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How Harvard Researcher David Sinclair (and Dave Asprey) Manage COVID-19 Risk – #681

In this special episode of Bulletproof Radio, microbiologist and geneticist David Sinclair, Ph.D., gives a thoroughly researched perspective on the coronavirus, plus concrete steps you can take and lifestyle changes you can make to potentially lower your own risk.

We cover food, fasting and fitness. A range of supplements. The research behind and benefits of a vaccine, the red tape of regulation, availability of home test kits, and much more.

David is a professor in the department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and founding director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard. He’s best known for his extensive research on lifespan extension and treatment of diseases for aging. He’s an award-winning researcher whose work on resveratrol, NAD, and reprogramming to reverse aging have been widely hailed as major scientific breakthroughs.

“Before this [coronavirus] happened, it was pretty obvious to me as someone who was already working in a company that was detecting viruses that these things were going to attack,” David says.

Listen on for an in-depth discussion of recent coronavirus research and the COVID-19 strain that’s making its way around the world.

Enjoy the show!

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Follow Along with the Transcript

How Harvard Researcher David Sinclair (and Dave Asprey) Manage COVID-19 Risk – #681

Links/Resources

Key Notes

  • Is this as big a threat as we think it is? 05:50
  • How fast does this move 08:25
  • Get out and move and stop eating sugar 09:20
  • How do you make yourself stronger against this virus? 12:30
  • Kryptonite foods 15:10
  • Benefits of Vitamin D 19:10
  • Resveratrol 21:00
  • NAD is also confusing 24:40
  • What are the most important affordable supplements to take? 26:00
  • Covid vaccines 37:00
  • Natural immunity 43:00
  • Cannabis – good or bad? 46:50
  • Let’s talk about sleep 48:30
  • Are there concerns about testing? 51:00
  • What is this virus going to do to society? 59:00

Go check out my new book Super Human: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Forever and also “Game Changers“, “Headstrong” and “The Bulletproof Diet” on Amazon and consider leaving a review!

If you like today’s episode, check us out on Apple Podcasts at Bulletproof.com/apple and leave us a 5-star rating and a creative review.

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Campfire Smoked Salmon Breakfast Sandwich

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Smoked Salmon and Garlic Spinach Breakfast Sandwich
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Recipe adapted from Chef Corso of MONTyBOCA

You can elevate your favorite breakfast sando with new dimensions of flavor, thanks to smoked salmon, garlic and a squeeze of bright lemon. This campfire breakfast sandwich recipe was developed by Chef Corso of MONTyBOCA, a community that shares trail-tested recipes made for the great outdoors.

If you’re hitting the trail, use high-quality, organic powdered eggs — but if you’re whipping this up at home, swap in two pasture-raised eggs instead. No gluten or higher-carb foods? We got you. Try Keto Cauliflower Sandwich Thins or Paleo Coconut Flour Bread.

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Smoked Salmon and Garlic Spinach Breakfast Sandwich

Smoked Salmon and Garlic Spinach Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 8 slices of your preferred sandwich vessel (like Cauliflower Sandwich Thins)
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon
  • 9 oz. fresh spinach
  • 4 tbsp. organic powdered eggs, or 2 whole pasture-raised eggs
  • 4 tbsp. water
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 lemon

Instructions:

    1. If using powdered eggs, hydrate them in water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, turn on burner to medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. coconut oil to pan.
    3. Toast sandwich bread on both sides. While the bread is toasting, mince the garlic cloves.
    4. Once all slices have been toasted, add remaining 2 tbsp. of coconut oil to pan. Cook garlic 1-2 minutes. Add spinach, and cook 2-3 minutes until wilted.
    5. Add eggs. Stir, scrambling gently and cooking 2-3 minutes until set. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
    6. Layer smoked salmon and garlic spinach scramble on toast. Eat!

    Serves: 2-4 servings

Note: Garlic is suspect on the Bulletproof Diet because it’s a member of the allium family, which can cause food sensitivities in some people.

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The Best Sleep Tracker Apps and Wearables

  • Your sleep can make or break your day. That’s why sleep tracking apps have surged in popularity. Almost everyone could stand to improve sleep.
  • Epidemic proportions of people do not get enough sleep. Or they spend eight hours in bed, but have poor sleep quality. Poor sleep can lead to anything from feeling sluggish all day to chronic illnesses like depression and diabetes.
  • You can improve your sleep faster if you know what’s actually happening while you’re in bed.
  • There are so many sleep tracker apps available, from rings to watches and apps that use just your phone. Which sleep trackers work best?

Statistics show that a third of people reading this do not get enough sleep.[1] Not getting enough sleep makes you feel groggy and distracted, and it has long-term effects. Insufficient sleep increases your risk of conditions like:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Cancer

There are hundreds of other conditions that can be traced back to poor sleep duration and quality. You could go to bed earlier, but is that the answer? Sleep isn’t just an on/off switch. As any insomniac knows, time in bed doesn’t necessarily translate to time asleep, recharging.

It’s easier to change something that you measure. Makes sense, because you can pinpoint opportunities for improvement when your current status is right in front of you in black and white.

Enter sleep tracker apps and wearables. The things you do during the day affect your sleep, and a lot happens behind the scenes when you’re sleeping. If you can see where your sleep stands today, you can zero in on small changes to improve your sleep and start feeling amazing.

Keep scrolling to see the best sleep trackers to improve your sleep and help you power up every single day.

Want to Sleep Better? Feel More Rested?

Bulletproof can help. Try our science-backed Sleep Guide for FREE.

OURA Ring

If you’re interested in seeing how the things you do throughout your day affect your sleep and recovery, this is the wearable for you. With a full range of metrics and advanced analyses like the Readiness Score (more on that coming up), the OURA helps you see what’s happening under the hood while you’re sleeping. The more you can track, the easier it is to make small changes to see what helps you get the best possible night’s rest.

Compatibility: iOS, Android

Cost: Starts at $299

Measures:

  • Total sleep
  • Sleep efficiency
  • Tranquility
  • REM sleep
  • Deep sleep
  • Latency (time from pillow to falling asleep)
  • Timing
  • Body temperature
  • Heart rate variability
  • Respiratory rate
  • Calorie burn
  • Steps

Battery life: About a week

Highlights

Readiness Score

The OURA takes a unique look at what makes a good night’s sleep. If you want to assess your sleep at a glance, you can pull up your Readiness Score in the OURA app. Your Readiness Score tells you if you’re ready for the day ahead, or if you should focus on rest and recovery. It uses information from your sleep the night before, your activity the day before and a handful of other measures to help you make decisions about the upcoming day.

Body temperature

The OURA tracks your average body temperature throughout the night, which can help you understand whether a difference in room temperature of a degree or two will make you feel your best the next day. Over the past month or so, I learned that choosing a light sheet over a thick blanket gives me about 17% more REM sleep, which is the restorative sleep phase. Sounds small, but how many more hours would I have to waste in bed to get that much more REM sleep?

Body temperature is also interesting if you’re tracking your menstrual cycle, though I wonder if it’s precise enough to use for fertility tracking. I’ve noticed a bump of about 0.3 degrees right around mid-month, which happens when your progesterone level elevates from ovulation. It drops back down around period time.

Heart Rate Variability

Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure that is super sensitive to stress — not just emotional stress, but stress that you might not even know is happening.

On an episode of Bulletproof Radio (iTunes), co-founder and CEO of OURA Health, Harpreet Rai, explains how you can use the OURA ring’s HRV measure to inform the things you do during the day.

“People are starting to realize that if you eat a pint of ice cream before you go to bed, you end up having low heart rate variability and a high resting heart rate. Most people won’t get that great of deep sleep or REM sleep, and as a result, you sort of feel like crap the next day. So, I think you will start to realize that it’s actually your lifestyle actions that affect your sleep,” Rai explains.

Heart rate variability does not go into your readiness score, but it is a good indicator of how the things you do during the day affect your sleep at night. A higher nighttime HRV indicates that your body tolerates stress well, your stress management tactics are working or that you don’t deal with a lot of stress. Low HRV throughout the night tells you that you’re stressed, that your immune system is fighting something or that you’re reacting to a food or toxin that isn’t right for your biology. As you make changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can check in on your heart rate variability to see how it changes.

It’s worth a mention that the OURA is, in my opinion, the prettiest wearable tech you’ll find. I wore the Balance style in silver, which is smaller and more streamlined than the previous generation. I assumed any smart ring would look clunky on my small hands, but it looks great.

