Many of us aspire to live a long, healthy and happy life. However, the big question remains how to make this your reality.
In many ways, it has slowly become somewhat challenging to enjoy a wholesome, active and healthy life thanks to our tight day-to-day routines. For instance, today, a work out is time-consuming. Not to mention Gym memberships have become expensive.
However, before you panic, what if there’s a way to lead a higher-energy yet healthier lifestyle without the resentment and the frustration?
What Is Biohacking?
Did you know that you can consciously control your external environment to boost your overall physical and mental performance?
Biohacking involves monitoring what you eat, drink, hear, smell, touch, and see.
You can transform your body by biohacking yourself. Moreover, this can help you become more productive, feel more energised, and overall, create your optimal self. Who wouldn’t want that!
Types of Biohacking
Usually, there are three categories of bio-hacking: do-it-yourself biology, grinder biohacking, and nutrigenomics.
– DIYBio (Do-it-yourself biology): This is a subculture of individuals who study life sciences and carry out biological experiments beyond the conventional means. This movement began in the early 2000s. Most “teachers” crusader for this kind of biohacking are scientific researchers and formal educators whose main aim is to show regular people how to carry out experiments. Though interesting, this type of biohacking focuses more on the study and experimentation of unproven science and often is criticised for not having an official oversight.
– Grinder biohacking: A subset of DIYBio which introduces the use of cybernetic devices or introducing chemicals to the body to change its functionality. Grinders make efforts to test the limits of the human body and technology to their limits. They practice body modification to enhance the performance of their “hardware.” typically, these techniques are hazardous. So exercise caution as you decide to use them.
– Nutrigenomics: This type of biohacking is about building on the construct that our bodies are continually changing. Moreover, these discoveries are being used to help lead a better. Food, exercises and various stimuli can improve your body’s functionality, and nutrigenomics pertains the study of how the interactions work.
So, if this seems intriguing to you and you’d like to give it a go, here’s are some ways to get you started.
8 Ways to Biohack Yourself Today
1. Do away with Sugars
This does not mean you need to avoid naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in dairy and fruits. Instead, it’s the added sugars that you should worry about. These are often found in products such as sweets, soft drinks, and processed foods. Also, others are found in foods like flavoured yoghurt, energy drinks and condiments (check that ketchup or barbecue sauce label!).
Are sugars bad for the body? Sugars lead to mood swings, increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, lower your energy levels and increase inflammation in the body— and these are a few effects that sugars have! How then can you reduce your added-sugars intake? Learn ways of measuring sugar, limit your intake of processed foods, and read labels to identify all its forms (hint: natural sweeteners such as molasses, honey, fruit juices and anything that ends in “one” still counts).
2. Eliminate inflammatory foods
If you suspect that specific foods you often consume are causing you trouble, be it headaches, bloating, acne or anything that’s unpleasant. Then, it’s may be time to hack yourself using an elimination diet.
It may sound scary, but this is merely eliminating specific food items from your diet to help figure out whether they play a role in any of the issues you’re experiencing. How this works: for about four weeks, you’ll omit foods identified as allergens and see if you notice any relief from the discomforts you may be having. Soy, gluten, peanuts, dairy, and corn are some foods to omit from your diet during this time.
Then, slowly, re-introduce the omitted foods, taking note of the physical responses on your body and how you feel. Moreover, when you suspect a given food you’ve re-introduced into your meals is an irritant, omit it again to see whether the symptoms clear up. The idea here is that you identify if you are less tolerant of specific. Also, from this, you can make an informed choice of what you eat.
3. Try Fasting
Did you know that you can hack your body by practising time-restricted eating? As a weight loss technique, intermittent fasting has gained much popularity. It helps to normalise insulin sensitivity which helps prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes. This also helps regulate ghrelin levels, usually known as the hunger hormone, that signals your brain whenever you’re hungry, and leptin, that tells your mind that you are full.
The best thing about fasting is that you’ll have numerous ways to do it. There are those who go for the alternate-day fasting, meaning you limit your calorie intake to 25% of your regular consumption during your fasting days. Also, on the non-fasting days, you can consume your normal calorie portion.
There’s also the time-restricted eating, whereby you only eat during a specific period during the day (hint: if you take late breakfast and tend to eat dinner early, you already are doing this!). Then there’s the spiritual approach to fasting. Though it might take you a while to get used to intermittent fasting, it might be an excellent option to hack yourself.
