About It.

dealing-with-calf-cramps

Last month, I read one of the best scientific treatises on cramping that I’ve ever seen. The title of the article was “Cramping In Sports: Beyond Dehydration“, and was written by today’s podcast guest, Andrew Buskard.

If you’ve ever scratched your head about why the heck you won’t stop cramping during your workouts or races, this episode is for you! During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Why a cramp during exercise is way different than a medically associated cramp…

-What’s really happening inside your body when you cramp…

-Why the traditional theories of what causes exercise associated muscle cramping are incorrect or have been mostly disproven…

-Why neurologically related cramps are the primary cause of cramping during exercise…

-Why simply tasting something very salty can reverse a cramp…

-How your environment, your relaxation level and even your genetics can affect your susceptibility to cramping…

-Strategies to stop cramping when you have adequate electrolytes and hydration but you’re still cramping…

Do you have more questions about why cramping really happens? Leave your comments and thoughts below…

24 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 (that’s next Monday through Friday!) 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 24 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, and even includes an interview with the world famous Dr. Joseph Mercola, in which he reveals his most potent and effective daily habits, meals, and supplements for anti-aging and health.

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.