RELATED: Instantly download our 30-day Bulletproof Upgrade guide to take charge of your health and feel amazing every single day.

Motiv Ring

Since the Motiv excels at detecting restlessness, and my husband is the more restless sleeper of the two of us, I had him test the Motiv to see what it picks up.

Compatibility: iOS, Android

Cost: $199

Measures:

  • Active minutes
  • Resting heart rate
  • Activity types
  • Calories burned
  • Activity intensity
  • Steps
  • Sleep duration
  • Distance

Battery Life: 3 days

Highlights

(As reported by the Mister … )

Sleep duration

The Sleep Length metric was amazingly accurate. I was having a lot of restless nights when I first started wearing it, waking up for five minutes to several hours. I can’t say with certainty how accurate it was down to the minute, but it seemed to catch every time I woke up with precision.

I did notice that a few nights when I had a few glasses of wine I actually seemed to have less restless sleep. We all know that alcohol negatively impacts the more restorative sleep phases, but the app told me I slept better. Was it just that I didn’t move as much, and my sleep quality did actually drop? Hard to say without a breakdown.

I would like to see more information on sleep phases. The app only tracked sleep length and restless sleep periods. My restless periods seemed consistent with what the app reported. For now, I am not really sure how to use the data. I could look for trends as far as restless times of night, and see what adjustments make a difference. Sleuthing out the problem would be easier if I knew where the interruptions fell along my sleep rhythms.

Activity tracking

Other measures like steps and heart rate all appeared accurate. As far as tracking time actively exercising, I ran into a snag: I lift heavy, so I wanted to remove the ring so I wouldn’t ruin it. That’s not unique to the Motiv — it’s a downside of all rings.

It’s a beautiful ring – I started wearing it in place of my wedding band. It’s easy to charge, and the app has a simple and intuitive interface. A few times, I had a difficult time picking up the signal to sync it with the app, but overall it worked well. So far, it seems to be pretty scratch-resistant too. I only scratched it once noticeably when I was sitting on a rock and scraped it. How it would hold up in the long run, though, is anyone’s guess.

Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Charge 3Among the most well-known wearables, the Fitbit Charge 3 offers solid sleep tracking and activity tracking, and it integrates with your phone to alert you of incoming calls, texts and appointments. The Fitbit best suits people who want to optimize their exercise, with sleep as part of that goal.

Compatibility: iOS, Android

Cost: Starts at $149

Measures:

  • Steps
  • Miles
  • Calories burned
  • Active minues
  • Heart rate
  • Run/bike mapping
  • Time in heart rate zones
  • Sleep duration
  • Sleep phases
  • Self-logged measures like weight and hydration

Highlights

The following review was written for the Fitbit Charge 2.

Challenges and social elements for motivation

If it’s motivation you’re after, the Fitbit keeps you going. You can get any level of motivation that works for you, from buzzes throughout the day that remind you to get up and move, to completing challenges with friends who are also using the app. If you’re more likely to stick with a program if you have someone keeping you accountable, the Fitbit has your back.

Notifications

If you’re distractible, you’ll want to rein in your notifications when you start. Text messages, movement reminders, appointment in your calendars, challenge alerts, social notifications … they all add up. Spend some time in the beginning setting up which notifications serve you and your goals, and silence the ones that don’t.

That said, I found the Fitbit to be less distracting than my phone. I could have it on my wrist and quickly decide whether to respond to a text, rather than sifting through every notification that I had on my phone every time a text came through.

Sleep tracking

The Fitbit logged my sleep cycles as much more erratic than the other trackers did. It said I woke 3-4 times each night, but I don’t recall waking at all. I sleep continuously throughout the night and I wake up feeling refreshed, so I’m inclined to believe that the other trackers hit the mark a little better. Since I’m unconscious, it’s hard to say which of them is the most accurate, though.

This is personal preference, but I’m not a fan of having something on my wrist while I sleep. Perhaps I could get used to it, but three nights in, I still took it off halfway through the night. Compared to the rings, which I forgot about soon after putting them on, I noticed the watch at night.

Sleep Cycle app

The Sleep Cycle app senses your sleep cycles using your phone’s microphone and accelerometer (movement sensor). It analyzes breathing and movements to determine when you’re awake, in deep sleep or in REM sleep.

You tell the app when you need to wake, then you place your phone next to your pillow or on your nightstand when you hit the sack. The app will decide when you’re in your lightest sleep phase around your programmed wake-up time, so you’re not trying to fight against deeper sleep phases.

Cost: Free, or $29.99 per year for Premium

Platforms: iOS, Android

Measures:

Free version:

  • Intelligent wake-up
  • Sleep analysis
  • Nightly sleep graph
  • Alarm melodies
  • Snooze
  • Apple Health integration (iPhone only)
  • Database export (iPhone only)

Premium offers several additional features like online back-up, a wake-up mood tracker and integration with your smart light bulbs and running tracker.

Highlights

Wake up gently

Generally, I wake on my own without an alarm. When I have to use an alarm, I’m not exactly the spring-out-of-bed type. I call it waking up gently. My husband calls it quit hitting the $%&! snooze button. The app promises to wake you during light sleep, making it easier to rouse when it’s time. I tested the alarm function to see if waking up felt like a gentle nudge, or if I would be tempted to hit snooze eleventy thousand times.

I set the alarm to wake me around 6:00 a.m., even though I naturally wake up between 6:30-7:00 a.m. The app takes that to mean that any time I caught a light sleep phase between 5:30-6:00 a.m. is fair game.

I found that it was surprisingly easy to wake up at the alarm time every day I used the alarm function, which led me to believe the app accurately detected my light sleep phase. If I wanted to snooze, I had the option to use an “intelligent snooze” function, and the alarm lapse would shorten each time I hit it. I didn’t need to use it, though. Quite a departure from my normal alarm wake-ups with multiple snoozes.

Accuracy

I had no idea an iPhone mic was so sensitive. I downloaded the app in the afternoon, when I was nowhere near ready to go to sleep. Before I closed it, I noticed the sound detection line flexing as I breathed normally, my face about a foot away from my phone. It picked up every little sound, even down to my own relaxed breaths that I couldn’t hear myself.

I wondered whether it would pick up my husband’s breathing and motion if he was sleeping next to me. We go to bed at different times and his night sleep is fairly erratic, whereas I sleep hard. The app undoubtedly logged my bedtime and sleep pattern, not his. He came to bed late and was up and moving several times one night, while I stayed asleep in bed, so I was sure it didn’t make a mistake.

Doesn’t a phone next to your head expose you to harmful EMFs (electromagnetic fields) all night? Technically yes, and that will mess with your circadian rhythm and has some long-term effects. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: switch to Airplane Mode and you’re good to go.

You’ll see benefits no matter which sleep tracker you choose. The important thing is that you have a general sense of what’s happening while you sleep, and you’re taking steps to improve it. Being Bulletproof is all about paying close attention to how changes make you feel and spotting trends so that you can do more of what works and feel amazing every day of your life.

Want to Sleep Better? Feel More Rested?

Bulletproof can help. Try our science-backed Sleep Guide for FREE.


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What Is the Pegan Diet? What Happens When Paleo Meets Vegan

  • Developed by Dr. Mark Hyman, the pegan diet is a mash-up of paleo and vegan diet principles.
  • Filling 75% of your plate with vegetables, this diet provides for plenty of fiber, nutrients and energy while helping you balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation.
  • Refined oils, processed meats, dairy, grains and beans are a no-go, but veggies, nuts, fruit and sustainably raised animal products are go-to staples.
  • The pegan diet and the Bulletproof Diet have some similarities, but differ on certain principles. Find what works for you, and eat more vegetables — that’s something everyone can agree on.

The pegan might have been named for the paleo and vegan diets, but it doesn’t require you to eat like a caveman and banish animal products. The diet is a set of eating habits that Dr. Mark Hyman believes reflect what our bodies need to maintain optimal health.

The majority of the diet is vegetable-focused. It’s supplemented with small amounts of organically-sourced proteins, all while eliminating many foods that can cause inflammation or raise your blood sugar. In that way, it has a lot in common with the Bulletproof Diet, with some key differences. Keep reading to get the details.

What is the pegan diet?

Dr. Hyman first mentioned the pegan diet in 2014 on his blog. After getting fed up with conflicting health science, his approach was embrace the foods that research proved were universally good for you, and to follow the habits of healthy eating that everyone seemed to agree on.

The pegan diet flew under the radar for a few years. But then in 2019, inquiries for eating pegan skyrocketed 337% on Pinterest. Maybe the reason it’s rising in popularity is that it advocates for something the paleo and vegan diets don’t — a wider variety of foods in moderation.

