Favorite Biohack #8 – Exercise

Let me start by saying that my daughter says I should have moved to this number one.  Apparently I am crazy and obsessive about exercise. This from a teen who thinks exercise is getting up to go to the kitchen…but I digress.

I am not going to beat a dead horse and tell you exercise is important. You know it is. What I am going to tell you is why its one of my favorite biohacks.

Exercise a biohack because it is a fast, easy, and proven way to change how you feel immediately, and it changes both the way your body functions and your body composition based on the effort you put in.  In other words, you are doing something that makes your body act in a certain way.

I work out five mornings a week and rest two. I work out in the morning because it gives me endorphins, and that means I start every day with my stress worked out, endorphins flowing and feeling energized  Plus it is done, so I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day, worrying about when I will get to it and thus adding stress.

My regular daily workout is P90X3. I do it at home because it works with my schedule, and I enjoy it. Enjoying your workout is key – you are not going to do what you hate. I found something I like so I actually look forward to it. Most days, anyway – I am not superhuman and some days it takes a bit to get me off the sofa.  However, it is a lot easier to get off the sofa for something you enjoy.  I like being at home because I do it when I want and I don’t have to sit in traffic, deal with the locker room, wait around for equipment or a class time, or deal with the gym hours. All of that would be a source of stress for me, and that negates the point of a stress reliever!

When I exercise, I feel better about myself. I am still struggling with the hormonal issues that made me start biohacking, so when something happens (like being sick for two months, which just happened) I still gain weight. However, as soon as I am able to I am back to the workouts, and even though I still have some weight to work off from this last round of illness, I feel like I am doing something about it. I do not like the feeling of being helpless and if I didn’t work out, I would feel like my physical condition is out of my control. I also feel stronger and able to do more.  For my crazy life I need to be able to do more, and this is my key to making sure I can keep up with myself.

We all know cardiovascular health increases with exercise, so I will only say that I think its nice to be able to go up a flight of stairs and not be winded.

Exercise increases BDNF, an important factor in memory, focus and overall cognitive function. If you would like a more scientific explanation of that, please refer to this article from the Harvard Health Blog from the Harvard School of Medicine.  For this blog, suffice it to say that it clears the brain fog that we can feel from a number of different factors. It is amazing what you can accomplish without brain fog and with increased focus.

I touched on the stress relief factor, but it bears mentioning again. Exercise can reduce the damaging effects of stress by reducing stress, but also by increasing your ability to deal with stress. It increases the cheicals in your brain that are responsible for mood regulation and calm, and it promotes cellular rejuvenation, which helps your body defend against and repair the damage that stress does to your systems.

The benefits of exercise go far beyond just losing weight. If you already exercise regularly, awesome! If not, just try it. Find a class or an activity that works for you, give it a week or two and see what happens. See how you feel. Then let me know!

 

P.S. I am in the photo above –  this was my first time doing Acroyoga at SunSpark Yoga. If you haven’t done this, do it. Its a lot of fun!

Favorite Biohack #7 – Infrared Sauna

Warning, this post contains information on sex. It is basic and vague, but it is there.

Men: this is one you may not want to read. You are welcome to, but consider yourself warned – it contains information you may not want.

I covered the sauna recently in its own post, but I wanted to revisit it because I realized the sauna has had a benefit to me that I didn’t address.

In my book, I touched in the changes that occur in the female body during aging, one of which is a biological change in the nether regions. (Last chance to stop, guys!)  As I mentioned, in addition to dryness, your skin thins and tear easily, and the combo can make sex painful.

What does this have to do with the sauna? I remember hearing on the One Life Radio show with guest Shawn Wells that he found that infrared sauna visits had a positive effect on the skin of the elderly while working in a nursing home. They bruised less and the skin didn’t split as easily. (Shawn explains it better; I think this is the episode here.)  I had forgotten about this until this week, when I was thinking about how my own skin didn’t seem to be as affected by rough play with my dog as it used to be even a year ago.

