Biohack Yourself

You might think that the fact that I have hemophilia and HIV (not to mention having and then defeating Hepatitis C as well) is a downer. However, I am truly grateful for these things and believe that they have helped build my character and turned me in to the man I am today. As a matter of fact, being told that I had fewer than two years to live at the age of nineteen years old is probably the number one reason that I became a biohacker and have worked non-stop to improve my life, body, mind, immune system, and the world around me! This article is not only about biohacking, but also some tips and ideas on how you can get started (if you dig the premise).

Biohacking your body, mind, and life has become increasingly popular. The funny thing is, it is not new (at all). As a matter of fact, mankind has been doing some form or another of biohacking since we arrived here on this pale blue dot we affectionately call Earth. In more recent years it has morphed in to biohacking, which means investigating ourselves at a cellular, DNA, and genetic level. While technology has given us tremendous advances in these areas, we’ve been doing self-examinations forever. At it’s simplest level it boils down to trying something different in your life (diet, fitness, meditation, breathing deeply daily, and so on) and then carefully logging your changes, feelings, and other forms of impact that the new trial testing is doing to you. Over time, you figure out the things that are good for you and the things that aren’t. Once you have that list, you can throw out the bad and increase the good making you a better person as a whole. My version includes kaizen, which is the philosophy of daily incremental improvements.

For decades I have been studying traditional biohackers like Zhang San Feng, Benjamin Franklin, R. Buckminster Fuller, Sun Tzu, Depak Chopra, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Malcolm Gladwell, among dozens of others… And more recently a few of the new-age biohackers like Tim Ferriss, Dr. David Perlmutter, and Dave Asprey. Over the years I have compiled my own personal experiences and used them to perfect my own biohacking. My hope is to share some of my experiments and results in this article.

Biohacking actually has tons of aspects and areas… A few of the more popular ones are:

  • Anaerobic Exercise (resistance training)
  • Aerobic Exercise (cardiovascular and endurance training)
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Supplements and Vitamins
  • Prescribed Medication
  • Meditation
  • Deep Breathing
  • Tai Chi and Yoga
  • Light Sources (blue light is scientifically proven to suppress the secretion of melatonin).
  • Fresh/Clean Air
  • Insecticides and Other Poisons and Toxins
  • Sleep and Healing Through Rest
  • Memory and Eliminating Brain Fog
  • Mold Testing
  • Water (how much and filtration type)
  •  

    Soon we (humans) will be including molecular and genetic adjustments through DNA hacking. However, we are only on the initial stage of this level of biohacking.

    Essentially, I biohack myself to improve my overall quality of life by eliminating depression, strengthening my body and immune system, increasing my longevity, eliminating brain fog, and increasing my memory and IQ. Doesn’t that sound cool?

    I have already resolved or cured some issues like joint soreness and aching, stuffy sinuses and allergies, arthritis in my right hand, mid-day sleepiness, better energy levels, and mood swing elimination. All of these fixes were very easy to figure out and then implement. How did I do these things? You ask… Let me tell you a few of my favorite biohacks:

    Years ago I discovered HIT (High Intensity Training) originally created by Arthur Jones and then perfect by Dr. Ellington Darden. Basically it is 27 minutes of extremely intense weight lifting with little to no rest between sets. You do a full-body routine each time, and your reps are time-under-tension meaning you never give the muscle a rest. Each single rep takes between six to twelve seconds to complete (3-6 seconds down and then 3-6 seconds up). It is intense!

    Around the same time, I discovered HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which differs in that it is a burst of extremely high intensity. These days, my HIIT routine consists of sprinting as fast as possible for 400 meters and then dropping to the ground for sixty to ninety seconds. After one set, I repeat the process two or three times depending on how I feel and what my body can handle. By the way, communicating with your body and understanding what it is telling you is a key part of biohacking!

    Next I started looking at the effects of super hydration and the healthy effects of nutritional adjustment. Initially I was drinking upwards of 180 ounces of water each day. Over time I toned that down a bit and now I find myself drinking around one gallon (128 ounces) of liquid each day (mostly water). I also quickly found that eliminating trans fats was a must-do. My diet and food intake has adjusted over the years. Most recently, I have discovered a form of the Primal and Paleo diets by Dave Asprey that is called the Bulletproof Diet. It aligns nicely with my food loves and my nutritional needs for energy and power. Before starting the Bulletproof Diet my wife and I first used the Whole30 diet to create a baseline and find out if we had any food allergies (i.e. diary, gluten, peanuts, alcohol, sugar, soy, and so on). While I found that I am not allergic to sugar or alcohol, I prefer the way my mind feels when off these things… So, my plan is to eliminate those things once and for all. I’m also steering clear of wheat, oat, and other grain based carbs.