What foods can you eat on the pegan diet?

Going pegan means stuffing your fridge with veggies. They should be 75% of what you eat. Fill the rest of your plate colorful fruits and sustainably raised protein, and prepare it all with healthy fats like coconut oil or grass-fed butter.

These are the go-tos of a pegan diet:

  • The majority of your diet should be vegetables: Stick to organic vegetables that are high in fiber. Limit veggies high in sugar such as potatoes, peas and corn. Once your meal is assembled, your plate should be filled with at least 75% veggies.
  • Eat small amounts of fruit: Include a small portion of fruit in your diet in a rainbow of colors.
  • Healthy, plant-based fats: These are all products made from unprocessed nuts (except peanuts), seeds, avocados, olives and coconut. That includes fats from grass-fed butter, too.
  • Unprocessed cooking oils: When cooking or seasoning a meal, reach for cooking fats like coconut oil, avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil. Avoid vegetable oils like canola and sunflower oils. Find out why canola oil is bad news.
  • Sustainably raised animal products: Get the vital protein you need with organic, sustainably raised meats, wild-caught fish and pasture-raised eggs. Also, eat it like a side-dish or condiment — not the main course.

What foods should you avoid on the pegan diet?

Dr. Hyman outlines a list of foods to steer away from, along with the reasons why they should be avoided. Here’s a summary:

  • Refined oils: Most oils, such as soybean, sunflower, canola and corn oil are typically processed with solvents and bleaches. Read the labels on packaged goods because partially hydrogenated oils can hide everywhere.
  • Processed meats: Think meat snacks, sausage or pepperoni. If it’s salty and meaty, unless it’s sustainably sourced, just find another source of protein.
  • Conventional dairy: Milk, yogurt and even plain cream can contain hormones, antibiotics, or preservatives. And while you may not be lactose-intolerant, milk can cause inflammation in many people who just haven’t noticed it yet. Sheep and goat milk products are less likely to cause inflammation than cow milk, but only have a little, and only once in a while.
  • Grains: Grains can affect your insulin response. Grains containing gluten can cause inflammation, even if you’re not celiac. Try to avoid them. Gluten-free grains like black rice, millet or quinoa can help round a meal, but don’t base your dinner on them.
  • Starchy legumes: Starchy legumes are full of carbohydrates. They can spike your blood sugar and cause digestive problems. If you have legumes, have them in moderation. Dr. Hyman recommends lower-carb legumes like lentils, rather than black beans and chickpeas.
  • Sugar: Think of sugar as a rare, occasional treat. Many of us come across a slice of birthday cake at a social gathering or a free doughnut at a business meeting — that should be enough.

How to go grocery shopping on the pegan diet

Produce aisle in grocery store

The pegan framework considers food to be anything that comes out of the ground, off a tree or can be caught or farmed sustainably and cleanly. Food isn’t manufactured. If it’s chemically fertilized, processed or preserved, according to the pegan diet, it’s not food.

  • Throw out the carbs: Look for foods low in sugar. Avoid anything with flour or simple carbohydrates — that means no bread, bagels, crackers or sweets.
  • Read the labels and ask the butcher or produce clerk: Don’t grab anything with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, fertilizers, additives, dyes, preservatives, MSG or artificial sweeteners. For this, you really have to visit your local farmer’s market, talk to store clerks and do your homework.
  • Variety is key, but don’t shop with your sweet tooth: Don’t over-do it on high-sugar fruits like apples and bananas. Avoid low-fiber, high-sugar vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn. Grab a diverse palette of colors, forms and flavors from the produce aisle.
  • Add some quality fats: Include quality fats like avocado, olives, healthy oil, nuts and seeds with each meal.
  • Ensure adequate protein: For appetite control and building muscle, pick up organic eggs; wild-caught, low-mercury fish such as sardines, herring, anchovies or salmon; or sustainably sourced, organic meat. Shop for meat like you’d shop for a side dish — just enough to supplement your meal.

What sets the pegan diet apart?

Overhead view of forest

The pegan diet sounds an awful lot like many other popular diets, but there are a few critical differences. Here is a quick breakdown:

Paleo diet vs. pegan diet

The paleo diet doesn’t allow any legumes. It allows some starchy root vegetables, like sweet potatoes and cassava, and suggests that at least 30-35% of your diet come from protein.[1] That’s a lot of protein. Strict paleo dieters avoid all dairy, but the pegan diet allows some goat and sheep milk in moderation.

Vegan diet vs. pegan diet

The pegan diet breaks the vegan cardinal rule in allowing animal products. If you’re vegan, you might get your protein from legumes like lentils and black beans, which are only allowed in moderation on the pegan diet.

The Bulletproof Diet vs. pegan diet

There are three big differences between the Bulletproof Diet and the pegan diet:

  • The Bulletproof Diet places greater emphasis on avoiding inflammatory foods: The pegan diet allows some whole grains and lentils in moderation. On the Bulletproof Diet, you want to avoid these foods whenever possible because they still contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid, lectins and inflammatory proteins — not good if you have food sensitivities.
  • The Bulletproof Diet supports a ketogenic lifestyle: On the Bulletproof Diet, you eat about 50-70% fats, 20% vegetables, 20% protein and 5% fruits/starches. This ratio puts you in a fat-burning state called ketosis, which also reduces inflammation.
  • Intermittent fasting is part of the Bulletproof Diet: Intermittent fasting isn’t required, but it’s an option on the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap because it also supports inflammation and helps regulate blood sugar.

In general, it’s healthy to limit processed foods, avoid sugar, eat more quality fats and eat more vegetables. The pegan diet is one way to get there.

Our perspective is, go with your gut. There are dozens of variations on each type of diet. The key is to start with one that seems like it fits your lifestyle and dietary needs. Don’t just eliminate food groups without understanding why you’re eliminating them. For example, carbs aren’t inherently bad — it’s just that the ingredients in certain carbohydrate-rich foods might make you feel worse than others. Cutting back on foods like legumes, dairy and gluten means avoiding common trigger foods. If you have food sensitivities and don’t know it, see how you feel after eliminating them.

The most healthy diet is the one that works best for your body. Experiment, pay attention, tweak and experiment some more. That’s what being Bulletproof is all about. You’ll continue to make improvements as you keep feeling better.

Related: The Bulletproof Diet vs. Paleo vs. Ketogenic Diets: What’s the Difference?

What does a pegan meal look like?

The good news is many Bulletproof recipes fit into the pegan diet. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started eating pegan:

Keto Eggs Benedict

Keto eggs Benedict on plate

This is a delicious spin on a morning favorite. In this recipe, you swap the carbs for a savory coconut flour muffin, and replace the ham with omega 3-rich smoked salmon.

Low-Carb Dumpling Cabbage Wraps

Low carb dumpling wraps

Ditch the tortilla and wrap your dinner in a cabbage leaf. In these wraps, the meat plays a backup role to the veggies that pack each dumpling with flavor. Drippy, saucy, finger-licking deliciousness.

Keto Chopped Salad

Keto chopped salad with creamy dressing

This recipe scores high in pegan points. Avocado and olive oil deliver the healthy fats, while eggs and salmon pack in the protein over a bed of your favorite salad greens. A creamy, zesty avocado dressing brings it all together.

One-Pan Keto Crack Slaw

Colorful white plate of keto slaw with lemon wedges

Garlic, ginger and fennel give this recipe a rich flavor. Coconut oil and aminos provide quality fats, while grated veggies deliver a crunchy, fresh texture.

Crispy Keto Cauliflower Tater Tots

Plate of cauliflower tots and tomato sauce

When you’re dying for a carb fix, this one hits the spot. Almond or coconut flour keep it pegan. Find an organic source for your beef lard or tallow.

If you’re looking for more pegan meal ideas, check out our Bulletproof main dish recipes here.

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19 Self-Care Ideas to Stay Healthy and Feel Great

  • Self-care isn’t what you buy or where you go. It refers to the actions you take to support your physical, mental and emotional health.
  • Self-care is a key part of your wellness routine because it’s one way to manage stress. Left unchecked, stress can wreak havoc in more ways than one.
  • Keep reading for 19 self-care ideas that you can start today.

Contrary to what you’ll see in your Instagram feed, self-care isn’t always about lavish trips to the spa or digging into a pint of ice cream. It’s about behaviors and actions that allow you to pause and free up mental space. You might not associate self-care with your diet, but it should be part of your health and wellness routine. Here’s why making time for yourself matters, plus self-care ideas that won’t break the bank.