Infrared sauna helps to regenerate you at the cellular level. Essentially this means that your cells function better following a sauna visit, and a healthy cell creates new healthy cells. The inability to generate new skin cells causes our skin to thin as we age, which is part of why it tears so easily. Promoting the generation of new skin cells will help thicken skin, and the benefits of this affect all skin, including where it counts.

I have no idea if there is any research to support this specific benefit because I haven’t researched it. It makes sense that it would – skin is skin.  I will tell you that I have noticed a positive difference. (Don’t worry – that is all the detail you are going to get!)

I promised to update you on any new discoveries in this area in my blog, and this is what I have found in this area since writing the book.  Hope it helps.

Favorite Biohack #6 – Ultimate Women’s Wellness Vitamins

I don’t know about you but when I see something on HSN I usually assume its not going to be anything worth buying.  I was wrong, because that is where I found this gem of a product.

Why am I excited about vitamins, you ask? Because this miracle pill has all but banished hot flashes from my life. If you suffer from these, you know they come on at inopportune moments without warning, and without any consideration for what you may have going on. This happened to me ONCE, and (as is usual for me), I said to myself “There has to be a way to hack this.”

Fortunately, there is. I cannot take credit for this find – I was turned onto it by a friend. She said it worked for her and after that one MISERABLE experience, I thought it was worth it to try it. I am glad I did because I haven;t had another one. Worth every cent!

You can buy these direct from Procaps Labs,  the manufacturer,  on Amazon or at HSN. When I wrote this, I noticed Procaps is having a sale, so if you want to try them, now is a good time.  Also, as you know Amazon often uses private sellers, so their availability is sometimes limited.

These are great vitamins just at face value as they are pretty complete. I won’t go into all that, because we all know vitamins are good for us. It is the proprietary blend that knocks out hot flashes that makes these essential to me, and the reason they are on this list.

And, so you know I am not a complete buffoon, I know the photo is not the ultimate version. I mistakenly ordered the wrong ones the last time, but they still seem to be working so I am going with it until the next order.

Check them out. Happy No Hot Flashes!

 

Favorite Biohack #5 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Anyone who has heard me say I do shots of Apple Cider Vinegar usually thinks I am crazy.  I admit, this one is a little wonky and it is not for everyone. Its acidic and strong – and an incredible substance.

To hit the highlights of what ACV can do for you, it can:

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Immediate cure for indigestion
  • Weight loss
  • Antibacterial
  • Probiotic
  • Lower the risk of cancer
  • Soothe a sore throat

Let’s break these down a bit.

ACV can help lower blood sugar. It slows the rate of digestion,which has an effect on insulin sensitivity and results in lower blood sugar. Taken after a high carbohydrate meal, it can prevent a spike in blood sugar and the nap usually follows.

ACV is an immediate cure for digestion because it turns alkaline once in the body. This I didn’t believe and resisted trying because it didn’t make any sense to me. However, it is true and its now my go to for a bout of indigestion. Its also the reason for ACV being in my top 10 biohacks because it is immediate.

ACV allegedly can aid in weight loss because it helps you feel full. Studies are still ongoing on this and more information is definitely needed before we say ACV can definitely aid weight loss, but I suspect its because it slows digestion which leaves you feeling full longer and therefore you eat less.

ACV is an antibacterial agent. I have used it on small cuts and skin issues and they seemed to heal faster. I have also heard of it being used as a cleaning agent for this reason; especially useful if you are looking for an organic way to clean fruits and vegetables, your skin, hair or false teeth.

ACV is useful to help heal and restore your gut biome. Its alkalinity and antibacterial properties aid in eliminating harmful bacteria and promoting the growth of useful bacteria. This may be the primary reason that ACV boosts your immune system.

Studies are ongoing about the effect of ACV on cancer cells. There is information both supporting and disproving its use in the treatment of cancer.  Since it is part of my routine anyway, I am going to keep using it while its studied, and hopefully a positive link will be found. If not, there are enough other benefits for me to keep as part of my routine.