    From a physical and nutritional side, I rounded off my biohack by looking at and trying multitudinous supplements. Lately I have narrowed down to specific ones that get the job done right! I take Protandim Nrf2, NRF1, and PhysIQ Probio from LifeVantage, and feel that it has done amazing things for my muscle and joint soreness. I also feel more vibrant and alive (suffice it to say that I am a bundle of energy). In addition, my mood has improved and I attribute much of it to the proprietary blend in my little yellow pill. Along with Protandim, I also drink one Axio (also by LifeVantage) each day. This has helped lift my early morning “brain fog” and also gives me a healthy (non-jittery) boost. Overall, I feel years younger and simply better. Please send me an email via the contact page if you’d like more info on Protandim or other supplements I take.

    Along with the LifeVantage supplements, I also take doses of Zinc, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin D3 (in the Winter), Vitamin C, and Chlorophyll. Note, whenever possible I get my daily Vitamin D from ten to fifteen minutes in the sun; which I think is a much healthier way to get it!

    In addition, I also drink 16-20 ounces of a blenderized Bulletproof Coffee first thing in the morning, a Japanese Matcha tea in the afternoon, and Chamomile (or other sleepy time variant) tea just before bed. I find that this biohack has given me boosted energy first thing and it lasts through the entire day. The best part is, because I am fueling my brain appropriately, when I lay my head down to sleep that is what happens… Comfortable and healthy sleep all night long.

    Speaking of sleep, another biohack I’ve done is to find out the amount of sleep that my body requires. I’ve narrowed this down to 6.5-7 hours (depending on the night) and I use the Sleep Cycle app to wake me when I am coming out of my deep sleep. I find that I leap out of bed these days, because my alarm doesn’t go off at my deep sleep cycle. Soon, I am going to wind my hours back down into the 6 to 6.5 hours, because I’ve had success in that range too.

    My daily dose of grounding (AKA earthing) comes at the same time I do my tai chi; which I do in the grass with bare feet. I find this tackles a few important areas like stretching and deep breathing too.

    Meditation is a huge one for me, and I try to do it twice each day. Sometimes I do three times. Regardless, I meditate every day. If you struggle with meditation, you might want to try an app like Headspace.

    How about DNA testing and genetic evaluations?? My daughter Trinity and I have Type A hemophilia. A year ago, we did genetic testing to find out more detailed information about our specific strain and neat scientific stuff that we really don’t understand… Kristine and I have recently done DNA exams for our health and ancestry background. After thorough research, we used 23 and Me for our test, but there are lots of options available. The process takes between six and eight weeks, so we expect our results in a week or two. We’re very excited to find out what this latest (true) biohack reveals!

    My latest biohack is “dirty light” or blue light, which is becoming more important as we have switched from incandescent to LED and even worse, fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Science is already established on the ill effects of blue light, especially to our sleep patterns. I am toying with fewer white lights in our house and red lights in areas for nighttime ritual (getting ready for bed). This biohack is fairly new to me, and I’m sure I will perfect my efforts over time, but for now it is a work in progress.

    What’s next on my list? I’m glad you asked… hehe. I am doing some initial DIY mold testing in our home and getting a laboratory evaluation. Obviously we will cross that bridge if we find mold problem areas. So many abnormalities and problem areas have been linked to mold that we feel we cannot overlook this biohack.

    In a nutshell, biohacking is for people who are interested in taking some of the responsibility for improving their lives. All of us biohackers are individuals and often do things a little differently. I encourage you to search for other biohackers and see what they’re doing and how they are improving their lives!

    Regardless, I feel it is imperative that each of us does some form of biohacking to strengthen our bodies, immune system, mind, and increase our energy levels and overall functionality.

    If you biohack, or are interested in becoming a biohacker, I would love to hear from you! Please comment below and let me know what you’re doing and/or what experiences you’ve gone through.

    Thanks for dropping by,
    Vaughn

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    Energy and Vitamin Packed Smoothie

    Many friends and family members ask me about the green smoothie that I make. I decided to post an article to explain the recipe and why I use each ingredient.

    First-things-first… You need a blender or mixer to make this bad boy. I personally have the Vitamix 5200… It rocks!

    I suppose I should get the dang disclaimer out of the way… You know that you can choke drinking a thick shake… Right? hehe… Seriously though:
    WARNING: Mixing random foods, supplements, and other concoctions can be dangerous. Allergies and other issues can easily crop up when you don’t know what you’re doing. The opinions, stories, and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend doing your own research and evaluations, including knowing thyself! Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, immune system disorders, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to follow a specific diet or nutritional plan, you do so at your own risk. In addition, high-quality recipes and homeopathic panaceas requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good products. Never drink or eat something that you know nothing about! Most important: listen to your stomach and body…

    Let’s start by listing the ingredients, tell you what I do, and then list a few of the benefits of each potent item that I add. Also, remember to tailor this recipe to your taste and needs… Everyone has different wants and you should adjust and play with this smoothie until you find your perfect one. Most of all, enjoy the entire process… No shake or smoothie should taste like shit and be hard to put down. If you don’t dig what you make you will not stick with it. So, carefully craft your brew to not only give you maximum benefits, but also taste splendid!