How self-care supports wellness

“Wellness” is a broad term that means “the state of being in good health.” That includes your physical, mental and emotional health.

The thing is, wellness is a constant balancing act.

Sometimes, you’ll do a great job in sticking to your diet and exercise routine — but you aren’t taking any time for creative work. Suddenly, your motivation suffers. Or maybe you’re working on a lot of fun projects and burning the midnight oil — so your diet and exercise routine goes bye-bye.

It happens. It’s normal. It’s life. You want to keep tabs on yourself and make sure you’re physically, mentally and emotionally well. Self-care is a part of this picture because it’s how you take action to maintain your health. That’s true whether you need something physical (like taking a walk), mental (like meditating) or emotional (like talking to a friend).

What happens when you don’t make time for self-care? Your cup runneth over. It’s like stretching a piece of string as far as it’ll go. Eventually, it’ll break — and that’s when stress takes center stage.

The problem with stress

Man holding hand over forehead

Managing stress is one of the most impactful health upgrades you can make, and that’s because stress affects your body in more ways than one. In the short-term, it can make you feel anxious, irritable or hangry. In the long-term, it can increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

That’s because stress literally causes chemical reactions in your body. Stress is a hormonal and neurological response. When you’re stressed, your body releases signals that trigger your fight-or-flight model: your blood pressure rises, your pulse quickens and your adrenal glands pump hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into your system.[1] All of these factors are designed to help your body protect itself from danger, which is great if you’re running from a bear, but not so great if you’re at work, home or school.

Your brain and body perceive any stressor as a threat, whether you’re stressed because of a big to-do list or lack of sleep. The stress response is the same. And if your stress response never comes down, it’s like flooring your car’s gas pedal — eventually, your engine overheats, you run out of gas and you don’t operate at peak performance.

Chronic stress puts you at risk of health problems like poor sleep, mood disorders and weight gain.[2] And those symptoms can exacerbate your stress even more. For instance, poor quality sleep disrupts your gut health and contributes to brain fog. Ugh.

That’s why self-care matters so much in terms of your overall wellness routine. It isn’t just a way to check out — it’s a way to give yourself space to manage your stress and allow your body to reset. When you take care of yourself, you’re taking care of your brain and body, which directly impacts how you feel.

The best part? It doesn’t take a lot to practice self-care, and there’s no one right way to do it. Here are a few ideas to get started, inspired by the routines of real Bulletproof team members. Find what makes you feel your best and brings you joy.

Ways to take care of yourself

Paper in front of window that says "mindfulness"

1. Eat balanced meals

Eating a donut might make you feel good in the short-term. But eating a nourishing meal filled with whole foods and quality fats, protein and carbs gives your mind and body fuel to handle anything life throws your way. Not sure where to start? Find out how to eat more vegetables at every meal.

2. Walk in the sunshine

Get your steps in, your blood flowing and hit your daily recommended dose of sun exposure — it’s great for your vitamin D levels.

3. Write gratitudes

Gratitude is a form of self-care because it helps you focus on the positives, not linger on the negatives — and that shift has been shown to support your mental health.[3] In a 2011 study of students who were asked to keep gratitude journals, students showed a heightened sense of meaningfulness and engagement in the classroom.[4]

4. Connect with a friend

Emotional self-care means finding ways to connect with other people in your life. Even if you have a tight schedule, schedule time to talk to friends who make you feel supported — strong social relationships are associated with stronger mental and physical health.[5]

5. Do a digital detox

If you cringe every time you hear an alert from your phone, take it as a sign technology is stressing you out. Mental self-care includes stepping away from your phone and notifications, whether it’s just for an hour (thanks, Do Not Disturb mode) or an entire weekend.

6. Take your vitamins

Your body’s systems need vitamins and minerals to do their jobs, like strengthening your immunity and supporting healthy cells. You want to get these nutrients in your diet first, but supplements come in handy when you want to ensure you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Related: Upgrade Your Energy, Optimize Your Supplements

7. Hop in the tub

Add a little epsom salt for an extra dose of magnesium sulfate, which helps relax sore muscles. Bonus points if you add essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus, which can also promote relaxation.

8. Move more often

Movement is a form of self-care you can do throughout the day. Your mind and body are connected, and the way you move affects the way you feel.[6] Walk your dog, stretch in the afternoon, take a water break every hour when you’re sitting all day — it all adds up.

9. Change your diet

Self-care includes the way you fuel your body. If you know that you have a sweet tooth, but feel lousy after eating a ton of sugar, it’s okay to experiment with different styles of eating that help you get ahead of sugar cravings, like intermittent fasting or keto.

10. Breathe

If your body’s stress response triggers everything you’d need to run away from a threat, your relaxation response signals safety. One way to get there is to build breathing exercises into your routine, whether it’s through yoga or meditative breathing. Check out these simple tips from the University of California, Berkeley.

11. Drink water

Staying hydrated isn’t the most attractive way to practice self-care, but it’s one of the most impactful — water helps your mind and body function, and it’s an easy way to make sure you’re moving throughout the day (because, y’know, you gotta pee).

12. Sleep better

Good-quality sleep is restorative, refreshing and essential, and taking steps to ensure you’re getting enough of it is a powerful way to prioritize your wellness. Learn how to start sleeping better.

13. Say no

If you’re feeling stressed because of a full plate, it’s okay to turn things down. That’s how you build and enforce boundaries to protect your mental health, personal time and physical wellness.

14. Streamline your routine

Alleviate stress on future you. Meal prep is one effective way to streamline your routine by taking the guesswork out of breakfast, lunch or dinner. Not ready to commit to meal planning? Try smaller moves, like setting your coffee maker ahead of time or setting out your clothes the night before a big day.

15. Tidy up

Clutter is correlated with higher cortisol levels, according to a 2010 study.[7] Think about it: piles of laundry on the floor is just a reminder that you need to put clothes away, and that’s just another reminder to add to your list of stressors. Yikes. Instead, take care of yourself and your space by cleaning up one room, one space, or even one surface in your home at a time.

16. Cook

Learn new skills, nourish your body and foster fun connections with others by sharing your meals, all in one go. Need inspo? Check out the delicious ideas on the Bulletproof recipes page.

17. Meditate

Meditation teaches you to be present and mindful, and it’s easy to do — even in the middle of a stressful day. Start with this guided yoga nidra meditation.

18. Exercise

Lift heavy weights. Do yoga. Run. Step away from your to-do list and do whatever form of physical activity you enjoy — your mind and body will thank you.

19. Find what works for you

Self-care looks different for everyone, and the actions you take today might be different than those you take tomorrow. What matters is that you’re taking care of yourself, advocating for your health and finding what makes you feel great. You’re being Bulletproof.

Want the ultimate guide to get more energy and feel like a new you? Get your free copy of the Bulletproof 30 Day Upgrade!

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Natural Remedies to Feel Your Best

  • From soothing detox teas, to targeted supplements, to cleaning your nasal passages with salt water, these natural remedies will help you kick-start your immune system.
  • Your grandma was right. Learn how garlic, ginger, lavender and a hot bath can soothe your body, and how vitamins help boost your body’s immune resistance.
  • Plus, get Bulletproof recommendations for supplements designed to help you feel your best all season long.

The weather changes. You traveled by plane. You lost a night of sleep. And now you’re feeling … blegh. You want to feel your best day in and day out, but sometimes, life has other plans. Fortunately, there are things you can do right now to support your immune system, fast.

Below, get the best tips to kick-start your immunity. Further down, learn the science behind why these natural remedies work.

Your feel-better-fast checklist

Here’s your quick-and-dirty guide to natural remedies that support your immune system.

See the Checklist

  • Eat garlic: To use garlic as a natural remedy, mince two cloves and let them sit for 15 minutes for the active compounds to develop. Combine with olive oil and salt, then spread on your tasty snack of choice.
  • Drink ginger tea: Ginger is soothing and warming — great for when you’re feeling a bit run down.
  • Supplement with turmeric: Turmeric is used for just about everything in Ayurvedic medicine for its immune-supporting properties. That’s thanks to curcumin, the active compound in turmeric. Don’t love the taste of turmeric, or find it hard to fit regularly into your diet? Try Bulletproof Curcumin Max — it absorbs 10 times better than standard 95% curcumin powders.
  • Pop vitamin C: There’s evidence that this old standby is important for the optimal functioning of your white blood cells.
  • Add glutathione: Glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant, strengthens the immune system and works with vitamin C. Take a glutathione supplement or get it from a high-quality whey protein.
  • Don’t forget vitamin D: Vitamin D keeps your immune system in fighting shape.
  • Take zinc: Studies have shown the importance of zinc in maintaining the activity of immune system cells. When loading up on zinc, make sure it’s paired with copper so you don’t deplete your stores.
  • Use a nasal rinse: Sounds weird, but rinsing your sinuses is a great way to keep your nasal membranes clean.
  • Take a bath: Add epsom salts, essential oils or bentonite clay to your tub to soothe an aching body. Don’t have time for a soak? Try taking a magnesium supplement.