Again, it sound weird that an acidic substance will soothe a sore throat, but it does. Just as lemon will soothe a sore throat, so will ACV.  When I get a cold I start on a drink of  three tablespoons of ACV, a tablespoon of honey and the juice from half a lemon mixed into a mug of hot water.  I do this 3-4 times a day and before bed. I think I suffer less than the average person with a cold, which could be completely off base, but it makes me feel  like I am doing what I can to ease the cold.

There are many other uses out there – try this list of 101 uses from Dr. Oz, for example. These are the ones I use, but I would love to hear your uses. I am all for learning new ways to utilize this amazing liquid!

 

 

 

Favorite Biohack #4 – Exogenous Ketones

Exe-what?? That is what I said when I first heard the term exogenous ketones. Had it not been from someone I trusted (the almighty Tim Ferriss, who you can find here) I probably would have thought it was something made up and overlooked it. However, when Tim says try something, I have learned to try it – with some exceptions, of course – and now it makes my list of top hacks.

Exogenous ketones are BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) salts. Ketones are produced naturally and used for energy by your body when fasting or when carbohydrates are restricted. They are referred to as energy on demand, and in my experience, that is exactly what occurs. Ketones are easily accessible to the brain, more so than glucose, so when in a state of ketosis or taking ketones, the brain also has a ready supply of fuel. This adds to clarity and focus, and often enhances mood as well.

Exogenous ketones are essentially packaged ketones that are ready for you to take when needed. Common uses are before a workout, to extend a fast, to provide instant energy and focus if you are in an afternoon slump, to get back into ketosis after consuming sugar, or added to your morning coffee.

There are powders, liquids, bars, drinks, creamers…whatever tickles your fancy, there is a way to get your ketones. I started with a liquid that tasted like sea water and looked like…well,I probably should not say what it looked like but let’s just say it was not my favorite presentation. I tried disguising the taste in all sorts of concoctions and finally decided to just down it.  The result was worth a moment of sea water and besides, who hasn’t drank sea water on multiple occasions without getting the energy and focus afterward. I tried a few different types of powders, coffees and creams after that and finally settled on my favorite, Keto/OS from Pruvit. It is combined with powdered MCTs and the jolt of energy, mood enhancement and focused mind that I get is worth dealing with its odd taste. (You stop noticing the weird taste after a while, I promise.) I have the caffeinated version for mornings, the non-caffeinated version for any other time of the day, and the Kreme for midday hot cocoa (Keto Hot Cocoa – half a mug of water, half heavy cream, a heaping scoop of cacao, and a packet of Kreme. Tasty and good for you too!).

When I am asked about ketones by someone for the first time, I often recommend KetoForce’s Keto Sports liquid, which you can find by clicking this link. It is a good entry into what exogenous ketones can do for you without some of the interesting side effects of the more powerful ones (also known as disaster pants – see the Bulletproof blog here for an explanation of that.)  It is what I started on as well.

If you are ready to go straight to the top (in my opinion, at least) you can find Keto/OS or other Pruvit products through my affiliate link here or by going to their website.

I am not joking when I say this is energy on demand. I wish I had known about this when my daughter was little, and wish more people knew about it now. We don’t have to be tired all the time, we just need exogenous ketones!

Let me know if you have questions, and if you have tried them,  what your experience has been with exogenous ketones.

Favorite Biohack #3 – Intermittent Fasting

After being a slave to my blood sugar for years, I knew fasting wouldn’t work for me. I tried those juice fasts everyone did back in the day, and I was ready to kill someone on day 2, so that was it for me. I was NOT trying it again, I didn’t care who said what.  Enter a hormonal imbalance and a hefty tire around the middle, and suddenly I was a little more open-minded.

I was all in for the low carb diet and even adding fat back into my diet. My energy skyrocketed when I did that, and the pounds melted off, until that dreaded last ten pounds.  Reluctantly, I agreed to try Intermittent Fasting for a few days, mostly because my mentor promised I would see a benefit and I wanted to prove him wrong so he would stop hounding me about it.