    INGREDIENTS

    2 cups Spinach (kale is also great, but doesn’t taste as good to me)
    2+ cups Water (or coconut water, almond milk, etc.)
    1 Tbsp. Hemp Seed Oil
    2 cups Fruit (fresh or frozen)
    2 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed
    1 Tbsp. Cinnamon (Ceylon)
    2 Tbsp. Hemp Seeds (shelled)
    1 Tsp. Fiber
    1 Tsp. Premium Matcha Tea
    1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
    3 Stevia Leaves (or drops of liquid)
    1 Tbsp. Raw Honey
    2(ish) cups Ice (1 cup should be enough if you used frozen fruit)

    One of my tricks to having a true smooth smoothie is to blend it in stages. Many folks I know just pile in the ingredients (I’ve been known to do this), but I think it is best broken down like this:

    1. Blend the spinach and liquids;
    2. Add fruit and blend some more;
    3. Add the remaining things and blend one last time.

    Here is some information on the ingredients and why I choose to include them…

    Spinach

    Vitamin C. Lots of it. Spinach is my favorite form of vitamin C! Popeye introduced me to spinach, and I truly believe it’s the miracle food. Along with vitamin C, spinach is also a great natural resource of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, fiber, vitamin B1, phosphorus, zinc, protein, choline, omega-3 fats, vitamin B3, selenium, and pantothenic acid. And, it has been proven to prevent some forms of cancer! Also, it provides glycoglycerolipids, which are known to protect your digestive tract. Like I said… It’s the miracle food!

    Water

    Your smoothie won’t be drinkable unless you add a liquid. I use water for the simplicity, but you can add any number of nutritious liquids. Try different things out, and find one that tastes great and works for you.

    Hemp Seed Oil

    Hemp seed oil (not to be confused with hemp oil) is an aliment obtained by pressing the raw seeds of the hemp plant, scientifically called Cannabis Sativa (yes, pot). Hemp seeds contain protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 6, omega 3, and insoluble fiber. They are also a great source of vitamin E antioxidants (tocopherols), potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, strontium, thorium, arsenic, and chromium. The flavor isn’t grand, but in small amounts it can go unnoticed. The benefits far outweigh the taste. Also, hemp seeds are proven to aid with your immunity and counteract aging. Not to mention helping to balance hormones! Good stuff!

    Also, Omega 3 and 6 are hard to find as a vegetarian or vegan… This is a great way to get ’em!

    I believe that hemp seeds are nutritionally superior to most other sources of protein and essential fatty acids.

    Hemophiliac sidebar: Hemp oil is an anticoagulant, and it can have an anti-clotting effect on the blood. Nothing is perfect… Just saying.

     

    Fruit

    Not only does fruit contain lots of goodies for your body and health, but they also sweeten the whole shake! Even though I see clear benefits from using fresh, raw, and ripe fruit, I prefer frozen fruit. It really helps to chill the smoothie, and it is easier to keep for longer. Here is a little somethin’ somethin’ about fruit. If you use fruit with big seeds, make sure you remove them.

    Flaxseed

    There are several forms of Omega 3 & 6… Flaxseed is one. Checkout this article for another type. Along with Omegas, flaxseed also gives you a good source of fiber and can reduce hypertension. Remember to grind up your flaxseed before pouring it into the blender. If you buy it pre-ground, you can/should store it in the fridge or freezer to keep the healthy benefits for longer.

    Cinnamon

    There are two primary types of cinnamon and each offers different benefits. I only use ceylon, not canela molida. This is mostly because of my bleeding disorder, but my research has also revealed the benefits of ceylon to be better (in my humble opinion). Read more about cinnamon here.

    Hemp Seeds

    We already added hemp seed oil, but I like to double up on a good thing.

    Fiber

    Fiber is good and you need it. Remember that not everyone can take psyllium. Some fiber alternatives include: flaxseed, glucomannan, methylcellulose, and inulin. This is an article that talks more about fiber.

    Premium Matcha Tea

    Matcha tea gives you energy in a mystical meditative way. It has been called a state of relaxed alertness. It increases thermogenesis and boosts metabolism; which burns calories. It detoxifies and relaxes the body, calms the mind, enhances concentration. Matcha is filled with fiber, chlorophyll, and vitamins, improves your mood, and prevents disease. Matcha is one of the only sources of the amino acid L-Theanine (suntheanine); which may reduce stress and prevent some types of cancer. It also provides vitamin C, zinc, selenium, chromium, and magnesium. On top of that, it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. All that aside, I think one of the best parts of matcha is that it is packed with a mega dose of antioxidants including the powerful EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). If there ever was a super tea, I believe it’s matcha.

    Coconut Oil

    Many benefits come from the coconut. Did you know that societies that have coconut in their daily diet are among the healthiest in the world? Also, it balances out your energy usage and helps with metabolism and burning fat! Coconut oil is also scientifically proven to lessen your chances of heart disease. All around good!

