MindBody Fitness

Becoming An Independent Thinker

When I look at the world we are living in I am trying to wrap my mind around not just what’s happening here at home – the rise of political violence, the ongoing gun problem that is unique to this country, the run away inflation ( which will come down), climate denial and health care crises, much of which is self inflicted but also the real global challenges we face. What kind of world do you want to live in? What kind of world are you creating for yourself?

All real change begins with self accountability and responsibility. So often I hear people talk about issues that concern them – politics, climate, gun violence, health care, inflation etc. But what are you doing for your part to a make a difference?

Here at home we are constantly reminded about the reality of climate change. This phenomenon is becoming apparent elsewhere. Highest temps ever seen in Europe. Wildfires everywhere. Many are without AC -114 degrees in Spain, Portugal and France – this isn’t normal. Climatologists are clear this will become the new normal. But let’s just denounce climate science and ignore the potential irreversible damage. Climate denial has many origins. Denial of many areas of science is driven largely by disinformation and an individual’s choice to not think globally. Regrettably, confirmation bias plays a huge part in this. Once you have been swayed or convinced you look for and seek out anything that confirms this belief. Denial of climate science has parallels with other examples of narrow mindedness.

If you live in an echo chamber where information is obtained and reinforced by self serving sources (algorithmic engineered social media) that deliver false facts this can soon become your reality. Striving to get your own facts and challenge these viewpoints is the only way to see a different perspective.

We all know that a diet of refined sugars and trans fats leads to inflammation based chronic degenerative disease. Despite the individual choice to make the simple changes many chose to disregard the data and science collectively adding to an extraordinary stress on our economic and health care system. Just like the pharma industry that bombards us with ads combined with the medical profession that pushes drugs to treat symptoms and not get to the true underlying cause, we are becoming victims of self inflicted ignorance.

The food, drug and oil and gas industry behave similarly. They are self serving and powerful industries that control our thinking and actions. If you want to live a healthier life for yourself and family you need educate yourself on better alternatives.

At the very least you can choose to eat better. You can adopt a healthier lifestyle that minimizes your reliance on drugs and you can opt to reduce your carbon footprint. Change begins with the individual. You have a choice to be either part of the problem or part of the solution.

Optimizing Energy

  1. Physical energy is really the integration of mind, body and soul. It’s the expression of how all our systems work to allow us to function optimally. Our energy is driven by the interaction of internal and external forces. It’s how we take in and process information and stimuli.

We are a ever-changing dynamic entity. Our neurological , digestive, metabolic, hormonal and immune systems work together to define our physical being.

Our inherited genes really only tell part of the story. Thanks to the science of epigenetics – we now can turn on or off specific genes and, by this, reshape our destiny.

We might not be able to change our chronological age but we certainly can change our biological age !

Healthy eating, regular exercise, good sleep and managing our stress levels all influence our gene expression

We are a network of cells, neurons, microbes, muscles and connective tissue. When these components are in harmony and balanced we function optimally. When this balance is disturbed we experience illness and disease.

2. The gut is the home of trillions of microbes that drive our immune system. We are in fact more microbial than human ! The gut and brain are also connected by a bi- directional pathway. Hippocrates said “ All disease begins in the gut.” So a healthy gut allows for a healthy physiology. Leaky gut – a compromised intestinal lining driven by food and chemical toxins as well as high stress levels – might be the single biggest contributor to many chronic degenerative diseases – including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and many auto immune diseases. Gut dysfunction drives toxicity in the body and brain.

Recovery and rest are as, if not more, important to our physiology than how we stimulate our bodies via exercise ( interval training or endurance training ). In order to optimize the benefits of exercise its vital too not only train properly but too feed our bodies with good energy but also getting proper rest and restorative sleep. Truth be told, it’s during our sleep where growth hormone is released and how toxins in the brain and body are removed. Sleep might be the single most important part of our existence that is the bedrock of healthy aging and longevity.