The theory behind intermittent fasting, also known as IF, is that it forces your body to use its stored fat instead of having a steady supply of food to use. By restricting calories to certain intervals, it prompts your body to release Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and insulin, both of which are the primary hormones that cause release of fat stores. Insulin also regulates blood sugar, and when properly released into your system, you can use your stored fat for energy instead of crashing.

I decide to go for a 16 hour fast because that apparently has the best benefit. I thought I was going to die at about hour 12. I was used to getting up, having bulletproof coffee and working out, followed by breakfast. But on this morning I watched the sunrise over black coffee, worked out fasted and was then flat on the floor until hour 16. Keep going, my mentor said. I was promised it would be worth it and that it would take a few days to adapt.

It took three days to adapt. Those three days were rough, I have to admit. On day three, I limped through my workout, made it to hour 16 and gulped down a bulletproof coffee, and then it hit me. I had more energy than I knew what to do with. My brain was firing on all cylinders and then some. I was insanely happy. A new day had dawned for me, and I was officially in.

So much for proving my mentor wrong. It was looking like I was going to have to tell him he was right.

I kept it going to for a few weeks, during which time I was so energetic and happy I could barely stand myself. I even had someone tell me I was too happy and needed to be brought down, because no one wants to be around that. (To that I said ‘Fine!’ and walked away. If I am too happy for you, that is your issue, not mine.) My waistline decreased noticeably, and so did my appetite. It all but went away and I would forget to eat. Who forgets to eat!

I still wasn’t entirely convinced for some odd reason, so I let the fasting go when I went away for a weekend. I noticed an immediate change in energy and mood. When I returned I went back to it, and BAM! Back to being happy.

Ok, I said to myself, this is the real deal. I played with timing, anywhere from 12-16 hr fasts, even going as high as 26 hours on a couple of occasions.  I have found 16 hours to be my sweet spot, when I get the most impact on energy, appetite and mood.

Unfortunately, as I write this I am just coming off a lengthy illness, during which time both the keto diet and IF fell off for me. My mid-section can tell, so I am getting back into both again and it feels amazing to be doing so. I graduated into 16 hours of fasting this time, so I didn’t feel like I was ten seconds from a murderous spree. It took about a week and I am back to 16 hour fasts and back to feeling the way I like to.

If you are interested in trying IF, graduating into it is a good way to do it. Start with 12-14 hours, whatever you can handle, and work up from there. Before long you will start to notice changes in your  appetite and it will feel natural to go longer and longer. Once you have experienced the elevation in energy and mood, you will want to keep going. Experiment with different fasting and feeding periods to find what works for you.  A 9am – 5pm feeding period works for me, and fasting overnight. (I do take exogenous ketones pre-workout to give me enough energy to get through a strenuous workout; watch for the blog post on that.) You can vary your fasting/eating times to tailor it to your schedule.

Don’t believe me yet? Here are a few resources for you to do your own research.

Here is a Google search of people who have had success with IF.

Here  is a post on LifeHack, a biohacking website.

Here is an article from Healthline Magazine.

Here is a post from Diet Doctor.

As with anything I post about, I recommend you do your own research. If you decide to try it, let me know what you think. I would love to see you on one of the above searches as a success story!

 

 

 

Favorite Biohack #2 – The Keto Diet

Endless lettuce, always tired, perpetually starving and uncontrollable grouchiness is what dieting means to most people. Sounds like heaven, said no one, ever. With the keto diet, there is a better way.

I have been low-carb for as long as I can remember. Going back to the late 90s, when Jennifer Aniston became the new It girl and was on the Zone Diet, she introduced us all  to a diet of lean protein, fruits and veggies with no processed carbohydrates or diary. I figured out then that I felt better without carbs, and had been doing some modification of that formula until I discovered the keto diet.

If you read my book, you know that I wasn’t just low carb. I was also low sugar (limited fruit) and low-fat (no dairy), which didn’t leave much out there for me to consume. I was addicted to anything that claimed it was low fat and low sugar, and stuck in a never-ending cycle of eating what I thought was right, starving, binge eating carbs because I needed energy, and feeling bad about myself for doing it. It’s no wonder I was grouchy and a slave to my blood sugar.  All that changed when I found ketones, and shortly thereafter the keto diet.

