Stating that there is one way to do something says a few things about you. In no particular order, if you are claiming any belief, process, modality, or athlete (LeBron) to be the greatest, you are either: 1) narrow-minded, therefore dull and need to understand you’re not an asset at any functions with friends and family; 2) victim to the opinion of others (i.e. mom/dad, news/media, etc) forgetting to think and rationalize for yourself; 3) aren’t diving into new, uncomfortable experiences, and 4) forget how good MJ (and Magic and Larry) was/were.
I think that’s an important point(s) to make because I’m about to advocate for some things pretty damn hard. Like, hard-hard.
Recently on a podcast—and then in the corelative book from that same podcast guest, because I’m a dork like that—I came across some science that resonated with me. It is new information, and newer science, but it is coming from a man and medical professional who prefaces everything he asserts and suggests with a full spectrum, open purview of medicine. Dr. Steven Gundry, renowned Cardiologist, uses and references his foundation of Western Medicine, even acknowledging his specialized, reductionist background, and then expands upon it. If there is anyone who should shy away from the assertions he makes (I’ll get to them, I swear), it should be Dr. Gundry himself. But, and this is the point I’ve been trying (failing) to make, he did not ignore or reject what he saw and experienced in medicine just because it went against medical standard, against what he had been taught. He continued to evolve, and question, and challenge, and he brought to light some pretty transformative, applicable new ways to regain our individual and collective health!
(I typically make fun of people who use exclamation points. It’s something I’ve always done. But no more. I need to change, too)
I say all that, before just getting straight to my recap/review of this podcast and book, because that way of thinking, that penchant to challenge and jump into what is unfamiliar, has been as important to my progress as anything physical I’ve ever done. Without it—an open, receptive state—the progress I’ve made, as it relates to running, weight loss, health, hair regrowth (respect that), most likely do not occur. Fixed thinking wouldn’t have let me think a 230 lb dude could run a 6:52 mile, for 26 miles—open, fluid thinking, does; it empowers me to try new things and to keep improving, maybe one day becoming the greatest of all time, like Larry Bird.
My 5 Main Takeaways:
“My” was emphasized in that sub-title above because the information (bullets) to follow are what have been most impactful for me, in my life and my pursuit of Boston. In both the podcast and book referenced, tons of information exists that could be catalyzing for anyone. Regardless of your personal goals, or direction (weight loss, better sleep, more energy, feel better, Insta-famous, etc), there is pervasive information that can be applied most optimally to you and to where you are at. The 5 things I’ve chosen to highlight are what are best for me as a guy trying to become a better endurance athlete and/or perform one arm, mobile evening movements with his girlfriend.
- Love your “gut buddies”:
- This is subject matter that could go on for deep (urban slang, a type of way you can’t speak without thick hair, hence the aforementioned commitment to hair regrowth), but I’ll just hit it concisely. Your gut and your brain are connected. In fact, there are more neurons in your gut—and corresponding intestines—than anywhere else in your body. This means that not only does the food we ingest shape the way we look (lean/fat/both), more importantly, it shapes the way we feel. Brain and gut are the most vital connection we have in our bodies as it relates to our energy and comprehensive health. I know that’s a big statement. So I’ll make it again: brain and gut are the most vital connection we have in our bodies as it relates to our energy and comprehensive health. Strengthen this connection by reducing your consumption of inflammatory, processed foods. Eat less (shitty) bread, avoid dairy (free range eggs are cool), and be careful about over doing it with fruit (really should just lock in on blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries).
- “Gut buddies”: your microbiome; the active bacteria in your gut. These guys are vital to your health and they are how we get to reduced inflammation and the reduction of autoimmune diseases.
- Eating windows:
- This was broken down to me very simply and very palatably (see what I did there): the food we eat needs to be digested; it takes bodily energy to digest that food; eating bad, aggressive amounts of food drains our energy; eating all the time drains our energy even more; eating right before bed f*cks up your world.
- I limit my eating window to 8 hours, meaning, if my first meal was ingested at 10:00 AM, my last bite will be taken at 6:00 PM. This gives me at minimum three hours of digestion before sleep, so all/most of my bodily energy can work towards restorative, deep, REM sleep.
- Synopsis: when you eat bad, processed foods, and you eat throughout the day/night, you are taxing your body, thusly sapping your energy and vitality for most all other functions.
- Probiotics get all the attention and are what you most likely know about. And that’s ok; probiotics are a vital part of your microbiome and I remember the Erin Andrews probiotic supplement ads, too. But probiotics are only a certain part of your gut bacteria. Prebiotics are the food, most specifically the healthy fiber, that ALL of your gut buddies need to eat. When you give the bacteria in your gut good, digestible food (i.e. soluble fiber), they’re pretty pumped about it. They’re pumped, and then they process this food, producing postbiotics. As noted earlier, your gut and brain communicate. Quality postbiotics, by way of prebiotic fuel, whisper all the sweet, dirty talk to the brain. This is how you feel good, and happy, and why you want to take on the day… Don’t ghost your brain, mix in some prebiotics.
- Take with coffee, tea, or smoothie.
- Junk light:
- Blue light has firmly assumed its role as the sleep villain. This is a very appropriate casting. Without getting into the weeds, blue light tells your brain and nervous system—still wired the same way it was when we evolved to walk the earth without electricity—that the sun is up, therefor you should be partying (or trying to kill a deer with a rock). The more we access our phones and devices and even our regular home lighting, when the sun has gone down, the more our natural bodily systems will act as if it is daytime. Sleep will evade you. Sunnie bought me some blue-light blocking glasses, and I wear them after 7:00 PM until I put my head on the pillow. I wear them because it has been a night and day (again, see what I did there) change as it relates the ease in which I fall asleep; and because me looking like a learned accountant/professor makes her feel some type of way.
- Stress Response
- Acute stress and the bodily response is a great thing. It’s why we can handle pressure, big moments, and it is what makes us capable in situations where we need to be. When stress becomes chronic, though, or something that lingers and induces a stress reaction, the healing properties of our brain/body go limp. If stress is left unchecked, our energy will plummet. Developing specific stress responses is a way to keep stress in the short term. All my stresses are actions to be done without a phone or device. If you think you respond best to stress by anything done on your phone, you are wrong, and you probably think Jake Paul is a pretty cool guy.
- Mindful walks, meals with the lady (eating on the floor, no TV, maybe John Mayer on the Sonos), reading fiction, guided meditation, and running (without music or podcasts) are my responses to stress.