4. Eat Lots Of Fat
Are you in search of a diet that requires you to eat much fat? Then the keto diet could be just the thing for you! Though the keto diet is somewhat popular right now, it’s may not be a fad diet. For the keto diet to work, you will need to get your body in a metabolic state where it mostly uses ketones (ketosis) for energy and not carbohydrates. This occurs when fat provides most of the calories for your body and not glucose (sugars). This state can be induced by practising multiple-day fasting, but for most people, this isn’t a long-term option.
For this diet, you’ll instead consume keno-friendly foods such as healthy fats ( ghee, coconut oil, nuts) and severely limit carbs and sugar intake. You’ll eat non-starchy veggies (there go the potatoes) and diets high in protein that have low or no carbs, such as egg, grass-fed beef, and wild-caught fish.
The keto diet can be beneficial in promoting weight loss, mainly if you are overweight. Heart disease markers such as high cholesterol can be reduced using this diet and might even help fight brain disease — in fact, originally the keto diet was used in managing seizures in individuals with epilepsy. However, for those who would like to challenge themselves further, going keto may be what you need.
5. Hack Your Sleep Schedule
There’s only step in hacking your sleep: get more sleep! Some suggestions for this to work is following a daily sleep schedule, even during the weekends. This is aimed at maintaining your circadian rhythms.
By hacking your sleep process, it will be possible to take less time to fall asleep faster and enhance the quality of sleep you get each night. Some suggestions are keeping your room dark and fresh – 18 to 20°C (use a sleep mask or have blackout curtains). Disconnect from Wi-Fi and switch off all electronics about an hour before going to bed. Also, set your mobile devices to flight mode.
It’s also essential to keep electronics out of your bed; lights from smartphones will interfere with sleep pattern. So if you’re having a tough time with insomnia, consider using a DIY essential oil sleep aid to hack your sleep.
6. Hack your Brain
The ultimate hack for our brains is meditation. The benefits derived from contemplation are huge: starting with increasing the quality of sleep and reducing pain to decreasing inflammation and increasing productivity. For someone suffering from anxiety or stress, reflection might prove to be very useful to deal with the symptoms naturally. So one of the best thing you can do for your physical and mental well-being is to establish a daily meditation practice.
Moreover, if you cannot stop your brain from buzzing to allow for meditation, don’t worry there’s a solution for that too. A guided meditation will help you slow down your brain activities. Also, there are numerous smartphone apps you might use for this; some may be used to alert you daily at the same time or get specific meditations to help with different needs such as helping you relax and unwind. Also, healing prayer might be another option you might consider as well.
7. Simply Stand Up More
Today, many people spend their days shifting between sitting in their cars and sitting some more at a desk. It’s incredible to note the amount of time in our lives we spend seated. With all that sitting, our health is paying the price, and this could even be as risky as smoking.
Luckily, there’s a quick fix for that: stand more. Sounds easy, right? It may not require you to spend on a standing desk (it is helpful!). However, instead, it’s all about how often you stand and not the time we spend standing. Also, that’s what matters here. To help hack your health — merely start by opting for the stairs instead of the elevator, walking up to your colleagues instead of send an email; during phone calls choose to stand up and pace around or even set a reminder every 60 to 90 minutes on your phone for taking a quick lap around your office.
8. Walking Barefoot as a Biohack
When was the last time you walked barefoot feeling the grass or the sand between your toes? It may be time to consider grounding as your next hack.
Also known as earthing, grounding means letting your feet come in contact with the surface below them giving you the powerful energy this brings. By walking barefoot, we allow the naturally occurring electrical charges produced from the earth to flow through our feet. Some benefits of grounding are improved sleep, reduction of inflammation. Also, this lets you enjoy nature more and have your fair share of vitamin D — what’s more, it’s free!
Start by strolling on the beach barefoot or taking short walks or kicking your shoes off when barbecuing. So to help keep your feet in close contact with the earth in colder weather, minimalist shoes will do the trick.
Most biohacking experts encourage people to fight against the natural “domestication” and, opt to drink better water, spend more time outdoors, consume less processed foods, get exposure to sunlight and learn to enjoy the outdoors. To get the most using these methods, you could consider doing your yoga practice in the backyard — where you’ll also benefit from being under the sun.
Final Thoughts on Biohacking
Biohacking involves making lifestyle changes as a way to optimise how your body works. You don’t have to use fancy devices to hack yourself; instead, it’s about seeking natural ways to change how you feel.
Biohacks include using strategies such as trying out intermittent fasting or the elimination diet, getting more sleep and standing up more throughout the day.
This can be a fun way to identify what your body can tolerate and ways of keeping it at its best. This might feel addictive, especially if you’ve been having challenges with health concerns and now you finally are getting answers. Even then, it is essential to keep in mind that we’re more than the number of calories we burn or consume each day.