Nutrition Archive

Fast to Develop Resilience

More and more people have discovered the awesomeness that is intermittent fasting (IF). The main idea is that either once a week you take a full 24 hours off from eating, or alternatively compress your feeding window to an eight hour span and skip a meal or two. There are of course multiple permutations of these ideas. Some people combine daily IF with alternate day fasting.  The purpose of this paradigm is to simulate our ancestral periods of feast and famine.

Having a refrigerator and supermarket stocked with every conceivable foodstuff is a novel construct relative to our biological evolution. We weren’t made for this world. Storing fat for periods of famine is an adaptive mechanism. The problem is we’re stuck in an endless period of feast. 

What I do: skip breakfast (black coffee only, hey I have to produce) and have a big lunch and dinner. It has made staying lean quite effortless, despite having pizza and ice cream every single weekend. I’ve been experimenting with longer duration fasts as well. Every six months I’ll fast for three days. This sounds way worse than it is. Anyone can do this. The longer (3 days+) fasts have taught me that hunger is a conditioned response. Once you’ve gone over a day and your body has finally resorted to raiding its fat stores, hunger fades into the background for a while. As an added bonus, it frees up tons of time you spend eating and thinking about what to eat.

You become resilient through fasting because you’re better able to handle a missed meal or two. If you’re traveling and unable to find anything but junk in an airport, though this is finally getting better, you can simply skip a meal and fast. You’ll save money on overpriced food and likely not feel like crap from eating something low-quality.

Fasting can be hard and you develop resilience by doing hard things. It gives you a reference point for future challenges in life. I feel like most people’s days are far too easy. The average person doesn’t challenge themselves enough to go beyond their current state. I’m not saying everyday should feel like a grind, but there should be a little struggle. When you fight through adversity in whatever form it may take, you grow. As Tony Robbins says: “We’re all either growing or dying, there’s no in-between”

The thing you have to keep in mind about fasting is that it is a stress on your body. There are loads of modern stresses our ancestors didn’t have to contend with such as commuting in traffic, mortgage/rent payments, working in cubicles, finding/keeping a job, saving for retirement, pollution, etc. Stress is a force on opposite side of the scale of good health. Too much stress and things start breaking. If you’re going to give fasting or IF a try, make sure you listen to your body. If you find yourself thinking about food every five minutes I’d say it’s time to eat.

The prevailing theory is that our bodies are adapted to this method of eating. Our ancestors would likely go long periods without food and once finding it, binging.

Fasting has anti-aging benefits helps you to better regulate blood sugar. Monkeys and other animals have demonstrated that caloric restriction increases longevity. These factors most importantly affect humans. 

The reason I like the longer duration fast is that there is research showing that long periods of suppressed eating switches on a cellular process called autophagy. When your cells encounter an environment of lower than normal blood sugar, they are forced to use fatty acids as an energy substrate. This spools up the usage of mitochondria to process these fats (aside: this is another benefit of consuming a ketogenic diet). Your cells will destroy damaged or dead mitochondria and replace them with healthy versions over time.

If you’re interested in trying this I suggest starting small. Skip a meal and then add more as you feel good. Or you could do what I do and just dive the fuck in.

READERS: Let me know if you’re interested in giving fasting a try in the comments.  Or maybe you’re already fasting and having an awesome time with it, let us know how we can do it better. 

Nootropic Review: Noopept

Nootropic Review: Noopept

Noopept is like other racetams but is way more powerful and hence necessitates a lower dose. So far this is my favorite nootropic. Supposedly it is not technically a racetam, but is often referred to as a racetam because of its cognition enhancing effects. Nootropics effect each person differently and you have to experiment to find what works for you.

The standard dose is 10mg, which is quite tiny, but works remarkably well. Regarding price to dose it’s an amazing deal. This is the daily dose I have been using for the past week. It’s supposed to be over 1000 times more powerful and bioavailable than piracetam. It has a horrible taste and the powder sort of makes you feel like a drug addict.

The reality is that this stuff is very powerful. It gives me motivation to do things when I would feel like procrastinating, not that I’m much of a procrastinator from the start. It makes me want to conquer the hundreds of items on my long term to-do list and I find myself taking action towards completing them.

I got mine from Powder City which has a good reputation in the nootropics market.

It has some pretty amazing effects detailed on the link above:

Noopept increased Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus while the Noopept itself left the body fairly quickly. The animal studies did not detect any tolerance to Noopept, and there was some evidence that prolonged use of Noopept led to stronger effects

I feel when taking it that I’m way better verbally. It also seems to be really helpful when I didn’t get a good night’s rest. Complex ideas seem to come more easily, which is especially helpful when coding at work. My mood is better and my focus and concentration are vastly improved. I also notice a nice bump in energy levels, but not quite in the same way as America’s favorite drug, caffeine.

The downside of nootropics is that we don’t really know what the biological trade-offs are, if any. It is my belief that there is always a cost for any sort of cognitive enhancement and that long term use might not be the best idea. Nootropics are 100% legal. I would suggest giving them a shot and using them when you feel especially drained, or really need to remember what you’ve learned.