3. Regulating blood sugar levels is vital to helping regulate cortisol and melatonin. Omega 3 fats are very ⁃ supportive ( improve neural health and builds resilience to stress). Sound bedtime rituals ( no electronics, dark and cool environment, stop eating at least 2 hrs before bedtime. Going to sleep and waking at a regular time. Early morning exposure to daylight/ sunlight. Practice and express gratitude before sleep and when you wake! We need to build and maintain healthy circadian rhythms. Many of our bio rhythms are tied to the circadian pattern - hormone release ( cortisol and melatonin), eating habits and digestion, body temp regulation. Light is the main driver of the circadian clock. Exercise is also critical to our circadian rhythms by boosting melatonin.

4. We are the products of our thoughts and beliefs. A positive mindset and approach to life drives optimal outcomes. The reverse is true for a negative mindset. The quality of our lives is in direct proportion to the quality of the decisions we make.

We are dynamic biological systems that are heavily influenced by our bio / circadian rhythms. Energy is produced at a cellular level in our mitochondria where oxygen and ATP work together to drive our physiology. For this to work optimally we must find a balanced bio / circadian rhythm that is influenced by our thoughts and beliefs, our nutritional, exercise, sleep and stress management practices ! The human body produces complex electrical activity in several different types of cells, including neurons, endocrine and muscle cells – all called excitable cells. As all electricity does, this activity also creates a magnetic field. The body’s electrical activity happens primarily in the cell membrane.

The mind- body- soul connection is the essence our existence. As mentioned earlier, we are the products of our thoughts, beliefs and actions. We need to stimulate and challenge our mind and body and establish a spiritual practice ( gratitude, deep breathing and mindfulness).

5. The body behaves like a battery – it will wear out over time if it’s not recharged. It needs quiet time which should occur during sleep but needs occasional day time down time. This is where meditation and mindfulness come into play. The mind, body and soul are quieted so they recover from all the demands that we place on them.

6. Healthy eating helps in re-balancing our systems. As mentioned earlier, the health of our gut flora directly impacts our brain and neurochemistry.Start a mindfulness practice that includes: gratitude work, deep breathing, meditation, yoga / tai chi ⁃ Remove processed and refined sugars and carbs. Eat more healthy fats (cold water fish, avocados, flax and chia seeds, grass fed beef and organic veggies / fruits. ⁃ Drink filtered water ⁃ Limit alcohol intake ⁃ Vary your exercise ( mix in interval training, aerobic conditioning, strength and flexibility training). Don’t be a slave to the gym - get outdoors. ⁃ Build healthy personal relationships. Spend more time with people you admire and can learn from ⁃ Create a healthy sleep / home environment ⁃ Devise stress management techniques that work for you. ⁃ Spend less time on your devices and engage more in person to person dialogue.

Mind Body Golf

After retiring from triathlon 5 years ago my greatest fear was how would I replace a sport that had given me so much – how would I challenge myself and continue to redefine and shape my desire to grow and seek new fulfilment. Finding a new hobby or sport has proven to be highly rewarding and at moments extremely frustrating. I never saw myself as an endurance athlete as I am embarked on triathlon. I loved being active and the thought of putting 3 sports together in succession was a foreign and seemingly unattainable goal. But years of hard work, good coaching and guidance and most of all the desire to learn and improve soon proved to be a successful strategy.

Most of us tend to gravitate towards things we understand and feel a certain natural affinity for. What I learned was that moving beyond my comfort zone had tremendous benefits and surprising outcomes. Stretching mentally and physically is the formula for change. So when I decided to retire my carbon fibre racing bike, wetsuit and training logs and schedules I felt somewhat naked. I never thought I’d pick up a sport like golf. I did admire the game but couldn’t see myself playing or putting in the much needed time to master this new sport. I watched a few PGA events and became curious. One day changed everything.

A friend who I’ve know for 30 years who was a former competitive runner and my age suggested I come out one day and see what it was all about. I borrowed his clubs and the rest is history. I quickly realized I needed instruction- much like I did when I started triathlon. Going from endurance racing that evolved around speed, endurance and power output and moving your body forward as quickly as possible to standing over a little ball and using a club to make perfect contact in order to move the ball ( not me) forward toward a target was both challenging and rewarding. I quickly came to understand that the golf swing is complicated. The path of the club, the face of the club head, the positions of your hands and the synchronised movements of your hips, shoulders and arms necessitates a very orchestrated rhythmic sequence.

