Hello friends, family, colleagues, and miscellaneous loved ones!
If you’ve known me long enough, then you know I’m passionate about continual self-improvement and lifelong learning. You will also know that it genuinely makes me happy to share what I learn with others. I spend a lot of my free time researching and aggregating resources for nutrition, exercise, health, and general personal fulfillment. I have benefitted enormously from these efforts and I’ve decided to send out this monthly newsletter with the hope that you will benefit as well. I’ll be highlighting some of the interesting experiments I’m trying out, mainly in the areas of biohacking and lifestyle design.
Biohacking, a term I picked up from Dave Asprey at The Bulletproof Exec, refers to more intentionally using your own biology to become the absolute best version of yourself through nutrition, exercise, and even psychology. The goal is to reach toward your own personal state of optimal physical and mental health through informed personal experimentation.
Lifestyle design means being intentional about the life you build for yourself. It’s about pruning away those areas of your life that are overgrown so you can see the shape of what’s most important to you. If you really want to unpack this concept further, check out Tim Ferriss’s blog at fourhourworkweek.com, where you can read the first 50 pages of his book for free.
And without further ado…
Rob’s Monthly Newsletter – SEPTEMBER 2016
Here’s what I’m currently into:
What I’m eating: I probably get more questions about my diet than any other topic. Maybe it’s because I regularly practice some form of intermittent fasting, which just means eating only during a restricted time window, like between 2pm and 8pm. It could also be because I put butter in my coffee and avoid sugar like the plague. So, what do I eat? I generally eat a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Furthermore, I follow a cyclical Ketogenic Diet, a variant of the Bulletproof Diet. What is a ketogenic diet? It basically means you eat plenty of fat and very little carbs. Your body then goes into a fat-burning mode called ketosis, rather than relying on carbs. It is not to be confused with ketoacidosis, which is a dangerous consequence of diabetes. Peter Attia, MD, clears up the confusion nicely in this post: Is ketosis dangerous?
There are many benefits to your body and mind when you rely more on fat than carbs, but the most important for me is that I feel great. Since changing to a ketogenic diet a little over 3 months ago, I have had more energy and mental clarity, with less food cravings, fatigue, and brain fog.
My diet consists of large amounts of clean fat (e.g., grass-fed butter and other fats from healthy animals, coconut oil, and olive oil), a moderate amount of clean proteins (e.g., grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured eggs, and wild-caught fish) and very low amounts of carbohydrates (e.g., mostly those that occur naturally in the vegetables I eat). No rice, pasta, bread, or fruit (except small amounts of berries) and no sugar (obviously!) When I have a craving for something sweet, which doesn’t happen as much when you are on a high fat diet, I turn to stevia, a natural, sugar-free sweetener, like in this recipe for chocolate coconut bites:
Chocolate Coconut Bites
- 14 oz. of creamed coconut
- 3 tablespoons of chocolate powder
- 1 teaspoon ground vanilla
- Stevia to taste (I recommend 30 to 35 drops of liquid stevia)
- Pinch of sea salt
Instructions: Put all ingredients in saucepan, heat on medium low until liquefied and mixed evenly. Remove from heat. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Pour into clean ice tray, filling halfway. Add optional blueberry or two to each one. Put in fridge until solidified. Enjoy. Store in fridge.
While a ketogenic diet is not necessarily for everyone, I would argue that there is plenty of evidence in favor of adding naturally occurring healthy fats into the diet and decreasing carbohydrates. Here is a great talk by Peter Attia, MD: How did we come to believe saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for us? Also worth checking out, but slightly more detailed, are two of the best known ketone experts in the world, Dom D’Agostino, PhD at TEDxTampa and on The Tim Ferriss Show and Bulletproof Radio, as well as Richard Veech, MD, PhD, (NIH) on Bulletproof Radio.
What I’m drinking: COFFEE with BUTTER! This is related to the high-fat diet, but deserves special mention: I drink Bulletproof Coffee nearly every day. It’s basically coffee blended with grass-fed butter or coconut oil. Take a look at the link, but let me assure you, it kicks ass. I don’t actually purchase the lab-tested, mold-free coffee beans that Dave Asprey sells. His coffee beans are good, but I prefer to buy green coffee beans from Burman Coffee Traders, and roast them myself at home in my Fresh Roast SR500.
What I’m wearing: SWANNIES. I wear these orange-tinted shades when looking at screens. They are blue light blocking lenses. They mitigate some of the cognitive fatigue, eye-strain, and headaches that can ensue from working under fluorescent lights all day and staring at computer screens. They also help reduce disruptions in circadian rhythm (sleep cycles) that can result from screen time at night. Plus they look pretty cool (IMHO).
What I’m NOT doing: COMPLAINING: I’ve been wearing a rubberband on my wrist as part of 21-days (or more) of no complaints. This has been an amazing experience. The intention was to change my thought patterns from reactive and defeatist to proactive and solution-oriented. Incidentally, it has made me a much happier person, especially at work. I highly recommend you read this blog post from Tim Ferriss and try it for yourself.
Well, that’s enough from me. I’d like to hear from you. Did you find this beneficial or enjoyable? What would make it better or what needs clarifying? Any suggestions for improvement are welcome. Also, let me know if there are any cool things you are into that you think I might enjoy. I may include them in the next newsletter. To show my appreciation, each month I’ll choose one person who provided helpful feedback or a useful biohack/lifestyle design to give a bag of fresh roasted coffee to. If you don’t like coffee, we can negotiate something else. Perhaps a batch of chocolate coconut bites!
Have a great month!