Support your immunity with Bulletproof Detox Supplements

Eat garlic for added immunity

The scientific community needs more data on garlic’s ability to keep vampires away, but research and centuries of traditional use have solidified garlic’s abilities as a natural remedy. Raw garlic supports your immune system, so it’s great to add to your feel-better-fast toolkit.[1]

Avoid elephant garlic because it doesn’t have the same immune-supporting oomph that other varieties have. Also, get your garlic from a grocer you can trust, and check the bulbs for mold.

Here’s our recommended preparation: Smash two garlic cloves in a bowl and let them sit for a couple of minutes. This allows the active compounds to develop so you get the full benefit. Mix this with olive oil and spread on something fresh and tasty — or if you can handle it, pop a smashed clove in your mouth and eat it raw (as the tears stream down your face).

Sip ginger tea

Mug of lemon and ginger tea

Ginger contains sesquiterpenes, plant chemicals that make it a powerful natural remedy.[2] Ginger’s energizing aroma and warming effects can help ease aches, too.

Ginger is easy to add to your regimen. If you’re hardcore, peel the root, slice it thinly and eat it raw (again, queue the tears). If you want a more soothing experience, make ginger tea or peel and grate a knob of the root and add it to bone broth, another soothing elixir.

Take turmeric to feel your best

Turmeric root on plate

When you see a bright golden curry or sauce, you can guess that turmeric is a star ingredient. Historically used to treat a variety of diseases (and for its flavor), turmeric has been a staple in Eastern medicine and cuisine for thousands of years. It’s likely you’ve seen it popping up in capsules and extracts for its antioxidant activity.[3]

Reaching for turmeric when you feel blegh makes perfect sense because the active compound, curcumin, can help keep your inflammation response healthy and regulate your immune system.[4]

Your body doesn’t readily absorb curcumin without some help. That’s why Bulletproof Curcumin Max is designed to absorb 10 times better than standard curcumin 95% powders.

Try this: To get the health-supporting properties of turmeric into your diet, take a curcumin extract supplement, mix fresh or powdered turmeric into your bone broth or try this soothing turmeric latte.

Pop vitamin C

Vitamin C serum and sliced oranges

Vitamin C is a classic remedy for a reason: It supports your white blood cells, the good guys that help your immune system get rid of foreign invaders.

How much vitamin C should you take? According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily amount for adults is 65-90mg a day, and the upper limit is 2,000mg a day. When your immune system is under stress, your body will burn through much more vitamin C than it usually uses, so experiment with the dosage throughout the day and see how you feel. You’ll know when you’ve had too much — you’ll feel digestive discomfort when it’s time to scale back.

Heads up: If you have a stomach issue like acid reflux or GERD, high-dose ascorbic acid (vitamin C) might exacerbate symptoms. Ask your doctor about other forms of vitamin C, like a whole-food version or ascorbate. Some people swear by intravenous (IV) vitamin C — talk to your doctor before you try it.

Help your body make more glutathione

Dark leaves and bottle of Bulletproof Glutathione Force on white countertop

Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals — compounds that can damage your cells. Your body makes some of its own antioxidants, including a powerful one called glutathione, which detoxifies your body.[5]

Glutathione is busy when you’re under stress, acting on toxins and free radicals. However, your glutathione supply can deplete quickly.[6] Thanks, stress.

Glutathione has a hand in antioxidant defenses, too, so get a little extra juju out of your vitamin C when you take it with glutathione. Try it as a supplement, like Bulletproof Glutathione Force, or load up on foods that help your body make more glutathione, like whey protein.

Supplement with vitamin D for killer defense

Two pills and bottle of Bulletproof Vitamins ADK

Vitamin D is arguably the most important nutrient for almost everyone to supplement. Well, everyone who wears clothes and doesn’t live in the tropics. Of the bajillion benefits of vitamin D, one of them is its role in the immune system.

Vitamin D supports your cytotoxic T-cells, otherwise known as the “killer cells.” These cells hang around the body, waiting for the immune system to signal them into action. Vitamin D has a key role in the signaling between immune system cells. Just as importantly, vitamin D plays a role in the “at ease, soldiers” signal to the killer T-cells when it’s time for the immune system to calm down.[7]

Vitamin D supplements are easy to find. Bulletproof Vitamins A-D-K gives you science-backed doses of three essential vitamins in one pill. Easy.

Take zinc (with copper)

Green smoothie next to Bulletproof Zinc with Copper and orange

The typical American diet doesn’t include a whole lot of zinc-rich foods. Even if you get adequate amounts, your immune system may need more when it’s under fire. So, add zinc to your supplements stack.

Your immune function depends on an adequate supply of zinc. Of course, you can find zinc supplements everywhere, and it’s a start. But zinc and copper together (like what you’ll find in Bulletproof Zinc with Copper) form an antioxidant powerhouse called copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD). It’s one of your body’s most effective defenses, so consider it a must-have in your arsenal.

Another reason zinc and copper play better together: If you’re supplementing zinc, your body will find copper wherever it can to make CuZnSOD, which can deplete your supply if you’re low. If your zinc supplement doesn’t have any copper, up your intake of foods like dark leafy greens, cacao and organ meats.[8]

Detox with lemon honey lavender tea

Man drinking coffee

When you need a detox boost, combine lemon juice, lavender tea, coconut charcoal and raw honey to taste. The ingredients of this calming tea have amazing properties, like:

  • Lavender: Soothing and relaxing[9]
  • Lemon: Vitamin C powerhouse
  • Coconut charcoal: Binds to toxins and helps get them out of your system[10]
  • Raw honey*: Helps soothe scratchy throats[11]
*Raw honey should not be given to children under 1 year of age.

Oh, and it tastes amazing. Don’t let the black charcoal throw you — it doesn’t taste like much. The lavender and lemon steal the show here.

Use a sinus rinse

Irrigating your nasal passages sounds like an unpleasant experience, but people who do it swear by it as a head-clearing remedy. The basic premise is that rinsing your sinuses will clear out the snot and help to relieve your congestion.

Nasal irrigation comes in many forms — saline spray, neti pot and yogic basin rinses. Saline (saltwater solution) keeps the sinuses moist, making your nose feel more comfortable. You can buy saline solution for an at-home nasal rinse, or make your own.

Take a soothing detox bath

Bowl of epsom salt on wood table

Soaking your cares away in the tub makes you feel better almost instantly. While not a remedy, per se, the warm water can relax stiff muscles and joints, while the moist air opens up congested sinuses. Adding things like essential oils, epsom salts and bentonite clay can turn your plain old soak into a detox bath.

Bentonite clay

Bentonite clay is an adsorbent. That’s not a typo — adsorbents attract molecules with a positive charge. A lot of impurities have a positive charge, so bentonite clay draws the yuck to the surface of your skin, shortening the path to your pores where it can be eliminated.[12]

Epsom salts

Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate crystals found at pretty much any pharmacy or supermarket. They are super easy to use — simply add some to your bath as the water fills the tub.

When the hot water opens your pores, your skin absorbs magnesium from the epsom salts. Magnesium has calming effects, and coupled with the relaxing warmth, you’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep when you get out of the tub.[13] Your immune system fights hard while you’re sleeping, so anything you can do to get a restful night’s sleep will help your body.

Since you absorb electrolytes in an epsom salt bath, you’ll probably need to drink a little extra water after your soak. Water is essential for flushing your system, so keep your fluids up whether you tub it or not.

Essential oils

Essential oils are another fantastic addition to your bathwater. The steam from your tub diffuses the oils so you can breathe them in, and the oil moisturizes your skin. You cannot dilute essential oils in water — they will form full-strength drops at the surface. Instead, dilute a few drops in a teaspoon or so of carrier oil before adding them to the water. Of course, be careful exiting the tub so you don’t slip.

Each essential oil offers unique benefits. Eucalyptus can soothe stuffed sinuses and open up a stuffy nose, lemon boosts the immune system and lavender has a calming effect that goes great with a warm soak.

