February 20, 2018
Since releasing last week's controversial but curiosity-inducing Down The Rabbit Hole With Ben Greenfield video, I've received plenty of questions about my odd, far-from-orthodox daily routines for enhancing my own health, performance, and longevity.
So I figured I'd clarify everything for you in one big, mighty post that explains the majority of my quirky habits, tips, tricks, tools, devices, and strategies squeezed into my top ten tips to increase your longevity.
Finally, should you be wondering “why?” one would suck down 800 calories of mushrooms and bone broth from a blender, hang upside down in one's dining room, push laser-light probes up one's nose and fiddle with all manner of seemingly “non-ancestral” biohacks that you'd rarely see in more traditional, natural longevity hotspot blue zones such as Okinawa, the Italian island of Sardinia, Costa Rica's isolated Nicoya Peninsula or Ikaria (an isolated Greek island)…
…my answer is three-fold:
1) You and I are fighting an uphill battle against a toxic, electrified, polluted, stressful, modern, post-industrial era and sometimes if you want to look, feel and perform as good as possible it does indeed require you to pull out some modern better-living-by-science stops that may not have been necessary in more ancient, clean, pristine, less-toxic times. From airline travel to X-rays to a cacophony of smartphones to cell towers, glyphosate and beyond (just read this to see what I mean), your only two options are to move to some quiet neck of the universe where you can be isolated and live a peaceful hunter-gatherer-gardener life or to (as I have) choose to live life as a modern citizen – albeit a modern citizen who sneaks home at night to snort anti-aging molecules and shine infrared lights on my gonads.
2) This stuff makes life convenient. Sure, I can fly to Colorado or move to a mountaintop to train for a week, take a two hour break from work to go get my 12pm-2pm vitamin D sunshine fix and go hunt down a natural hot springs mineral bath in the hills far beyond my home, but when time is tight and I need shortcuts or more hours available for friends, family, hobbies or work, I can also get the same effects as the aforementioned strategies by doing a brief 15 minute hypoxic-hyperoxic workout, using a Vitamin D lamp for 5 minutes, and dumping a bunch of magnesium chloride in a hot bath. You get the idea. Once again: better living through science does indeed afford us some luxuries our ancestors did not have.
3) Let's face it: this stuff is fun and it feels good. Some people get their dopamine high and daily entertainment from watching Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones and Walking Dead. Others enjoy a greasy burger and bag o' fries from their favorite fast food joint. Some may dabble during the day with online poker, making macaroni and cheese or taking a long hot shower. Me? I actually enjoy an isometric, quick, 12-15 minute training protocol, an all-out that makes me feel like superman the rest of the day, mind-blowing sex after consuming a superfood shake of beets, cacao and pumpkin seeds, and typing this blog post while blasting my brain with infrared light to grown new neurons and spark creativity. Finding fun, new, novel, crazy, cool and exciting ways to make my body and brain feel better is actually a heckuva good time – and we live in an era in which we have access to an entire veritable playground to tap into this stuff.
Whew! That's a long intro, but I do have one last thought for you before diving in – if you don't know my background and how I got into all this weird stuff in the first place, I'd recommend starting here.
OK, let's do this: my top 10 steps to biohack longevity (and get plenty of weird looks from your neighbors), all compressed into my nitty-gritty daily routine.
Step 1: Do Weird Stuff In Your Underwear
It is a well-known fact among anyone who watches me on Snapchat that I rarely put any pants on until at least noon, and quite seldom don a shirt. Although some would argue that free-balling and minimal clothing is good for the gonads, there is no particular health reason that I don't wear clothing much: it's just the way I've operated since I was a baby (I am quite literally serious – my mother used to have to use clothes pins to actually force me to keep my diaper on).
Anyways, while lounging in my underwear, here are a few morning habits I consistently prioritize to enhance my longevity:
-Wake in an “intermittent fasted” state. I fast 12-16 hours per 24 hour cycle, 365 days a year. This means that if I finish dinner at 9pm, I don't eat again until 9am to 11am. If I wake up for a midnight snack, I don't eat again until noon. The only exception to this rule is (admittedly contrary to Satchin Panda's teachings on time-restricted feeding's positive effect on circadian biology) coffee and supplements. The research on fasting for longevity abounds and grows by the day.
-Gratitude journal. From improved sleep quality to reduced physical pain to better cardiovascular health, the host of scientific studies on the positive physiological effects from gratitude journaling is fascinating. So I wake and read this devotional, then I use this journa to answer three simple questions each morning: what am I grateful for? Whom can I pray for or serve today? What truth did I discover in today's reading?