    Secret Tip: Coconut oil liquifies above 75 degrees. So, use hot water to clean your tablespoon and the blender. Also, using a hot spoon makes it easy to carve out of the container.

    Stevia

    Stevia rebaudiana is a plant that has been used for more than 1,500 years in South America by the Guaraní. They called it ka’a he’ê; which translates to sweet herb. Your smoothie will most likely be pretty hard to swallow without some form of sweetening… Try this on for size!

    Raw Honey

    Raw honey, unlike pasteurized honey, promotes digestive health and is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It is believed to eliminate some allergies. Honey is also an excellent remedy for skin wounds and all types of infections. Need I say more?

    Ice

    There isn’t much to explain about this… Suffice it to say that a cold smoothie is more refreshing. If you add too much ice, it will turn out overly thick… If that happens, simply add water to dilute it.

    Optionally, I often add protein. There are many forms and that is another whole article. However, if I’m being pure and true, I think that protein derived from hemp is the best bet. Make sure you try adding your own magical ingredients, and please share what you find in my comments below!

    I should mention that I really dig the benefits of garlic, and eat a clove each day. That said, I NEVER add garlic to my smoothie, because it will wreck it! My preferred method of injestion, is to simply eat it. This is not always easy, and it’s certainly an acquired taste. Do what you like.

    Note: If you call yourself vegan, than the honey should go. Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation and cruelty to the animal kingdom. Unfortunately (or, fortunately depending on how you think of it)… This includes honeybees. Also, some things on my list may not be gluten free. You need to figure that part out on your own.

    Along the nutritional needs line, you might really enjoy this article: Nutrition in a Nutshell.

    Most important (I can’t say it enough), live your life and experience things the way you like… This is merely a guideline… You must find your own path and walk it.

    Cheers,
    Vaughn

    Please comment and let me know what you drink in your smoothie. Also, let me know if this kind of article is helpful and so on.

    Comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

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    How to Give a Killer Speech or Presentation

    So much advice exists out there, and here I am just piling on more… However, I do have some experience in this field. I am an inspirational speaker and extreme encourager who has given hundreds of speeches and presentations. Over the years I’ve learned some really important key factors and also built some of my own opinions on things that do or don’t work. So, I thought I would share some of my findings… Just remember that like most things found on the web, this is my personal opinion and you should obviously create your own based on your findings.

    Probably the number one question I get asked is, “How do you speak to an audience without fear and nervous tension?” The short answer is, I don’t. HA! How do you like them apples?? Honestly, I’m not sure I will ever be completely rid of the butterflies. I mean come on, this is simply a human reaction (stemming from flight, fright, or freeze) that we cannot control. That said, there are several things you can do (or not do) to alleviate your pain. Some of these will sound ridiculously obvious to many, but hopefully I can share enough of my own ideas to help anyone.

    Before I list my thoughts on soothing speech jitters, let’s dispel a few ideas I think aren’t as good as some people say they are:

    1. Imagine your audience is in their underwear. Really? Um… I dunno about you, but this just doesn’t work for me. I mean come on… Do I really wanna be thinking about that?? I have enough trouble concentrating on my task at hand, without throwing in: the old guy with the walker and wondering if he’s wearing a diaper… Or, getting stuck on that hot lady in red…

    2. Never look people in their eyes. Stare at foreheads or something else. This might work for some, but I’m sincerely trying to connect with my audience. My speeches and presentations are from the heart and it just doesn’t feel right trying to locate a mole on someone’s head, or worse getting caught (accidentally) staring at the lady in red’s breasts.

    3. Use lots of bullet points so you can remember where you are and what you’re talking about. Ahhhh… No. Bullet points are boring as shit. See my section below about preparation and practice, know your talk like the back of your hand, and skip the twenty lines of code on each slide. I don’t have a cute line about the lady in red for this one, but for some reason I can’t get her out of my head…

    Now let’s talk about real world things we can (and probably should) do to eliminate or at least lessen stage fright… First and foremost, if you want to skip the upset stomach, sweaty palms, and nervous stuttering, do this one thing:

    • Make sure your speech doesn’t suck!!!

    That may sound silly, but it’s true. If you’re already nervous about your content then you will automatically be nervous while presenting it! The easiest way to do this is to prepare. And then, prepare. Finally, after all that, make sure you prepare. You need to carefully and meticulously research your speaking points and ensure that the material is actually going to be important to your intended audience! Skipping this stage is sure to keep you up late at night and make you horribly nervous at speech time.