Book Review: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Review: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

I just finished the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. I read a lot in the health and fitness genre and in that area there is a lot of shit. This book rises to the top and is well worth your time, even if you’re not overly interested in that area.

It’s about how processed foods are rigorously engineered to take you to the bliss point, the point at which they are perfectly palatable.  And big surprise, this is done with a combination of varying amounts of salt, sugar and fat. It’s also about a lot more than that.

The advent of society’s historically recent harried lifestyles have left a gap open which the big food companies have capitalized upon. The book mentions how women joining the workforce and being generally the operators of the household have spurned the creation of a lot of the convenience foods we see lining our store shelves today. There is a price to convenience.

The price is the death of family meals. It encourages eating anytime, anywhere, in any place. The tradition of eating real food with people you love is slowly dying.

I learned that we don’t have a bliss point for fat. We simply want more and more of it. I agree with this wholeheartedly as I add almost pure fat to my morning coffee on the weekends (butter and coconut oil – bulletproof coffee) and find it quite delicious. Now it’s in everything and offers little in the way of nutritional value in its mass-processed form.

Cheese wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is today. Cheese is on everything as either an accent taste, flavoring, or simply loaded on convenience food adding needless calories. Cheese was formerly mainly consumed as an appetizer or an accompaniment to wine.

Here’s the crazy thing about why we increased our cheese consumption. The Reagan administration subsidized dairy farmers and had no choice but to buy their excess inventory after making the agreement. They needed a way to get rid of it all. The government marketed cheese with your tax dollars. We have literally paid with our own tax dollars to in a way make ourselves fatter.

Salads come with cheese. It’s added to kid’s lunchables pseudo-foods.

Their marketing preys on children who are most vulnerable to their influence. What you learn when you’re young becomes harder to break as you get older E.g. Many people have a tradition like: My family always has English Muffins for breakfast, which might as well be sugar. The book goes deep on cereals and how most cereals are heavily sugar laden, some reaching as high as 60-70% of their content being sugar.

The food companies hire masters of manipulation who employ every psychological technique available. The most insidious thing about it is that in the marketing messages they make sure that the parent feels comfortable giving the child a bucket of sugar, by saying something on the label to the effect of “contains real fruit juice” when that only comprises 5% of the product and the rest is just High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), water, and dubious food coloring. If you were to create these products from scratch at home you would realize they’re fit for nothing more than the drain.

There are a lot of other fucked up things in the book that have stuck with me:

  • Customers are referred to as users, like drug users
  • Far more money is spent on advertising sugar filled products than what it costs to create them by leaps and bounds
  • When it was discovered that children wanted cake for breakfast, Kellog created Poptarts to meet that need so parents could feed their children that shit.
  • The big gulp (64 oz) of soda contains over 40 teaspoons of sugar

The book is very comprehensive and much more is covered. The author visited executives in hundreds of interviews, visited factories, spoke with lobbyists and did a great job as far as I can tell.

Another point that struck a cord with me is how the executives of these companies do not eat the food they produce. They know how bad it is and won’t touch it. In their meetings at the corporate offices it’s not served. There are quite a few people in the book who were trying to make up for damage they levied to society by working with the author to disclosed the food industry’s vile practices.

The book doesn’t end with advice you can implement. It just sort of fizzles out like: “So this is all bad..and THE END.” Despite all of that, I’d still highly recommend it for getting deep dive on what these companies are trying to sell us.

Playing with Racetams and Nootropics

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor nor do I play one on the internet. Use caution. Do your own research.

Racetams and Nootropics

In the past couple years I have dabbled with using various nootropics and have found that the racetams have always had the most profound effect.

From Wikipedia: “Nootropics are  smart drugs and cognitive enhancers—are drugs, supplements, or other substances that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation.” Racetams are a class of nootropics. Unfortunately, the research is scant, however they do work well.

They’re good. Too good.

One of the principals of life is that there is no free lunch. (Also See: Law 40 of the 48 Laws of Power) It’s my belief that using them long term is probably not the best idea. I believe there is always some sort of biological cost. It’s certainly still fun and interesting to experiment.

I recently bought a sample pack from notropics depot and so far have found Phenylpiracetam to be my favorite. It seems to give me an awesome bump in my ability to focus. It also lends a feeling of lightness that I find hard to describe. Music sounds better and colors seem more vibrant. Some of the benefits purported from racetams are improved memory, better recall, increased learning capacity, and better concentration.

If you want to go down this road, you’ll also want to purchase a milligram scale to determine your doses if you buy powders. I would encourage giving the racetams a shot if you’re interested and feel like your brain needs a little tuning for cognitively demanding tasks.

Precautions: check out this reddit for other considerations and information. 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Fun with Dietary Supplements

I use some supplements to improve my health and here my favorites that you might want to consider.