In a nutshell, the keto diet is an ultra  low-carb diet that limits all foods that contain sugar or convert to sugar. However, you eat healthy fats, so your body still has something for fuel. I eat bacon, olive and coconut oil, nuts, cheese, red meat, and even red wine in moderation.  I don’t eat pasta, potatoes, rice, or any other grains. I must admit that I will cheat with the occasional sweet potato. I love those. Aside from that, I don’t really miss any of it. I am happy, energetic and satiated. All the time. Not many people on a “diet” are able to say that.

Am I super skinny? No. I never will be, I am not built that way. What I am is in decent shape, strong and happy. That works for me. I also don’t feel like I am on a diet. I eat this way because I choose to, because it is what feel right for me. It is what fuels me and allows me to do what I do without diet pills, stimulants or other “miracle” pills.

The science behind the keto diet is strong and compelling. Unfortunately, so is the army of uninformed that are against it. In my opinion, those against it fail to understand that different diets work for different people, based on each person’s makeup and circumstances. That aside, lets talk about what the science has found in support of keto.

The name keto comes from ketones, which is a what your body produces when food or carbohydrates are restricted for an extended period. Put simply, ketones are what happen when the body converts your stored fat to a fuel that your body can use.

When in a state of ketosis (producing ketones), your body will use stored fat as its fuel. This helps with weight loss and energy.  It also helps with memory and focus, because your brain uses this same fat for its fuel. With a steady supply of healthy fat and ketones, your brain is never lacking in what it needs to function, so you don’t feel brain fog, scattered or like you just can’t think straight. (Not from food, at least. Life still happens.) With a constant source of usable energy, you don’t get blood sugar dips accompanied by grouchiness and tiredness.

The science is best explained by those who do it for a living, so I will defer to Dr. Josh Axe, who explains the principles behind the keto diet and why it works here, and the Ketogenic Bible by Dr. Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery. There is more information in this book than you can imagine, and it runs the gamut from how to do the diet to its potential effects on diabetes and cancer. It’s definitely worth a read.

If you aren’t up for a big book, check out the podcast Keto for Normies at ketoconnect.libsyn.com.

You can can also follow some keto and fitness rockstars like Dominic D’Agostino, Joe Rogan or Ben Greenfield on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For an easy to follow guide, check out the Diet Doctor website, which you can find here:  https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto. You will find tips, tricks, recipes, and a great explanation of how and why the keto diet works.

I could go on about keto all day (which apparently I do, and I am often told to pipe down at home) so I will stop here. If you would like more information on this subject, check out the people above, or just let me know. I am happy to expound. My family will be happy that I have someone else to talk about it with too.

My Top 10 Favorite Biohacks

Biohacking is essentially over-riding your physical system to make it behave how you choose. There are many different systems in the body, and thus, many different biohacks.  How do you know where to start? For most people, it starts with a problem you are having that you need to find an alternative fix for. This was the case for me. Once I learned that I could control things in my body, I started trying more.

To keep you from getting overwhelmed, I am sharing my ten favorite biohacks that I have found. These are my every day, go to solutions for every day issues. They are not in any particular order, and I use each of them every day.

I will delve into each one in subsequent posts, but for now, here is the list:

  1. Bulletproof Coffee
  2. Keto diet
  3.  Intermittent Fasting
  4. Exogenous Ketones
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar
  6. Ultimate Women’s Wellness vitamins
  7. Infrared Sauna
  8. Exercise
  9. External Testosterone cream
  10. Coconut Oil

For now, let’s talk about Bulletproof Coffee.

First, let’s get this out of the way… above when I said they were not in any order, that was not entirely true. Bulletproof Coffee is my probably favorite biohack. The others have become equally important to me, because of what they do, but this is the easiest one for anyone to try and has an immediate and noticeable effect.  For that reason, it is the one I share most when I am asked about biohacking.