    • Along with the three prepares, you must also do three (or more) practices. There is no simple algorithm that tells you precisely how much time to spend practicing, but I can tell you that the better you know your material, the better you will feel when you walk onto that stage. Think about this, would you be more nervous going on stage and trying to simply say, “A, B, C” or reciting a page of Shakespeare’s King Lear from memory? I dunno about you, but I’ll take “A, B, C” any day!!! The reason is simple. My odds are infinitely higher that I will screw up chanting ancient tomes. That said, by practicing and knowing your material you will calm yourself.
    • Use photos or graphics instead of words… If at all possible, don’t put words in your presentation slides. If I have any words, they are short one-liners that give an overall look at this section of my talk. Instead I find inspirational (and cool) photos that relate to the subject. The audience doesn’t want to read through boring line after line… They wanna see a beautiful sunset or picturesque ocean wave. Just make sure that whatever you put there will keep you focused on the part you’re discussing. For instance, when I get to a part where I’m telling a scary story from one of my mountaineering expeditions, I have a photo of a crevasse, or mountain peak, or guy freezing his arse off. This way you won’t distract yourself, or (more importantly) the audience.

    Side note: If you aren’t relying on bullet points or run-on sentences in your slide deck, then you will be much better prepared when the laptop, projector, or something else fails. Part of the “be prepared” and practice session is that if a wrench gets thrown into your talk (it happens to the best of us), you will be ready to roll despite the hurdles. In turn, this makes you even more comfortable when speech time comes!

    • Be properly fueled up and hydrated. I can’t express this one enough… You must have a balanced level of nutrients and water in your body. If you aren’t hydrated you will feel it on stage. Along these lines, don’t go out partying late the night before a speech… Getting drunk, hung over, and tired before a speech is a big no-no. If you enjoy libations, feel free to do that AFTER your speech! This can be an exhilarating way to celebrate with some of your audience.
    • Fitness goes hand-in-hand with nutrition. I find that doing some physical activity before a speech (make sure you have time for a shower and clean-up… Don’t just run right on stage after a five mile run, ding-dong!) really ramps me up and energizes me. Don’t over do it, but get some exercise in and empower yourself!
    • Take a potty break a short while before your sprint onto stage. Regardless of how often you pee, you will feel like you need to go to the bathroom leading up to your speech. Make sure you get a bathroom trip in before going on stage. Feel comfortable knowing that the sensation is all in your mind, and move past it.
    • Remember the rule of tens… Actually, I’m not sure if there is a rule of tens… hehe… But, I call it that. People tend to get bored after about ten minutes. So, prepare your speech so that you are switching slides at least once every ten minutes. Change your subject or storyline at least once every ten minutes. If one of my stories or subjects goes over the ten minute line, I like to throw in something scary right at the ten-minute mark and emphasize it with extreme arm flailing and loud vocals. Whatever you do, keep the crowd engrossed by giving them a change of pace.
    • If you’re funny, then start with a joke… If you aren’t, then skip it. This is another of the obvious ones, but must be discussed. I’m a goofball, and love laughing at myself. It’s actually a bit of a tension breaker for me (not just the audience) to get up and start with a chuckle. Often I will pick on myself or one of my silly faults. That said, if you aren’t a naturally funny person, you might want to forgo the awkward joke. There is no written rule about using or omitting a joke as an introduction… But I can tell you that your nerves will only get worse if you tell a dry joke and no one laughs. food for thought!
    • Lastly, and perhaps most important… Believe in yourself, believe in your message, and believe in your audience. Remember, these guys and gals signed up to hear what you have to say. You owe it to them, to relay your message with a positive impact and inspirational spin. Now get out there, and nail it!

    BTW – did you notice I used bullet points to point out my ideas?? Remember: BPs are okay in an article, not okay in a speech.

    Disclaimer: The lady in red is a fictitious character and is simply a product of the author’s lewd imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely in my dreams…

    What do you do to spice up your talks and ease your worries?

    I hope this post was not only helpful, but also inspirational in some form or fashion.

    Cheers,
    Vaughn

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

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    Fish Oil Might Help

    Let’s discuss Omega-3 fatty acids and their potential benefits!

    Back a few articles ago (as you know) I started talking about different foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements that I ingest on a daily basis to increase the strength of my immune system and add to my overall health and longevity. This whole thing was originally kicked off with my post about oranges. Today is really no different, except the topic shifted slightly… Let’s dig in!

    As most of you know, there are lots of health benefits that come from taking a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) has been proven to help lower triglycerides and blood pressure. Studies also show that omega-3 may help with other conditions like: asthma, Alzheimer disease, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, inflammation, among others.

    Hemophilia Alert: Omega-3 may cause the blood to thin and cause excess bleeding. This is not necessarily bad, but should be considered if you have a bleeding disorder, or are taking anticoagulant drugs.

     

    There are three main types of omega-3s: EPA, DHA, and ALA. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids in our diets. ALA, DHA, and EPA are not made in our bodies; therefore, we must get them from our diet. Two of the most important fatty acids that come from omega-3 are EPA and DHA; which are found in certain fish. The third one, ALA, can be found in plants, oils, and walnuts.

    Whenever possible, the best possible way to get your omega-3 fatty acids is from fresh foods. You can find good natural sources of DHA and EPA omega-3s in the following fish:

  • trout
  • tuna
  • anchovies
  • bluefish
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • sturgeon
  •  

    If you cannot eat these fish three times per week, then you should consider supplementing with an omega-3 capsule.