Be sure to consult your doctor if you get hit with a superbug that takes you down quickly: Some illnesses are no match for any of these remedies.

Now you have a variety of tools to use and get back in the game pronto. Want more tips to boost your immune system? Discover ashwagandha’s benefits for stress, anxiety and immunity. Or learn why CLA, a quality fat in grass-fed butter, can help you support your immunity.

How to support your immune system infographic

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The Superpowers of Magnesium and How to Choose the Best Supplement to Take

Your magnesium levels affect how every cell in your body works. You’ll feel it if you’re low in magnesium — you may have low energy, a distractible brain, muscle cramps, and more.

Even when your diet is on point, you can come up short on micronutrients like magnesium. Modern farming practices deplete the soil, so vegetables don’t have the mineral content they did a few generations ago. In fact, in the US, most adults are deficient in magnesium.[1]

In an episode of the Bulletproof Radio podcast, Matt Gallant, founder of BiOptimizers explains why they decided to develop a high-quality magnesium supplement.

Keep reading to learn why magnesium is crucial to feel like yourself, and to find out which best magnesium supplement will work best for you.

The function of magnesium in your body

Your body depends on magnesium for a lot of processes, like:

  • Maintaining healthy DNA
  • Controlling blood glucose
  • Making proteins
  • Helping your muscles work more efficiently (and not cramp up)
  • Maintaining blood pressure
  • Managing nerve cells

“We really see improvements on just about every part of the body, starting with even blood sugar. It helps move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactate which can help build up during exercise and cause pain, so you can see an exercise performance on that component. We’ve seen improvements with athletes, the elderly. We’ve seen volleyball players be able to improve their jumping and arm movement. We’ve seen athletes who were cycling and swimming improve their performance. They also had reductions in insulin and stress response. Magnesium can help with fat loss. Again, it’s not a fat loss supplement, but it can really help,” says Gallant.

So, you find yourself ready to pick up a magnesium supplement. It’s not just a matter of choosing the best brand. There are different types of magnesium that do different things in your body. Here’s how to pick.

How to choose the best magnesium supplement

If you’re ready to add a magnesium supplement to your stack, first decide what your goal is. Do you want to increase energy? Sleep better? Think more clearly? Get rid of that twitch in your eyelid? Different magnesium supplements will act on different things. You might have some trial and error to find which magnesium supplement vibes with your biology. Luckily, magnesium is usually pretty cheap to buy.

Pro tip: every time you try a new magnesium type, brand, or dose, plan to take your first few doses when you’ll be home for the next few hours. Especially when you’re figuring out your dose, you could have some digestive discomfort and extra bathroom time.

These are the types of magnesium you’ll find in stores, and what they do in your body.

I strongly recommend Bioptimizers for Magnesium

Magnesium threonate: cognition, memory, focus

Magnesium threonate readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, which means it absorbs quickly and acts fast.[2]

Research shows that it helps with learning and memory,[3][4] and may slow down age-related cognitive decline[5] In a rat study, magnesium threonate reversed Altzheimer’s disease.[6]

Magnesium threonate is so powerful that it is served at 40 Years of Zen before brain training and meditation sessions as an extra brain boost.

Magnesium chloride to address overall magnesium deficiency

In stores, you’ll see magnesium chloride “oil” that comes in a spray bottle for your skin. Thing is, magnesium oil isn’t an oil at all – it feels oily because magnesium chloride is slightly more alkaline than water. You absorb a lot of magnesium through the skin using magnesium oil sprays.

Topical magnesium spray works well if you have digestive trouble, because you might not get as much nutrition out of your food. People who have trouble maintaining mineral balance also benefit from topical magnesium. You might experience these if you have conditions that affect your minerals like insufficient stomach acid or adrenal fatigue.

If you’re low, you may notice tingling or itching after you apply the spray. Think of it as your skin and blood vessels opening up to “grab” magnesium because your body really needs it. As your magnesium levels increase, you’ll no longer itch when you spray on magnesium oil. If the itching bothers you, you can rinse your skin as soon as it dries. Most of it will have absorbed by then.

Magnesium sulfate: detox, muscle pain

Magnesium sulfate might be the easiest form of magnesium to find. You can pick up a bag of epsom salt, which is pure magnesium sulfate, in almost every grocery store or pharmacy.

Soaking in a bath with epsom salt soothes sore muscles and pulls toxins out of your pores. You don’t absorb much magnesium, but you’ll get just enough to feel the calming effect.

If you want to elevate your experience, try a sensory deprivation float tank. the water in float tanks is saturated with magnesium sulfate so that you are buoyant, and you get extra relaxation effect when you combine magnesium with sensory deprivation.

Some people take magnesium sulfate internally, but it’s easy to take too much and end up in the bathroom for a while.

Magnesium malate: energy, muscles

If you’re looking to boost energy throughout the day, magnesium malate may help. The elemental magnesium is bound to malic acid, which helps your cells produce energy.[7]

It calms overactive nerve cells, which may help with pain by relaxing tense muscles. Some fibromyalgia patients have experienced relief when taking magnesium malate.[8]

Magnesium glycinate: sleep

Magnesium glycinate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium in a capsule[9] and will raise your overall magnesium levels quickly. It is also one of the forms that is not likely to cause digestive trouble. With magnesium glycinate, magnesium is bound to glycine, an amino acid with a calming effect that improves your sleep quality.[10]

Magnesium oxide to stay regular

If you’re not pooping every day, taking small doses of magnesium oxide a few times a day can help keep things moving while providing magnesium that your body needs anyway. On the flipside, you’re making enough (or too many) bathroom trips, it’s probably a good idea to pick a different form of magnesium.

One more time for emphasis: take small doses. This one is most likely to cause bathroom trouble, but for the same reasons, it’s super effective for constipation. Experiment at home.

Even though you feel its effects, you don’t absorb much magnesium oxide[11] because you end up flushing a lot of it — literally.[12] You can take other forms of magnesium to boost your levels.

Magnesium citrate: sleep and calm

Magnesium citrate has a calming effect, which makes it a great supplement to take at night. This is also the form to reach for if you want to address muscle cramps and twitches.[13]

You absorb more magnesium from magnesium citrate than magnesium oxide,[14] but you still risk going overboard and having bathroom trouble. Use a small dose at first, and work up until you find your ideal dose.

Some people experience anxiety or racing heart when starting magnesium. If that’s the case, stop taking it and make an appointment with a functional medicine doctor to test your mineral levels and get back into balance.

You may need to do some experimenting, but magnesium is inexpensive, so experimenting won’t break the bank. Soon, you’ll find the form that’s right for you.

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This 2,500 Year Old Technique is the Secret Behind Super Human Memory

Today we welcome guest author Jonathan Levi, bestselling author, keynote speaker, and thought leader on the topics of accelerated learning, memory, and online education. He is the founder of SuperHuman Academy®, whose popular online courses and award-winning podcast are enjoyed by over 250,000 people in all 205 countries and territories. He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, with his wife, Limmor.

This 2,500 Year Old Technique is the Secret Behind Super Human Memory

by Jonathan Levi

 

Imagine, for a moment, that there were a simple technique out there that could dramatically improve your memory. I’m not talking about an improvement of 100%, 200%, or even 300%. I’m talking about allowing you to remember anywhere between 10-100x more information.

Now imagine, if you will, that this simple technique – discovered in 477 B.C. by Simonides of Ceos, was the secret behind every one of the world records in memory. From memorizing hundreds of random digits, to the names and faces of 100+ people in minutes, to speeches, foreign language words and more. In fact, imagine that simply by using this technique, you could literally rewire the way your brain works – permanently.

What would a technique like that be worth to you?

Good news – this technique isn’t myth, or even urban legend, but a real technique that absolutely anyone can learn in minutes.

I’m talking, of course, about The Memory Palace.

How Anyone Can Transform Their Brain To Look Like A Memory Champion’s

Though you may have heard of The Memory Palace (or “the method of loci”), most people have never created one – much less turned it into a habit. And yet, memory palaces are, without a doubt, the single most powerful thing you can do to enhance your memory. (In my latest book, I refer to them as “the mnemonic nuclear option,” a bit like dropping a nuke on a schoolyard bully). Researchers have actually proven that this technique reshapes neural networks to support superior memory.[1]

They’ve even discovered that these changes are long-lasting… and that anyone can use them to transform their brain into that of a memory champion.[2] In other words, unlike the Olympic games, the only differences between you and Memory Games champions are technique and practice.

