What is Biohacking?
Biohacking is a weird name for something not so weird at all – the desire to be the absolute best version of yourself. The word ‘hack’ is used to indicate any improvised solution. So then doing something out of the ordinary, in a way that works for you, is a hack. And with biohacking, we’re essentially hacking our own bodies.
The things we put into our stomach – actually everything our five senses encounter – are inputs into our biology. As humans, we are complex systems. What goes into us will inevitably affect what comes out of us, and I’m not just talking about your poop! Our behaviors, our health, and our performance in all areas of life are outputs. If we want optimal outputs – enhanced energy and focus, limited disease, improved memory, and increased production in business and fitness – then let’s modify the things we put into our body and mind to gain an unfair advantage.
The main thing that separates a biohacker from any New Age practice or self-improvement model is a systems-thinking approach to our own biology. Lets take a closer look at just six areas in your life that could use some hacking.
We all know sitting for long periods is terrible. It causes muscle tightness and destroys our potential for performance. Eventually, it causes injury and chronic pain. We were never meant to feel that pain!
Spend a few minutes foam rolling each day. This is a simple and effective way to directly address the over-active muscles throughout your body that often contribute to postural deviations.
Maintain a neutral-spine position by practicing the drawing-in maneuver. (1) Squeeze your butt, (2) Breath out and pull your ribcage down, (3) Engage your abs by drawing your belly button inward toward your spine, (4) Set your head in a neutral position, ears inline with shoulders (imagine someone pulling the top of your head upward).
Unfortunately, this posture is really hard to maintain. But if you practice it regularly it will eventually work its way into your subconscious via muscle memory. You’ll feel silly doing it, but you’ll get the last laugh!
Over time your body will slowly develop muscle imbalances that lead to postural distortions and eventual nagging aches and pains that, if gone unchecked, will only grow worse. This is why Mosaic Health places a high value on conducting postural assessments at every consultation. We believe it really is that critical!
Here is my massive simplification to get you started (For full details, go here: Mosaic Health Simple Guide to Eating):
- Eat lots of veggies smothered in grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is a favorite brand)
- Eat grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, and low-mercury fish (e.g.: wild sockeye salmon)
- Eat moderate starches and fruits
- Cook lightly, if at all.
If you have a food sensitivity but eat that food anyway, you get inflammation. This inflammation makes our brains dumber (i.e.: the gut-brain connection). Test your food sensitivities, then stop eating those foods (obviously!). You can test your food sensitivities through an expensive but thorough alcat test, or by doing the HR test yourself. One of my daughters and I recently had the blood test and the results were staggering! We had no idea how many foods we were sensitive to – some of which we were eating every day!
We have domesticated ourselves and made it taboo to consider an alternative. We are not as fit, resilient, or adaptable and far more prone to chronic disease than our ancestors. We’re missing out on valuable negative ions that enter our bodies through direct skin-to-earth contact and assist with detoxification and rejuvenation. If domestication is the disease, then “re-wilding” (as some have called it) is the remedy.
Breathe Natural Air
As you could probably guess, natural air is more rejuvenating than the moldy air in your home. So go outside! In order to absorb oxygen most beneficially, fill your lungs by breathing deeply through the diaphragm.
Drink Unprocessed Spring Water.
What we drink is as important as what we eat. However, you may not be aware that our water can be just as processed as the processed food we have learned to avoid. Much of the water we drink has minerals removed and chemicals added. Instead, find a natural spring and drink up. Otherwise, you’re better off drinking water bottled in glass than tap water.
Exposure to Sunlight
Sunlight is part of our natural nutrition, so expose your skin to those warm rays of sun. Your skin uses the energy from the sun to manufacture vitamin D for the body. This vitamin is important for many reasons, including its role in promoting a stronger immune system and proper mineral absorption.
Consume Living, Wild Food
Humans eat living (or once-living) things for fuel – an avocado plucked from the tree, a fish caught from the sea, that cucumber pulled up from the ground, or sauerkraut covered in tiny microbes. We need these wild foods.
Flow is that optimal state of consciousness when we feel and perform at our best. Time slows down, you forget yourself, and you perform at a higher level than ever before. In other words, you know those times when you are kicking ass and nothing can stop you? That’s flow.
Flow is cyclical. Before you enter flow, you must experience a struggle. This is the learning phase, when your brain shows beta waves – you are awake and concentrated. Next, you must release completely. This is when your subconscious can do its magic and consolidate the information and relax. These are the alpha waves – awake but relaxed. Then there is flow – theta waves, when you have access to unconscious mind. Finally, you enter a recovery phase – delta waves, a deep dreamless sleep, restorative.
If you are struggling to complete a task, try pushing yourself a bit longer. Then stop and do something completely different, make yourself uncomfortable (e.g.: take a cold shower, contemplate your death, do some pushups, pray out-loud). That release is a critical step to entering flow. Work hard on something, then break and disconnect completely. When you return later, you’re more likely to experience flow.
We can think about the same experience in many different ways. If we are grateful, we positively change our perspective on the events in our lives. What you put into your body affects what you get out. In this case, your thoughts create the world you experience. If you put gratitude in, you get gratitude out.
At it’s most basic, you could simply write down 3 things you are grateful for each night. And if you want reminders, just set up a google form and use IFTTT to email yourself a link at a designated time of your choice.
If you struggle with the concept of journaling, join the club, me too! And if that applies to you as well, then try the Five Minute Journal – you answer three questions each morning and two before bed. This practice will put you in the right mindset to start and end your day.
Go for a walk outdoors and tell God why you’re thankful. Pray out-loud – listening to your own words of thanksgiving by speaking audibly. Be very present and feel gratitude for everything you see and experience during that short walk.
Read Practicing Affirmations by Sam Crabtree, who wrote: “God is glorified in us when we affirm the work he has done and is doing in others.” Write a letter of love and gratitude to someone. Affirm the grace of God you have witnessed at work in their life. Set up a time to meet with the person, then take out the letter and read it to him/her.
Inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain, memory problems, heart disease, increased chances for a stroke or heart attack, high blood pressure, reduced cognitive function, decreased ability to operate a vehicle, and much more. Sleep and rest are critical – this is why God appointed one day in seven for man to rest!
Learn How You Sleep
Unlike a normal clock, not every person’s biological clock keeps the same time or even at the same pace. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not a morning person”? Maybe you’re that person! Well, there is actually a good reason for that – some people are wired to be more productive in the morning than at night, and vice versa. You can take the chronotype quiz created by sleep Dr. Michael Breus. He helps you identify your sleep pattern so you can structure your sleep for optimum performance.
Not sure when to go to bed? Go to sleepyti.me and enter the time you need to wake up. sleepyti.me will use the 90 minute sleep cycle to give you different options for when to go to sleep. Take note of how long it takes you to fall asleep (On average, it takes people about 14 minutes to fall asleep).
Our bodies are very attuned to the rise and fall of the sun, and when the sun sets in an environment without artificial light, a hormone called melatonin is produced. Vitamin D is inversely related to melatonin and should always be consumed in the morning. If you take Vitamin D at night, it can impede the production of melatonin. Melatonin creates that sleepy feeling, and it tells us that its time for bed. You can purchase a set of Blue Light Blocking glasses to wear in the evening. Or you can instal f.lux on your desktop to mimic the change of daylight on your computer.