    You can find ALA in:

  • walnuts
  • flax and flaxseed oil
  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • soybean oil
  •  

    I’d love to get my daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids directly from fresh food sources, but I rarely do… So, I pop an omega-3 pill twice a day. Essentially, I do this to ensure that I get the proper amount of DHA and EPA.

    Do you make sure to get a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids?

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

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    Cinnamon and Longevity

    Back a few articles ago (as you know) I started talking about different foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements that I ingest on a daily basis to increase the strength of my immune system and add to my overall health and longevity. This whole thing was originally kicked off with my post about oranges. Today is really no different, except the topic shifted slightly… Let’s dig in!

    Cinnamon is loaded with fiber, calcium, and iron. It also lowers blood sugar levels! And, has been shown to help with diabetes! So, why wouldn’t you take a daily dose??

    You can add it to fruit juice, milk, tea, or other liquids. I simply stir a tablespoon (just over 6 grams) into water at the same time with my fiber and put it down like some freaky concoction from Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory… But, I’m kind of weird. Make sure you pick something that will taste good to you, so that you’ll do it each and every day! Start Today!

    Before we talk about the benefits, let’s discuss what it is, and where it comes from… Cinnamon is a spice that comes from wild trees native to the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia. And, there’s two main types of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia (Chinese cinnamon). Mankind has been consuming the spice for at least 4,000 years! For more than 1,000 years, cinnamon has been used for it’s medicinal value and doctors have given it to cure many ailments.

    Editor’s Note (added after article was published): My friend, Jeanie Zak, pointed out that Ceylon is the “true cinnamon” that gives the most benefits. I did a little research and found that my McCormick Cinnamon; which says, “Canela Molida” (means “ground cinnamon”) is actually the cassia type. My research unveiled that cassia is cheaper and more common. Further searching and reading revealed an even scarier thing… Cassia has a much higher dosage of coumarin, which is an anticoagulant… This is particularly bad for hemophiliacs!!! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Jeanie. I will switch immediately!

     

    These days, research has shown that cinnamon can help with diarrhea, muscle spasms, vomiting, infections, common cold, loss of appetite, and even erectile dysfunction (sign me up!)

    Cinnamon might also lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or 2 diabetes. It has been shown to help improve glucose and lipids levels. Supposedly, cinnamon will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. That alone is more than enough reason to take it!

    Research is also pointing to cinnamon helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and stopping the destructiveness of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

    In addition, recent investigations are pointing to cinnamon helping fight HIV. I’m not sure where it will lead, but I love the idea of trying!

    Some of my friends like to mix cinnamon with honey (especially local honey) to help prevent allergies, but studies show there’s not any proof that this works.

    Do you take a daily dose of cinnamon? If so, how do you take it?

    Enjoy staying healthy,
    Vaughn

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    Fiber Glass

    No, no, no… Not fiberglass as in the itchy stuff in your attic… I’m talking about a “glass of fiber” or psyllium. Today we will talk about how to help your digestive system and hopefully making you a more regular person. HA!

    Back a few articles ago (as you know) I started talking about different foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements that I ingest on a daily basis to increase the strength of my immune system and add to my overall health and longevity. This whole thing was originally kicked off with my post about oranges. Today is really no different, except the topic shifted slightly… Let’s dig in!

    I take a tablespoon of Konsyl psyllium fiber each and every night. This amounts to approximately 15+ grams of fiber. Considering the daily recommended does is around 30 grams, I’m halfway there with a single 8 ounce glass of water. I try to obtain the remainder of my daily fiber from good sources like breads, nuts and seeds, spaghetti, vegetables, rice, cereal, and legumes. Dr. Oz does a great job of listing many of the fiber filled foods here: www.doctoroz.com/videos/50-fiber-rich-foods.

    Natural fiber has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Along with that, it also relieves occasional constipation and induces “regularity.” You might be surprised to hear that it also helps with diarrhea. This is actually why I take my daily dose! And, it’s used to help relieve a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, such as diverticulosis and Crohn’s disease. Suffice it to say, fiber has many great benefits with little to no adverse side effects. Why not go for it?

    Fiber is also believed to help prevent cancer. Isn’t that enough of a reason to eat it??

    I’d love to write a much longer article that goes into crazy detail, but the truth is… This ain’t rocket science, folks. Fiber is a necessary carbohydrate that helps ease our bowel movements and slows down sugar absorption. It is a great addition to a healthy diet and also easy to include. This one is simple… As the people at Nike like to say, “Just do it.” No matter whether you choose Benefiber, Konsyl, or some other brand… Make sure you add a fiber supplement to your daily plan.

    Thoughts?

    Talk to you soon,
    Vaughn

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    Orange is the New Apple

    The old adage, “an apple a day” is, oddly enough, still a very valuable saying. Fresh fruit have been proven to be so incredibly awesome for natural dietary doses of certain vitamins and minerals. Eat fruit! Every day!

