Image source: Tim Green
If someone had told me a few years ago that I’d be eating up to 4 tablespoons of fats (coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, etc.) per day, I would have thought they were crazy. If they had also told me that eating that way would leave me at roughly 10% body fat, with incredible mental clarity, and more energy than I had ever thought possible, I’d have been even more skeptical.
That was before I heard about biohacking, self-experimentation and the Bulletproof lifestyle. Now my meals are full of healthy fats (that’s right, some butters are actually healthy!), most of which I had never even tried two years ago.
When I lived in residence in my first year of University, I was getting sick one to two times per month. I wasn’t just catching colds; I was getting strep throat, sinus infections and was enduring countless rounds of antibiotics. Everyone said this was a normal part of dorm life, but I couldn’t accept that. My diet seemed healthy enough. I was exercising regularly and getting lots of fresh air. How could my immune system be so weak? This went on my entire first year until I turned to Vitamins C and D3. As soon as I started supplementing, my colds went away and I stopped getting sick.
Welcome to biohacking.
Since then, I’ve developed a passion for optimizing my own performance. I had always been interested in personal development, but never through improving my own personal biology. I had no idea how much of an impact this would have. Everything from my sleep quality to my exposure to sunlight has been improved. Now I can’t open one drawer in my room without finding a biohacking tool. Every area of my life has been drastically improved through biohacking. Not only have I learned and grown from a personal development standpoint, but my biology has followed.
I see biohacking as the ultimate way to boost performance. And it doesn’t have to be bizarre or abstract. Anyone can be a biohacker. We all eat food, we all go to sleep, we are all exposed to light. We’re all human. The trick is learning how to optimize those ever-so-human things we all do. And that’s where the improvement comes in. When we understand how our own biology responds to our external environment, we can change it. We can hack it.
Here’s how I’ve integrated biohacking into my own life:
I was first introduced to a new way of eating when I read Tim Ferriss’ The Four-Hour Body. At first, I was shocked to see fruit juices and white carbohydrates on the “don’t eat” list. This went against all my existing beliefs on nutrition. Though these items were staples in my diet, I was open to experimenting – at least for a few weeks. After testing out Tim’s regimen, I was no longer tired after lunch anymore and I stopped crashing a few hours after breakfast. This was exciting progress! Though the food restriction seemed like a big deal for me at the time, I’ve taken it much further. Fast forward to 2016 and I look at food in an entirely new way.
Currently, I aim for a macronutrient ratio of 60% fat, 20% carbohydrates and 20% protein. This consists of lots of free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, avocados, coconut oil, sweet potatoes, copious amounts of broccoli and of course, Bulletproof coffee. I can honestly say I have more energy now than I’ve ever had in my life.
It’s amazing how much has improved since I changed my diet. As a student biohacker, I learn faster. I’m more engaged in relationships. Writing is easier. Work is more fun. Sleep is deeper. And controlling food cravings? Thankfully that’s a lot easier.
Through all this self-experimentation, I’ve discovered food allergies that I have. And I can comfortably say that I’ve gotten to the point where I know exactly how all the food I take in is going to make me feel. Tracking and logging my performance against dietary changes has led me to discover that most dairy products give me digestive problems. It was sad at first to give up grass-fed butter, but fortunately ghee works well for me!
Sleep is one of my favourite areas to biohack. Since we’ll never be able to entirely avoid sleep, why not optimize it? There are many little changes we can make to our sleep that will make us feel better in the morning. A few tools I have tried include sleep masks, earplugs, blue light blocking glasses, acupressure mats and smart alarm clocks.
A few of my favourite sleep-improving routines include:
- Going to bed at the same time every night
- Waking up at 7am every morning
- Meditating, practicing gratitude and visualizing the next day before bed
This is an ongoing journey and I’m always trying to improve the environment I’m in. Whether it be using a Verilux Happy Light in the winter or working at a standing desk, there’s always room for optimization.
One of my favourite environmental hacks is to go out into nature to breathe in fresh air and soak in bright sunlight. It’s an incredible way to boost energy and happiness.
After all my tweaking, testing and experimenting, biohacking has become much more than an interest. It’s a lifestyle. Being a student biohacker, I can accomplish more, perform better and bring more value to every aspect of life.