After my recent post “Eat Toxin-Free Processed Foods,” a loyal follower commented, “Have been loving reading these, but it’s definitely a little daunting! I feel like I don’t have the time money or energy to do everything right! (Or at least mostly right).” I could not agree with this reader more! After almost two years of biohacking, I still sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of things I can and should be doing to achieve optimal health. This comment reminded me of the #1 biohacking rule I often remind myself of…
#1 Biohacking Rule: Don’t Give Up!
Instead, introduce biohacks as slowly as you need to so that you don’t become overwhelmed. This site will always be here, so when you’re ready for a new biohack you can consult my post archives! My recommendation would be to aim to make one positive nutrition and/or lifestyle change each month. Eventually, you may feel that one change each month is too manageable and shoot for two each month or even one per week! Biohack at your own pace and recognize that a nutrition and lifestyle overhaul takes time. And, consider the big picture: If you make one change–however small it may be!–each month, you’ll have improved your life in 12 ways by the end of the year. That’s phenomenal!
If you’re new to this blog and are looking for a jump start OR if you’re feeling overwhelmed and just want to focus on some basics, here are 3 biohacking tips that yield radical results:
1) Stop Drinking Sugar
All sugar–chewed or sipped–is harmful to the body, but liquid sugar is especially terrible. Sugary drinks cause an immediate blood sugar spike, which then leads to “an insulin burst that tricks the liver into converting all sugars into fat.”
Thus, if you remove all sugary drinks from your diet–soda, fruit juice, energy drinks (like Gatorade), flavored waters (like Vitaminwater), sugary coffee drinks, etc.–you’ll see amazing results.
What about diet sodas, low-sugar juices, sugar-free syrups, and the like? In many ways, they’re just as bad as their real-sugar partners: “…the artificial sweeteners we think of as beneficial and that we use as treatment or preventive measures against obesity and its complications are contributing to the same epidemics they are aimed to prevent.”
Thus, solely drink the following on a regular basis:
- Black coffee (Or, add heavy cream. See my post “Clean up your Coffee” for tips!)
- Unflavored soda water
2) Prioritize Veggies
Each day–at each meal!–prioritize veggies. Ideally, we should be eating 6-8 servings of veggies each day.
What’s a vegetable serving size? Think: America’s favorite pastime!
We always hear “fruits and vegetables” lumped together into the same phrases. So, what about fruit? Most fruits (olives are the exception!) contain sugar, and the majority of them have high amounts of it. Thus, we should not prioritize fruit. In fact, train your brain to use the term “nature’s candy” instead of “fruit”; this may help you visualize fruit and vegetables as two separate categories.
Clearly, the “fatty fruits”–olives, coconut, and avocados–contain little to no sugar. So, feel free to eat those with abandon!
To prioritize veggies at each and every meal, consider the following suggestions:
- Breakfast: some type of sugar-free green juice
- Lunch: an assortment of chopped raw veggies OR a huge salad
- Think of animal protein as the “condiment” to your veggie base
- Dinner: roasted, steamed, or zoodled veggies
- Again, think of animal protein as the “condiment” to your veggie base
3) Become a “Qualitarian”
Terms like “vegan,” “pescatarian,” and “vegetarian” are trendy and will likely come and go. Thus, develop shopping habits that will make you a lasting “qualitarian”: a person who buys the highest-quality food. Invest in organic produce, pasture-raised meat and eggs, wild fish, and toxin-free processed foods. Realize that when you eat a vegetable, you’re also eating any pesticides that were sprayed on it. When you eat a piece of steak, you’re also eating anything the cow ate prior to its demise. The same goes for fish, poultry, eggs, fruit, and so on. (That food chain lesson you learned about in 5th grade can come in really handy right now!)
Think becoming a “qualitarian” is too costly? At first, so did I. Then, I got real with myself and recognized that I’ll only ever have one body. (Until I get a clone to do my cooking and cleaning, of course.) Instead of buying more clothes (my weakness), I’d rather invest in higher-quality food. I can live without that cute Madewell dress, and, in reality, I can also survive without organic produce. I’m not suggesting that any of us will die (at least not in the short term) from an apple covered in pesticides. However, what we don’t know is how the toxins in our foods affect us long-term. Also, I’m not looking to just live; I’m looking to live optimally. In the long run, becoming “qualitarians” is one of the best things we can do for our health.
Cost-effective ways to become a “qualitarian”:
- Purchase a membership at www.thrivemarket.com. For a flat $59.95/year fee, you can buy all sorts of highly discounted, high-quality products from reputable brands like Simple Mills, Primal Kitchen, Jackson’s Honest, and Epic. (More good news: shipping is always free with a purchase over $49, and, if you enter the code http://thrv.me/biohackingwithbrooke when you sign up, you’ll save 25% on your first order!) One last thing: Not every item on thrivemarket.com is “healthy” (toxin-free, low in sugar, etc.). Be sure to read labels!
- Visit your local farmer’s market to buy produce, fish, meat, and eggs.
- Take your lunch to work each day. Let’s say you save $5/day by doing this, which is an incredibly low estimate. (You may save up to $10/day!) That adds up to an extra $100/month that you can spend on quality food.
- In the same vein, make your own coffee. Save at least $3-4/day, which leaves you another $80-ish/month for groceries. (Imagine…if you take your lunch and make your own coffee, you could have an extra $180/mo!)
I know I recommended that you try to make one nutrition and/or lifestyle improvement each month, but you could really just focus on the 3 biohacks above for an entire year and notice phenomenal improvements in your overall health.
Again, the bottom line is this: Don’t give up! Whenever biohacking seems overwhelming, take a step back and celebrate the successes–however big or small!–you’ve made to this point. Optimal health is a lifelong journey; it is never fully achieved. So, know that we’re all in good company on this long road ahead!
As always, I appreciate your comments and suggestions. As you can see, they may even help to inspire future posts! Thank you for your continued support and feedback!
In each blog post, I aim to bring you food for thought (pun intended. Note: my day job is teaching English), but don’t take my word for it! Click on and read all of the links above to become your own expert on this topic; knowledge is power. The more you know and understand the “why” behind each biohack, the easier it will be to stick to it and realize you can’t live without it!