    I’m no doctor. I’m no nutritionist. Heck, I’m not even a health food fanatic… However, I do study food, nutrition, and healthy supplements. I can’t guarantee that my daily concoction actually works, but my studying and investigating has helped me to create a healthy daily panacea of stuff that is good for me. I recommend that you do your own investigating and research before following any of these ideas.

    That said, I have discussed my nutritional choices and needs with doctors and nutritionists. Together, we have narrowed down my daily intake to include some very important foods and supplements. Over the next several weeks I will have an occasional post that discusses one of the many things I ingest on a daily basis.

    Today’s discussion is about oranges. Actually, it’s about good sources of vitamin C, so we will discuss several vitamin C rich foods and ways to get the best bang for your buck. Even though I take daily vitamins and minerals in pill form, I am not a fan of processed vitamins. I’m a firm believer that the absolute best way to get nutritional needs is through fresh food. Vitamin C is no different. Even though there are tons of pills, capsules, and other forms of vitamin C, I prefer to get my C via fresh fruit. In particular, I am a fan of naval oranges. I eat two fresh oranges each and every day.

    Vitamin C can reduce the severity of cold symptoms, by acting as a natural antihistamine. It may also reduce histamine levels. Vitamin C can often shorten the duration of the cold as well. Along with cold prevention, vitamin C is useful in wound healing of all types. Cuts, broken bones, burns, and recovery from surgical wounds all heal faster and better when you’re taking good high quality vitamin C. Its antioxidant properties protect cells from damage and mutation. It also supports the immune system; which is the first line of defense against cancer. This in turn prevents many cancer-causing compounds from appearing. What does that mean? You ask… Essentially, vitamin C reduces the risk of getting almost all types of cancer.

    As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to prevent cataracts and possibly improve vision. As with many other antioxidants, vitamin C helps to prevent heart disease, keeps cholesterol in the bloodstream from oxidizing, and improves high blood pressure. In other words, vitamin C is a cheap and simple solution to lower one’s risk of heart disease and strokes!

    Finally, asthmatics and diabetics can benefit from extra vitamin C in their diets as well.

    These are not the only things that vitamin C helps with, but it is a good list that certainly makes it very enticing… Wouldn’t you say?

    As I alluded to, oranges are not the only natural food sources of vitamin C. As a matter of fact, there are tons! Among many healthy vitamin C options are: red and green hot chili peppers, guavas, bell peppers, fresh herbs (thyme and parsley), dark leafy greens (kale, mustard greens, garden cress), broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kiwi fruits, papayas, tangerines, and strawberries. So do not limit yourself to just oranges, or even citrus fruit… Make sure you do some research and play around with some additional food options.

    Oranges and their zest (zest is the shavings of the orange peel) are all high in vitamin C. Eat the zest along with the juicy meat of the citrus fruit and you’ll be in business.

    Today’s motto is, “Two oranges a day will keep colds at bay!”

    I hope this was helpful. And, please chime in and tell me what you eat to get your daily dosage of vitamin C.

    -Rip

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    Nutrition in a Nutshell

    …from soup to nuts…

    Let’s talk about food! after I go over the rules of engagement: DISCLAIMER – the ideas presented here are merely guidelines to help you on your path to enlightenment. I strongly urge (and insist) you to seek the help of a professional nutritionalist and doctor before attempting to make changes in your diet. If you follow any of my hair-brained schemes and ideas, you do so at your own risk!

    Oxygen
    Oxygen is a chemical element. By mass, it is the most plentiful element on earth. It is also the third most abundant chemical element in the universe. Often overlooked by healthy people, Oxygen is the most important thing that our body takes in.

    Among other bodily functions that are affected by oxygen, ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is one of the biggies. Approximately 40% of ATP, or the high energy molecule, is made up of oxygen. Cutting through the obfuscation, ATP is a key part of our metabolism and muscular restoration. And, according to the percentages, oxygen is the key part of ATP.

    What does all of this mumbo-jumbo mean? You ask. I bring it up, because for the most part we spend our day worrying about how much water we drink and the quality and quantity of food that we eat. But, we often overlook the most important element that our body needs… Oxygen.

    Breathing exercises are a great way to increase oxygen levels in our body. There are manifold ways to increase your oxygen levels. Two of my favorites are:

    • Take four quick powerful breaths in through your nose. Then, exhale four quick blasts out your mouth. Repeat this for about five minutes and feel the energy shoot through you!
    • Take in a slow, deliberate and deep breath while counting to seven. Hold the breath for a count of 28 and then exhale slowly for a count of 14. You can change the number of seconds, as long as you do so in the following ratio: 1:4:2. E.g. 10 seconds in, hold 40 seconds, 20 seconds out. Or, 5 seconds in, hold for 20 seconds, 10 seconds out. I also regularly use a tool, called the PowerLung. It is a very powerful exercise tool that works the lungs like nobody’s business!