How is this even possible?

How (And Why) The Memory Palace Actually Works

Though memory research is a young field, researchers have uncovered quite a bit about how our brains store information. As with the rest of our bodies, our brains have evolved over millions of years to increase our odds of survival. This is why certain senses – like smell, taste, and sight – are significantly more memorable to us than others. No surprises there.

But what most people don’t realize is how well our brains remember locations. Though some of us can get lost on our way home every day, none of us will forget the layout of our childhood homes – or any other place we’ve lived, for that matter. You see, though we don’t even notice it, our brains are constantly evaluating and remembering our surroundings.

The reasons for this are simple. If you’re a paleolithic cave man or cave woman, your survival depends on your ability to find your way around. You must remember the way back to the watering hole, the buried winter food supply, and the cave. To make this possible, our brains produce a unique neurochemical mix anytime we so much as think about location. This connection is so powerful, in fact, that researchers now believe that location is an absolutely essential part of memory[3] as a whole.

This is more good news for you – because it means that you have hundreds of memory palaces lying dormant in your head, waiting to be filled.

How To Create Your Very Own Memory Palace, In 3 Easy Steps

Binaural Beats Are the Playlists That Will Make You Smarter and Help You Sleep Better_Using binaural beats for focusThe idea behind The Memory Palace technique is very simple. First, choose a location that is familiar to you. This can be a past or current home, an office, a friend’s place, or even a store you frequent. I suggest choosing the location based on how much information you wish to remember. After all, you wouldn’t want to waste a 5-story office building to memorize the 45 U.S. presidents or the NATO Phonetic alphabet.

Once you have your location picked out, decide on a “path” that you are going to take as you walk through it. I recommend starting at the entrance and walking along the “perimeter” of the building, tracing along the walls either clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Trace the path that you’d use to go into each room, and make sure that you never cross your own path. This is less important if you’re going to be memorizing non-sequential information, such as foreign language vocabulary. It’s absolutely essential for things like speeches, decks of cards, and so on.

If your information is non-sequential, decide how you’ll break it up into groups, and which rooms in the palace will correspond to those groups. (You can do this in your head, or by sketching out a floor plan on a piece of paper, if it’s easier).

With your memory palace set up, it’s time to get visual. Create a novel, bizarre, and creative mental image for the first piece of information you want to remember. In the SuperLearner® methodology, we call these “markers,” and they’re the building block of all the mnemonic techniques we use. To make your markers extra-memorable, you’ll want to combine elements of your existing memories in ways that are particularly strange – even violent or sexual.

Imagine, for example, I wanted to learn the Spanish word for “stove” (estufa). I might visualize actress Gloria Estefan sitting on my kitchen stove and shrieking in pain as her backend sizzles. This image is great because it combines my own existing knowledge of Gloria Estefan with the location of the stove in my home – in a way that will be hard for most people to forget. Once I can “see” that particularly bizarre image in my mind’s eye, my work is done. I can now move on to my next location, whether that’s the corner of a bed, a painting on the wall, a window sill, or a bookshelf, and place another marker there.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “how do I come up with these visual markers?” Of course, there are different techniques for different types of information. For strings of numbers, you would use a system like The Major Method[4] – or a much more complex system if you were looking to compete. For things like names, speeches, bible verses, and so on, you can get creative. “Mary” becomes a visualization of the Virgin Mary. Ray becomes a Manta Ray. You get the idea. Markers are highly individual, because the best ones integrate your own pre-existing memories. But don’t worry, the actual contents of your markers don’t matter so much as the fact that you create them.

Once you’ve stocked your memory palace full of visualizations, you’re done! All you need to do is periodically drop in for a visit and review it to prevent your brain from forgetting it. Realistically, though, it doesn’t take much. I’ve had people approach me at events and tell me about that “annoyingly sticky” memory palace I had them memorize 5 years ago – and how it still lingers on in their mind.

Now You Try It

As any coach worth their salt will tell you, the information above is not enough to create a transformation. After all, you can’t learn how to swim in a library. So if you actually want to reap the benefits of the Memory Palace, you’re going to have to try it out for yourself.

Perhaps you already know exactly what you’d like to memorize. Hey, that’s great! Go do it, and let me know how it goes. But for those of you who are scratching your heads on where to begin, here are some of my favorite “beginner” memory palaces that always come in handy:

So there you have it! With time and a little practice, you can easily learn to do truly superhuman feats of memory. From learning 50 digits backwards and forwards in minutes, to memorizing a shuffled deck of cards, and much, much more.

And once you do, your brain will radically and permanently change for the better.

What do you think? Is this technique worth investing a few minutes a day to practice? I’d love to hear what types of things you plan to memorize with it.

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Awakening Your Creative Genius, with Steve Aoki

Chances are, you know at least one artistic type who is a virtual idea factory. New and fresh works seem to materialize out of nowhere, day in and day out.

Now, picture that person’s creative mind times a million, and you have the level of genius that makes a two-time Grammy-nominee, electronic musician, DJ, filmmaker, music executive, and founder of a record label, events company, and clothing line.

Yes, I’m still talking about one person — Steve Aoki is one of today’s most successful and prolific American artists. He has 1.5 billion music streams on Spotify, and he has helped put some of the world’s most beloved entertainers on the map, like The Chainsmokers and The Kills, among others.

I had the pleasure of talking with Steve on an episode of the Bulletproof Radio podcast to talk about how he supercharges his creativity, especially after so many years, so many beats, so many melodies. I think everyone wants just a sliver of his endless source of imaginative power, and he shared with me some of the tactics he uses to get in the zone and stay there for the long haul.

Keep reading to understand where Steve Aoki’s innovation and inspiration comes from, and take steps to unlock your own creativity.

Create, then create more

Quantity creates quality. Aoki believes that his career became what it is today because he produced so much over the early stages. And, he hasn’t slowed down.

“The way my career has grown is from doing a lot and then sharpening. It’s like sharpening your sword. The more you use it, the more you just get better at it. And then one of those strikes is going to really shake the world up,” says Aoki. “Some artists can get it on that one try. For me, it takes about maybe 10.”

If you want to find your stroke of genius, keep producing. It will come.

Use old creations in a new way

The old adage says, “there’s nothing new under the sun.” Artists build upon each others’ works all the time. Aoki describes this in the context of melodies, for example.

“Music is an interesting thing because everyone’s done the same melodies. The same melodies have been rehashed a million times. It’s like wearing the same pair of pants, everyone’s worn those pants. You just have to acid wash them differently or paint them differently,” explains Aoki. “It’s just how you wear, how you present it out to the world that makes it a little different.”

There’s a difference between inspiration and plagiarism, so don’t go stealing things you like and claiming they’re yours. The key is to breathe new life into your art and make it your own.

Ignore the opinions of others

The best way to paralyze yourself is to worry too much about what others will think. Worrying about what others will think is the root of imposter syndrome, and there’s no place for that in creative work.

“I can’t think about what other people’s opinions are. That fucks up your whole flow,” says Aoki.

To keep your creative flow going, you have to produce works that tug at your own heart. Make your own emotional connections with your creations, and trust that your audience gets you.

Trust that you will connect with others

Because Aoki has played for so many different audiences around the globe for 15 years, he has developed an innate sense of what will resonate with different audiences.

“I have trust in that gut process of not only what it means to me emotionally, but how I feel it’ll connect with people outside the room. From my informed experience from traveling around the world, I get the best litmus test of playing in front of so many people, so many countries, so many different backgrounds — cultural backgrounds, and languages, country, whatever it might be — and that ultimately, helps my decisions without me even thinking about that,” says Aoki.

If you’re just starting out and you haven’t connected with a broad range of audiences yet, keep in mind that there are 7.5 billion people in the world. Without a doubt, your work will reach someone.

Self-awareness leads to self-development

“When you are self-aware and self-critical, then you know that you have areas that have inadequacies and you need help with, or you need that support,” says Aoki. “Even if I’m still in the studio for so many hours, I still try to bring myself down to that student level. And always listen first, hear a different experience, a different approach.”

He goes on to explain that collaboration provides new opportunities to learn. If you’re working with someone new and you listen first and open yourself to learning, you’ll get better and better at your craft every day.

Be adaptable

flow state for productivity and happiness_Create your own flow stateRigidity and hard-headedness are the quickest ways to make your creativity go stale. When you’re diving into creative work, being adaptable and flexible makes you more open and receptive to new ideas and fresh ways of looking at things.

“Like what Bruce Lee says, ‘Be like water.’ Just be kind of flowing,” says Aoki.

