Trying to be better without sounding like an a-hole
We’ve come a long way since the movie Hackers and sweet Angelina Jolie’s boy-short haircut and beautiful lips. Well, I suppose that she still has beautiful lips at least - but I digress. Whereas the distinction hacker used to seem strictly subversive, nowadays internet nerdom has properly glorified the likes of Wiki leaks allied hacker Adrian Lamo and hacker-group Anonymous, to name a few. Sure, it’s still unlawful to break into computer systems that don’t belong to you, but there’s a good chance that you’ll become an instant online sensation to boot! Choose wisely.
As the term hacker loses its stigma, others have moved in to recycle the word. Enter Biopunk culture and DIY citizen scientists; biohacking their way into being superhuman. And this new biohacking trend is 100% legit y’all! No one is going to jail for monitoring their triglycerides or for taking cold showers, although you may well annoy some people.
So, what the hell is biohacking? It’s a myriad of things. Just as each person’s biology differs slightly, so shall our methods of understanding our own, follow suit. In general, it’s exactly what it sounds like… A practice of hacking into your own body-system with the aim to understand exactly what it is that makes you tick and adjusting certain variables along the way, with the ultimate goal (of course) to recognize previously unrealized levels of human optimization. Sound hacky? Exactly! And I had never even heard of such a thing until this year when my podcast obsession called my attention to it and to the-four-hour-man himself, Tim Ferriss and bulletproof-guru, Dave Asprey. Since then, a whole new world of biohacking has revealed itself to me and I’m hella proud to now consider myself a biohacker-in-training. For me, biohacking is about mind, body and spirit. Working to get these three things in perfect harmony is my ultimate goal. Oh yes, and doing everything in my power to not sound too much like an a-hole along the way. How am I doing? Speaking of podcasting (not a-holes), it was great to see both Ferriss and Asprey on London Real recently. I even participated in a London Real hosted and somewhat controversial Reddit AMA session with Asprey a few weeks ago. It’s true, the purveyor of Bulletproof Coffee and the influence behind why I now buy five sticks of grass-fed butter all at once is no stranger to his slew of internet pushback, and I certainly don’t follow him blindly, but I suppose that some would see that kind of online heat as a sign of arrival. And then there’s Ferriss - a true savant by all accounts. This man must paint his friends green with envy and I bet he even takes a notepad to the loo. His books are phenomenal if you’re in to human performance, especially, The Four Hour Body. That thing is like a textbook and should be treated accordingly. Slowly but surely is key with this book unless you have a hot date coming up and in which case the section on Improving Sex may prove fruitful. Oh Timmy you dirty dog, you! Granted, knowing how to help a woman and her body reach orgasm is infinitely important and certainly optimal. Wouldn’t you agree?
And that’s another thing… Can we please get a seasoned female biohacker on the scene? And one with a decent podcasting voice? Pretty please? Not that I don’t go nuts for all of the podcasting testosterone that I ingest, but there are variables that women have to account for when reshaping the body that men don’t have to deal with and vice versa. For example, the Tim Ferriss method of rapid weight loss doesn’t necessarily work the same for women as it does for men, and sometimes not at all. Sure a slow-carb diet is almost always going to be rapidly effective for people who have been eating poorly for the bulk of their lives. And sure, menopause in middle-aged women will likely slow down some progress. But what about relatively healthy women who are aged well before the death to our endocrine systems? I utilized Tim’s methods to a T for five weeks and didn’t lose a pound. Why? I’m not sure yet, but I think it had something to do with the amount of legumes I was consuming combined with the fact that Ferriss’ recommended cheat day binges just completely dug me into a hole each week. It turns out that spending an entire week after a binge day clawing my way out of a ditch, doesn’t quite fall in line with Tim’s minimum effective dose (MID) regime. Having said that, there are TONS of things that have helped thanks to The Four Hour Body – and it’s still helping me. After making adjustments I have since begun to lose weight, but remember it’s not just about the scale – it’s about feeling better. Truth be told, there is a great deal of information-soup to sift through and plenty of qualified biohacking pundits to revere. Asprey alone has enough free information on his site to keep you busy for months. Biohacking effectively means that you act like a scientist and you think of yourself as a science experiment. Ask questions, research, test, test, test, but most importantly you have to start somewhere.
I’ve done my fair share of testing since I started hacking almost two months ago. From blood tests to urine tests (yep!) and glutathione to activated charcoal, from finger pricks to fasting and buttered coffee to icy showers, I’ve had a blast and it’s only just begun. Hold up! Butter in your coffee? Absolutely! Where have you been, man? In spite of the hullabaloo surrounding Asprey’s micotoxin platform, I’ve personally consumed an entire bag of Bulletproof coffee in the manner in which it was intended, and it’s very good. Especially if you are truly off of sugar and have been for at least a few days. I don’t think you necessarily need to purchase Bulletproof beans but it sure takes the legwork out of finding the good stuff. And let’s face it, finding the good stuff of anything isn’t very easy.
I dream of a day when I can walk into a store (any store) and pick food off of the shelf without any effort whatsoever, because I know ahead of time that my meat and dairy will have been grass-fed and grass-finished, my eggs will have come from super happy hens, my fish was wild-caught and my greens are sourced from a local farm and done so by an old hippie (probably) named Stew. Until then I’ll have to endure those super fun faces of frustration from local butchers and uncomfortable opinions from friends at dinner when I become that guy at the table. You know… the one who plays name-that-food with the waiter? Or my personal favourite, I’ll just sit here while you go and ask the chef how to do your job, (for the record I was a waiter for three years so I’ve earned the right to say make that joke). You can call me crazy for giving a shit about where my food comes from, and I don’t like to name-call, but I’ve got one word for my friends and the waiter, lazy (gasp)! There, I said it.
I feel as if I’ve gone off on a tangent. Provigil anyone?
I’ll conclude this (possibly) under-focused commentary with some love to the podcasting cosmos. Thank you podcasting pioneers (you know who you are) for facilitating great ideas and nurturing a like-minded community. Thank you for introducing me to the minds of Tim Ferriss and Dave Asprey. Keep it coming, hard-core.
Big love! - Jacks