    Water
    There are so many different opinions on how much water that we should ingest on a daily basis… The proper amount is a subject that I don’t even wanna touch on. Let me just tell you that water is a vital component that our bodies need. The human body is made up of approximately 65% water. We need it on a regular basis, or we will dehydrate and eventually die.

    I am a firm believer in superhydration. I drink approximately 160 ounces of water each and every day. This may seem a bit excessive to many, but I can tell you that I feel better and stronger when I do. Also, I feel that my metabolism is working more efficiently. That said, if you decide to superhydrate, you must be aware of hyponatremia; which can be deadly.
    fasting
    Many people ask me about trips to the men’s room… Well, I think that my bladder adjusted. Shortly after I started drinking this much, I adapted. One thing that I should mention is, I try to limit my water intake after 5 p.m. to avoid nighttime runs to the porcelain convenience.

    Food (protein, carbs and fats)
    I’m not a big fan of the fad diets. Especially ones like the low carb Dr. Atkins ones. Carbohydrates are an extremely important part of your diet and they provide energy stores. On top of that, many of these diets have proven to mess with your body’s natural acid levels.

    I feel that a balanced and healthy diet of 60% carbs, 20% protein and 20% fat is a great way to go. The caveat with this one is that the carbs must come from healthy sources. I also think that it is fine to eat smaller, more frequent and healthy meals. I am a firm believer in deciding on your meal plan and tracking your calorie intake. It often feels better to keep food coming in every two or three hours, instead of going 6+ hours between meals. I also find that it’s easier to control my intake when I eat throughout the day.

    That said, I also like intermittent fasting (16 hour fast with 8 hour of eating) each day. I think the most important thing you can do is investigate all of the different forms of meal breakdown and do some of your own testing on your body. See what you like, can live with, and works for you.

    I’m sure you’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day… I know many folks who only eat lunch and dinner. They complain of low energy levels and usually have excess body fat. Spreading your meals out and eating healthier might help you find more energy and even start knocking some pounds off! Once again I believe the effects will be different for each individual. Do some of your own testing and find out for yourself.

    Trans and Saturated Fats
    Over the last couple of years we have heard more and more about TRANS FATS. They are horrible!! Remember that foods only have to list them if there is more than .5 grams in there… Instead of reading the label for TRANS FAT percentages, try looking at the ingredient list and seek out things like POLY UNSATURATED YADA (minus the yada).

    Here is a neat site that lists many fast food restaurants who have stopped serving the devious TRANS FATS.

    TRANS FATS are not the only bad fat out there. They have an ugly step-sister called SATURATED FATS as well. After TRANS FATS, SATURATED FATS are the next worst thingy. Avoid them wherever possible.

    Remember that a certain level of fat intake is vital to your well-being. However, you can pick and choose which fats to ingest and which ones to skip right over. And, for goodness’ sake, skip that crazy diet that says eliminate most of your carbs and replace them with fat. That is malarkey (IMHO)!

    Diets
    I already stabbed the Atkins diet in the back… Need I say more? I am against diets (per se). When I hear “diet,” I hear, “DIE – et.” This just doesn’t ring true to my uber-sensitive ears. Instead of a diet (which comes and goes like the wind), why not create a nutritional plan that you can live the rest of your life with?

    Vitamins
    Do you need them? How much is too much? When should you take them? Is Santa Claus real? I can answer some of these questions…

    Vitamins are an obvious necessity in your life. However, there is a craze and hype out there stating that you must take loads of them. Most people eat a nutritious enough diet to receive most of the daily vitamin needs that their body craves.

    I take a multi-vitamin (half of the bottle’s recommended dosage) each night. I determined (by the deep yellow urine I was excreting) that I only needed half of the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.

    Supplements
    I really dig some of the benefits of Creatine. I usually take Creatine Monohydrate (5 grams per day). I haven’t found any other supplements that do anything for me. I should mention that since starting the H.I.T. (High Intensity Training) style of working out, Creatine does less for me than before.

    I will drink a weight gain shake and things along those lines, but I stay away from the majority of supplements that are available. There is a HUGE market out there. And, people spend gazillions on supplements that don’t really do anything for you. The best advice I can give you is to baseline yourself before and after taking anything and see if/where it gave you improvements.

    Alcohol, Caffeine, and Nicotine
    This is a tough subject for me. I indulge in all of these. However, I should mention that moderation has been my key to success. I may smoke one or two cigarettes per year (at least one on Thanksgiving after turkey and stuffing), several cigars throughout the year and an occasional hookah pipe (tobacco only, folks). I also have been known to dabble in a little drinking from time-to-time. Probably my biggest crutch is the caffeine… I go through stages of not drinking any at all to five cups of coffee per day.

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess!”
    -Oscar Wilde

    While this quote stirs feelings and sounds really COo.oOL, I must admit that I am a fan of moderation. This is true of more than alcohol and nicotine… I find that it works for everything in life. Try it on for size and let me know what you think.

    Until next time, gambatte kudasai!

    -Rip

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