-Do deep tissue work. In the book “What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives“, one fascinating takeaway is the fact that Olga kept an old wine bottle on her bedroom nightstand that she would use during the night when she woke to “mash” tissue, keep muscles supple and pain-free, and address fascial adhesions. While I'm not necessarily making hot, sweet fascial love to a bottle of wine each night, I do take 5-10 minutes each morning when I rise to dig into tissue with a Rumble Roller, MyoBuddy, ArmAid or any of the other medieval-esque torture devices scattered about my living room. Defying collagen cross-linking is an important part of the anti-aging process, and while I may not have time for a weekly 2-hour deep-tissue massage, I can certainly find time to do just a bit of self-inflicted deep-tissue work each morning.
-Take morning supplements. When it comes to the morning supplements I consume each morning (along with two large glasses of fresh, filtered, structured water) I kinda kicked this horse to death in the recent article you can read here. But in terms of the biggest wins of late when it comes to feeling amazing each day, I'd highly recommend dissolving hydrogen tablets in that morning water, snorting intranasal glutathione daily, taking 5g of creatine per day year round, taking a good probiotic and colostrum and then, with breakfast, using a very good multivitamin that has a form of folate called “methylfolate” in it and a fish oil that is packaged with antioxidants and not rancid. You can dive into my other supplement recommendations here. Incidentally, it's rare these days that I come across any anti-aging enthusiast who is not popping somewhere in the range of 40-70 tablets or capsules of supplements per day, other anti-aging enthusiasts I've written about, so my own supplement regimen still pales in comparison to the likes of folks such as Dave Asprey, Peter Diamandis, and Craig Venter. Ah…I can only profess to one day rise to that level of pill-popping.
-Consume a tannin-rich beverage. Beginning early in the day, I prioritize consumption of tannin-rich beverages such as teas, coffees, wines, various berries and nuts and other such compounds rich in plant polyphenols and proven to be life-prolonging when consumed in low to moderate amounts. Some mornings I consume a high-quality green-tea and other mornings an organic black coffee, and I typically also sprinkle in hints of mushroom extracts such as turkey tail, cordyceps and chaga too (here are a few of my favorite such shroomy treats). My only rule for the morning beverage? I don't include actual calories in it. I save any collagen, MCT oil, butter, coconut oil, ghee or any other components that might keep me from tapping into my own fatty acids as a fuel until later in the day after my fasting is complete. And of course, said beverage must be consumed from my giant Theodore Roosevelt “man-in-the-arena” mug.
-Activate body. I kiss my boys and give them a big hug before they're off to school, and then with an enormous cup of tannins in hand, I venture into my basement man-cave to engage in my first bout of work. For 20-30 minutes I engage in my most creative, least reactive tasks of the day (essentially anything that doesn't involve social media or e-mail but that instead requires deep work, writing, and creation). At about this point in the day, the biohacking begins to get serious: I flip on my “Awake and Alert” bulbs by Lighting Science, jumpstart my circadian rhythm by donning my ReTimer glasses and shoving my Human Charger buds into my ears, fire up my ENG3 NanoVi device to repair DNA with reactive oxygen species signaling, flip on my JOOVV lights (one in front of me and one behind me), place a Vielight alpha brain wave stimulator on my head, and turn on my rosemary essential oil nebulizing diffuser. Between the circadian-rhythm friendly lighting, the humidified air, the infrared rays and the cognition-enhancing scents, I am now feeling and operating like an optimized human machine. Life is quite good and it is now just 7:30am.
-Perform self-love for the face and mouth. At some point in the morning routine you've just ready about, typically either before I come downstairs to make coffee or once I pop up from the basement and before I hop onto the toilet, I do the following: a weekly clay mask to detox my skin and increase collagen and elastin production on my face (I use the Alitura clay mask for this), a daily dose of Kion Skin Serum to get rid of wrinkles, increase tone and color,and stimulate additional collagen and elastin production, and five minutes of coconut oil pulling (for that, I am currently using this stuff by Water and Wellness). A few of these simple steps taken per day can take the incredibly important organs on the top of your torso from good to great, and in my opinion, not enough people (especially men) take adequate steps to keep their skin supple and mouth kissable.
Step 2: Evacuate Thy Bowels
A quick, riveting, sphincter-puckering glance at the investigative research behind bowel movement frequency, constipation, and mortality risk reveals…
…conflicting data. Some studies show zero correlation between how often one takes a dump and one's risk of dying or getting some kind of nasty colorectal cancer. Others show infrequent bowel movements to be a definite long-term health risk. Oddly enough, there's a smattering (wrong word, perhaps?) of data suggesting infrequent bowel movements to actually be a healthy thing (vs. spending all your time with your legs hoisted up by your ears in a kama sutra post of defecation all day long, I suppose this also makes sense). The ancient physician Hippocrates thought bowel movements should ideally be two or three times a day.