If you are not familiar with it, Bulletproof Coffee is coffee blended with butter and MCT oil.  MCT oil is essentially coconut oil, which I will explain in more detail when we discuss coconut oil, and that is what makes it easy to try at home. (View my video here on how to make it at home.) Simply add a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of butter to your coffee and blend. No cream, no sugar, just these two ingredients. It sounds weird but it is actually quite tasty. Assuming you like the taste and the effect, you can invest in MCT oil, as it will make a marked difference in the effect.

What is the effect? Energy, and lots of it. It is not the jittery energy that you get from several cups of coffee, though, You just feel like getting up and doing something, and you feel that way for hours. The reason is the butter and oil. You will get the best effect from using grass fed butter. This is exactly what it sounds like, butter from cows that were fed grass. There are no chemicals or toxins introduced into the cow from commercial feed, so what comes from the animal is pure, usable butter fat, which then converts to energy in your body.  Regular butter is not processed by our bodies quite the same way. You will still notice an effect if you use it, but it will be decreased slightly. Healthy fat is one of the main sources of energy production within the body, and providing it in an easy to use form will give you a jolt of energy that will last for hours.

MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil is the other component of Bulletproof Coffee. To explain this, I will include an excerpt from my book, Midlife Mom to Supermom: How to Turn Stressed and Tired into Happy and Energized:

MCTs are one of the main components of coconut oil. Complete coconut oil contains          lauric acid, which takes longer for the body to process into energy than the MCTs. For      this reason, MCT oil filters out the lauric acid to become a concentrated, energy                  producing oil. The concentrated form takes three steps for the body to process it into        energy, versus twenty-six steps with unrefined coconut oil. MCTs are a favorite of              bio – hackers for fast, long lasting energy production, combined with clarity of mind          and the ability to focus.

MCTs come in many forms, my current favorite of these is Brain Octane Oil from            Bulletproof (www.bulletproof.com). This is the formula of Dave Asprey, a well know bio-hacker and the founder of Bulletproof Coffee.

The benefits of MCTs go far beyond energy, which we will discuss in deeper detail in the post on coconut oil. What I do want to mention now is that it has a noticeable effect on  cognitive function. You will have a clear mind, be able to focus deeply and, over time, you will notice an improvement in your memory.

The combination of instant energy from the coffee and butter, and the longer lasting energy from the MCTs, will change your coffee drinking experience. I went from drinking 4-5 cups per day to one Bulletproof in the morning, and sometimes one in the afternoon, if I am dragging or have an event to attend late into the evening.

I am happy person and generally enjoy life. However, life on Bulletproof is that much better. If you are ready to check it out, you can click the link to the right to take you to Bulletproof.com, or check out the video above on how to try it at home.

Let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Midlife Mom to Supermom reviewed by Greek blogger Thirsty 4 Health

Midlife Mom to Supermom: How to Turn Stressed and Tired into Happy and Energized was recently reviewed by Greek health blog Thirsty 4 Health.

Read the review here: http://thirsty4health.com/book-review-midlife-mom-to-supermom/

Thanks for the great review, glad you enjoyed the book!

Share more, you never know who you may help.

I was working the day job this week, which had me in the home of a woman who I had met briefly once or twice before. It was a cold (by southern California standards, anyway) winter day, and I was bundled up like a small child on a ski hill. This poor woman had all the doors and windows open, and was clothed in a tank top and jeans with bare feet. Hot flashes, she explained.  Not wanting to self-promote too much, I shared with her my fantastic vitamins that have all but nixed the hot flashes from my life, and moved on to the business at hand.

Later in the day I realized I had done this woman a disservice by not sharing more with her, because I had information that could help her feel better. I contacted her and shared my book with her.

Several hours later I got the most amazing message from her. She had read most of the book and was deeply grateful that our paths had crossed. She went on to share her current reality, and how excited she was to try the tips I suggest.  That made my day. Okay, it made my week. This is precisely why I wrote the book, and I was very happy that it had helped someone.

On that note, here is a short video that an awesome friend and designer put together for me.

If you know anyone struggling with energy, hot flashes, mood, decreased cognitive function, or any of the joyous things we experience after our thirties, please share this with them. Let’s create an army of happy women that feel great!