He also prioritizes hospitality and a homelike vibe in his studio to make others feel comfortable. That way, everyone can feel open and creativity can flow. “I care more about you being here and your feelings and I want to make you feel special. So, if I can give that to you first, then you’re going to be more willing to open up.”

Rituals to feel at home, no matter where you are

Aoki likes rituals so that he feels at home and centered while he’s on the road. Since he does 250 shows a year, it’s important to feel at home wherever you are. “That’s a really important just mindset that I need to have. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to be home, three more days and I’ll be home.’ When I’m on the road, I change my whole way of living. This is my home now. I am comfortable, and I am at peace,” he says.

As much as possible, he keeps his workouts, meditation, health regimen, and other crucial aspects of his home life on the road with him. That way, he can feel centered and ready to create, ready to perform when the time is right.

Make art a habit, and get uncomfortable with it

flow state for productivity and happiness_Greater creativityAs a prolific producer, Aoki makes music every day. He started making it a daily priority, and after a short time, it became as basic as brushing his teeth. “It just gets ingrained in you and it’s not this drudgery or this chore,” he says.

He would then challenge himself to dig into his creative works in less-than-ideal environments, so that he could train his brain to access the imaginative and innovative parts of his brain when he was distracted by discomfort. Then, when you do have ideal conditions, ideas will flow more freely than ever.

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Two Effective Practices for Sharing Your Sexual Desires With Your Partner

Today we welcome guest author Layla Martin, founder of the Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality. Through her VITA™ Method, Layla teaches people how to have a more fulfilling sex life through by experiencing heightened senses and more connected and powerful love. You can listen to her interview on the Bulletproof Radio podcast here.

 

Two Effective Practices for Sharing Your Sexual Desires With Your Partner

by Layla Martin

Over the course of my career as a Tantra and sexuality teacher, I’ve worked with thousands of couples and seen a few recurring themes over and over again, that generally people:

  • Crave an interesting, exciting and passionate sex life
  • Want to experience deeper intimacy with their partner
  • And want to grow together sexually over the course of many years

…but most find it challenging or stressful to have the kind of discussions around your sex life that could make that a reality.

In this article, I’ll walk you through my two most potent practices that allow you to share your sexual desires with your partner… completely shame- and judgment-free.

Because sharing desires can be scary…

But it’s also a huge key to a sexually satisfying relationship that continues to evolve even after many years together.

If you don’t grow together sexually, the relationship goes stale

And for all of the amazing research happening around sexuality, we still don’t know exactly how to keep sex magnificent and, well… sexy, over the long haul.

This is likely because no matter how many research electrodes you strap to a human to understand their sexual behaviors: sex is more art than science.

And like any good artist, producing great art requires trying new things, being experimental and exploring unknown edges.

Having an interesting sex life requires exploration

But most couples are terrified of sharing the new things they’d like to try sexually.

Why the deep terror?

For myself, I often worry that my partner Andrew will judge me. I like doing things like genital worship because I skew more energetic and spiritual. Can I really ask him to feel his penis as a giant pillar of energy when he makes love to me? (Spoiler alert: yes.)

Before I told him that’s what I desired, I got all kinds of thoughts in my head: “What if he says no? What if he says yes and then I actually have to go through with it? What if he shames me?”

Andrew on the other hand has expressed a desire to be able to have more quickies and to feel more free to be primal and wild. Before he expressed this to me, he was worried that I’d be hurt or angry, or that saying that would start a huge fight. (Spoiler alert: sometimes it did, but it was worth it ;))

But since we’ve made it a regular practice to express our sexual desires and to make it safe for us to do so with each other in the tools I’ll be sharing below, we’ve had more quickies, more primal sex and, yes, Andrew did make love to me with a lightsaber penis of spiritual power…

And yes, it was truly awesome.

Express your desires without judgment or shame

So while expressing your sexual desires can be rocky territory, the benefits of sharing are immense. It’s important to remember that just because your partner desires something doesn’t mean the two of you ever have to do it.

You can always say no or maybe. Maybe is a great option.

But wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing to be able to express your desires in a shame-free, judgment-free zone as a couple and then figure out what desires you want to fulfill together… And which ones you don’t?

Easier said than done.

So below I’m going to share with you the two practices that Andrew and I have successfully used for years to cultivate shamelessness and non-judgment in sharing our sexual desires.

Sharing Sexual Desires: Practice #1: Expressing Fears, Desires & Loves

Time Investment: 6 – 15 minutes

Why this practice works: Structured sharing allows you to create a safe and intimate space to openly speak about your fears and what you desire.

If you are afraid of being judged or rejected, it can be super helpful to share that with your partner (as you are guided to do in these exercises). Then, you are prompted to share what you love about each other, which creates a safe landing space afterwards.

How: In this practice, you’re invited to share in a structured and transparent way with your partner, using these three different question prompts:

  1. What are you afraid of?
  2. What do you desire?
  3. What do you love about me?

I recommend that beginners allow 2 minutes for each question and ideally set a timer for each one. Sitting across from each other, Partner A asks the first question and Partner B responds. In this case, Partner A will ask Partner B, “What are you afraid of?”

Partner B will respond genuinely and share over and over again what they are afraid of – both sharing their desires but also any fears about their sex life. Partner B may say something like, “I’m afraid you will say ‘no’ to what I’m asking and I’m afraid that since we haven’t had sex for three weeks that you don’t desire me anymore.”

Partner A doesn’t coach, fix, interrupt or change the question, no matter what Partner B says. If Partner B pauses or stops, Partner A says, “Thank you,” and then repeats the same question, “What are you afraid of?” After the time is up, they switch and Partner B will now ask Partner A, “What are you afraid of?” following the exact same format.

In this way, you move through the questions, first asking one another, “What are you afraid of?” and then moving on to, “What do you desire?” and finally, “What do you love about me?”

If you’d like more clarity and a demonstration of the process and dialogue, you can watch a guided video that takes you through this practice step-by-step here.

Helpful pointers to express fears, desires and loves:

  • When your partner is sharing, make an effort to stay present with them and listen actively without judgment.
  • Over time, the idea is to go deeper with being honest and holding a safe space for your partner to express any fears or desires. This creates deep safety over time, which creates trust, which creates love.
  • Also, if you have a bombshell you’ve been holding onto for years, don’t drop it in the first sharing. First, do the process a few times to build up a sense of safety, increase the depth of intimacy and build a solid container of communication and trust.
  • Don’t start a fight with your partner during this process.
  • Don’t roll your eyes or laugh inappropriately at your partner.
  • Sometimes it can feel intense to hear about a desire that your partner has. So if you get triggered, take a lot of deep breaths and wait to address it until you feel calm and grounded again outside of the sharing. Remember: you never have to do anything you aren’t a full “hell yes” to!

After the exercise, you can discuss what was shared and how you feel about it. Have a loving conversation about what you might want to explore together and/or if you have any boundaries. If possible, you can even schedule this as a once-weekly appointment between the two of you. I’ve noticed that when Andrew and I do this, our sex life gets better and better.

Sharing Sexual Desires: Practice #2: Intention + Recap

Time Investment: 2 – 5 minutes

Why: To create a clear intention for your sexual experiences together (including whether you want to explore any new desires) and integrate and reflect to build greater trust and clarity around what you desire.

How:

  • Set an intention. Before you have sex, take 1 – 3 minutes to discuss a shared intention together.

Do you want to try something new? Do you want to explore a fantasy? Do you have a shared emotional desire? Taking time to set an intention allows you to be on the same page about exploring each other’s desires in a structured way.

Let’s say one of you has been wanting to explore a fantasy. You’ll be able to drop in a lot more if you decide to do it together in an intentional way before sex. Once you’re clear on your intention, you can start to connect intimately like usual.

  • Recap. This is done after a sexual interaction. Take 1 – 3 minutes to reflect on what you experienced, how you felt, what you loved, what you want to explore more of and if you desire anything different in the future.

While this might not sound that sexy, what Andrew and I have discovered is it clearly shows both of us what we’re actually experiencing during sex. Did he love that? Did I orgasm? Does he want to try more of that? Was I not into that ear thing?

Again, you want to be super compassionate with your partner and focus on being supportive and making them feel safe, rather than criticizing or focusing on what you didn’t like.

Over time, the recaps become an easy, fun way to reflect on your sexuality and review what you love and don’t love!

If you love these practices and want to try more, you can sign up at www.laylamartin.com for my weekly video series and feel free to email me through the website if you have any questions!

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