Me personally? I do best on one glorious giant dump each morning. Get it out of the way, I say. So how do I accomplish this?
While I have plenty of podcasts on pooping, including…
- The Zen of Taking A Good Poop
- How To Have The Most Amazing Poop Of Your Life
- My interview with Dr. Robynne Chutkan
- 360: What Your Poop Can Tell You About Your Health, How To Heal Tendons & Ligaments Faster, Natural Ways To Decrease Cortisol & More
- #255: How To Get Strong As A Bull (And Then Get Ripped), Cold Thermogenesis Quick Tips, How Often Should You Poop, And Much More
- The Zen Of Managing Poomergencies – Natural Remedies for Traveler’s Diarrhea
- An Easy Three Step, 42 Cent Way To Naturally Fix Constipation
- Constipation, Fecal Transplants, Fiber Myths, Resistant Starch, Probiotics & More With Konstantin Monastyrsky
…I've currently found success with 400-500mg of magnesium citrate the evening prior, followed by my hot tannin-rich beverage mentioned above and a combination of a bit of deep ab clockwise circles and deep tissue psoas work in the mornings (typically with a kettlebell handle, Myobuddy, or Vyper vibrating massage ball). I then simply move on to squat on the Squatty Potty, which holds a hallowed spot in each bathroom of my house. Of course, it's not enough to simply take a glorious dump. Based on the research on the gut microbiome, gut bacteria and longevity, if you're serious about living a long time, you must also quantify said dump. For that reason, I'm currently experimenting with three different “complete” microbiome and gut testing options:
- Viome: this is the complete gut microbiome test I've researched and used most. Here is my experience thus far:
-What Is Viome? How Gut Metatranscriptome & Microbiome Analysis Can Change Your Health.
–Age Reversing Via The Gut, The Ultimate Anti-Anxiety Pill, Customized Probiotics & More With Billionaire Entrepreneur & Viome Founder Naveen Jain. You can get Viome testing here (and use code FITNESS to get you moved to the front of their waitlist).
- Thorne: waiting for results. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check Thorne's slick new test kits out here.
- Thryve: waiting for results. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check it out here – use code “bengreenfield15” at checkout to get 15% discount on testing kit purchases, and 20% discount on gut health program purchases.
The other gut tests I perform you can peruse here. And yes, to answer the question I've received multiple times: I would not be opposed to the idea of getting a fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from an eligible, superhuman donor (this is perhaps just one step above – or I suppose in this case, below – last month's experience of injecting my penis with stem cells). So if The Rock has banked his stool, someone simply let me know, and I will make that happen. Or perhaps I should just sell my own stool.
Step 3: Do A Hippie Workout
I am an enormous fan of, as my friend Mark Sisson so fondly puts it, “easing into my day”. Rather than beginning the day with a brutal Crossfit WOD or draining kettlebell session, whenever my schedule affords it, I simply perform 20-40 minutes of easy, fasted aerobic exercise in the morning, typically in the form of a hippie workout, which would include:
-Walking outside barefoot on the ground and in the sunshine at an easy conversation pace (or, if I'm in a strange city with syringes and glass shards on the concrete, I'll wear my Earthrunners). This gives me a quintuplet dose of negative ions, vitamin D, nature therapy, aerobic movement, and grounding/earthing – all of which have been (along with walking speed) scientifically correlated with longevity.
-Swimming in cold water. The research on cold and longevity is also quite compelling, so if I don't go for a swim, I still finish any of my other “easy” morning workouts with a quick cold plunge or cold shower.
-Sauna. The research on heat therapy and longevity abounds, and I'll often combine my infrared sauna session with yoga, ELDOA or core foundation therapy in the sauna, followed, of course, by a cold soak afterwards (incidentally if you preheat both your body and the sauna adequately, you'll receive a hefty dose of blood-boosting erythropoietin as well).
After all, a hard workout is best performed in the afternoon anyway, when your body could use that second surge of cortisol, and when body temperature, grip strength, reaction time and post workout protein synthesis all tend to peak.
To Be Continued…
OK, I will admit: I originally planned on giving you all ten longevity steps in one single, mighty blog post, but my children are begging me to take them “snow camping” (this is just what it sounds like – we pitch a tent out in the forest in the snow and freeze our asses off for the night), my wife wants to have a red wine and dark chocolate fondue party (who can say no?), and I want to go shoot my bow today (I have a big hunt in Kona coming up in April).
So in the coming weeks, right here on this website, I am going to dish out to you the additional seven steps…
…if you want them.
Let me know in the comments section below.
Also, if you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about the first three steps you've just discovered, simply leave your comments below and I will reply!