Vitamin D3/K2

A lack of appropriate levels of vitamin D can lead to problems with sleep, cancers, inflammation, bone strength, and cognitive health (depression, etc). It usually takes western medicine about 20 years to catch up with that the nutrition geeks/weight lifters/”biohackers” already know, and even doctors are on board with this one.

I highly suggest first getting a blood test to determine your current level before supplementing. Once you have a baseline, you can figure out how much you’ll need to take and how low it is. Take it for a few months then re-test your blood.

I use for blood testing. You can order blood tests through them without going through a doctor. You should aim for about 40 ng/ml – 50 ng/ml per I take about 5,000 IU/day to get to around 50 ng/ml.

The benefits of Vitamin D follow a U-shaped curve. Too little is bad, too much is also bad. The sweet spot is in the middle.

Vitamin D should be balanced with K2 (which the below product includes) to keep Calcium out of your soft tissues and put it where it belongs, in your bones.

It’s best to take it in the morning, as it can impede melatonin production in the evening, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.

This is the product I use: Thorne Research – Vitamin D/K2 Liquid



Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in over 300 processes in the human body. If you’re not supplementing with it you’re probably deficient, unless you eat an incredibly clean diet. It’s implicated in improving cholesterol chemistry, improving insulin sensitivity, used in DNA repair, and helps your sympathetic nervous system relax. A lack of magnesium can cause muscle cramps, tachycardia, headaches, and migraines.  Magnesium and Vitamin D are my two supplements I would never give up.

According to the The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean  your blood levels should be tested and you want to shoot for about a 6.0 mg/dl

I take some in the morning, but most at night as it has a relaxing effect for me. Start slow with Magnesium as it can cause loose stool(!!!) if you’re not used to it yet. Slowly increase your dosage before taking a full dose. I spread my dose (900mg) through the day because if I take too much at once I get GI issues. You really can’t overdose on Magnesium either, because your body will simply stop absorbing it if you take too much.

This is the product I use: KAL – Magnesium Glycinate 400 

Vitamin C

This is one of cheapest and safest supplements you can take. It’s used in collagen formation, other connective tissues, and wound healing. It’s also used to produce glutathione in the body. Unless your eating a LOT of fruit and vegetables, it’s a challenge to get a good amount of vitamin C.  I take 1g / day.

I use: NOW Foods Vitamin C-1000 Sustained Release with Rose Hips

What supplements do you use that you couldn’t go without? Please let me know in the comments.

How to Have a Productive Morning

I was struggling to come with an idea for something to write about, so I decided I would share things that have seemed to help me “switch on” in the morning and get most of my best work done.

Coffee. No shit, right? No, but not just any coffee. I put a lot of shit in my coffee, specifically to get my brain working at its best. Inspired by Dave Asprey / Bulletproof Executive I make a bastardized version of Bulletproof Coffee. The way I do this is I first brew freshly ground beans in a french press to get all the oils from the coffee. You lose coffee’s anti-inflammatory oils that can pass through the brain barrier and can reduce inflammation in the brain if you use paper filters. I recently picked up this awesome french press. I love it because the entire product is stainless steel, which mean NO plastic in your coffee. That’s another problem with drip coffee and kuerig machines: you’re injecting hot water through plastic and it leeches into the it. That’s not good…and not something you really want to be eating. Also avoid drinking anything hot from Styrofoam cups, styrene leeches into hot liquids too. Choose paper cups if on the run.

I put the following in my morning coffee and BLEND it all together. That is a critical step. If you don’t blend it, the butter and other fats will just sit at the top and be less than appealing.

  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil for MCTs which give your brain some quick fuel and lauric acid found in coconut.  Lauric acid is anti-viral and anti-bacterial and more.
  • 2 raw egg yolks for choline. Bright, deep yellow yolks from good quality eggs are preferable.
  • about 2 Tbsp grassfed butter unsalted (Kerrygold) for a source of long chain fatty acids, CLA, carotenes, and fat soluble vitamins + deliciousness
  • ceylon cinnamon for insulin control and to burn down excess glucose floating around in my blood
  • 1/8 tsp raw vanilla powder for trace minerals, taste, additional antioxidants
  • raw cocoa powder – one big ass spoon full, chocolate has tons of health benefits, but you probably already know that.
  • birch wood based xylitol (make sure it’s birch wood based and not corn based if you look for this)

The main idea is to avoid sugar in the morning and stick to strictly fat. I personally find eating carbohydrates makes me feel like I’m running on one cylinder and it’s misfiring. Give it a shot, go light on the fat if this is your first time trying this.

Some other things I take that I believe help:

  • 5g – Creatine increases IQ
  • This multivitamin: Adam by Now foods but I only take 1 of the 2 prescribed per day to keep things on the low side to reduce risk of taking too many vitamins. I’ve tried a LOT of multivitamin blends, at least 20+ this has been my favorite so far due to their using very high quality forms of vitamins and what seems based on current research to be in the proper ratios.

Hope it helps! What do you do to kick off your morning right? Leave your answer in the comments.