3 yrs into the sport I have managed to put together a decent game shooting in the 80’s – which my golf friends say is solid. Much like triathlon the goal is to score competitively. It is similarly a very individual sport, the outcome impacted by the course, weather conditions and most importantly your focus and mindset.

I strongly encourage all of you to try new things. Find a new sport or hobby. It expands your mind, tests your body and lifts your spirit. If it doesn’t come easy keep working at it. Success will come and sinking that long putt or crushing a long drive will become a great memory.

You Are Creating Your Future Today

The choices you make individually today are going to shape your future and the world you live in. You cannot change your past but you can certainly learn from it – or not. As a student of human behavior I have always seen myself as an educator and change agent. I have always been interested in human behavior and the multitude of factors that influence people’s choices and actions but also their reactions and responses.

Taking responsibility is the cornerstone of predictive outcomes. We are all directors and actors in our own plays. We write the script and then perform. Smart and healthy lifestyle choices yield optimal results. Our choices are influenced by our past experiences, genetic and biological predispositions, but most importantly our inner voice that gives us our manuscript. Who we are and what we believe in is a dynamic and fluid process. Our biology is always changing. Our perceptions and insights as well. Our thoughts and beliefs are the fuel that propels us through life. We are captains of our destiny. We write the script and the code that governs our future. Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. Fear of not pleasing others or seeing yourself though the eyes of others is the single greatest block to growth and change. Today is a great day to start a new life.

Wherever you are in life is where you are supposed to be. Take responsibility from this day forward to rewrite your story. Eating right and fueling not only your body and brain but your soul is part of the story. Physical activity and sports – be it recreational or competitive, creative expression through writing or art, rewarding work, restorative sleep, all help to shape your biological narrative. Yes, you can hack your own biology and psychology. You can even change your gene expression. Think about that for a minute. Your destiny is in your own hands. You are not your parents or some vision of what others want you to be. If your past hasn’t put you in place that brings you joy or comfort then it’s time to rewrite the script.

It’s your life so embrace it and live it. Sit down and write out a life plan. Are you where you want to be? Are you doing the personal work to improve your relationship with yourself and others? If you have lost the passion for your job examine why and decide if another option is best. Are you surrounding yourself with people who challenge you and support your visions? If not, make some changes and don’t worry about those who you might offend. Be in charge and make today the first day of your new life!

Daily Tools for Optimizing Productivity

Your body operates on a 24-hr cycle. This is controlled by your circadian rhythms which are linked to your body’s internal clock and your sleep/wake cycle.  Circadian rhythms are important in determining your natural sleeping and feeding patterns. Brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and many other biological processes are determined by this cycle.

The Ideal Protocol: Leveraging Your Body’s Own Intrinsic Technology

·         Waking up early and getting moving will set you up for a productive and healthy day and optimize these circadian rhythms.

Starting Your Day: Stimulating Your Nervous System To Be Calm and Alert

  • Forward motion (walking, running or cycling- particularly outdoors) and light exposure quiet the neural activity in the amygdala – an area of the brain which is associated with emotional energy that can produce fear and anxiety and expose your eyes to light and motion (optic flow) – lateral eye movements. This also activates your brain to be alert and focused and not reactive to any stimuli and be able to lean into the day.
  • Early exposure to light even if it is cloudy (light photons still hit your eyes) has a profound effect on our hormones, metabolic function, and mental focus (10- 30 min exposure). This naturally sets off a biological cascade of functions (gut, brain, heart, liver etc.).
  • Cortisol in a small amount is elevated which gets your body systems activated ( high levels are associated with stress) this is pulse of cortisol. This cortisol release happens every 24 hours, and when it is released depends on when you awake and expose your eyes to sunlight!
  • This process starts your circadian clock which starts a biological timer that ultimately activates melatonin to be released later in the evening so as to prepare you for sleep !
  • Blue light from screens (PC, mobile phone) is a positive during the day since it stimulates the neural retinas to help you stay alert and focused. It must be turned off at least 2 hours before bed so as to not interfere with melatonin which is vital to the sleep cycle. The key with blue light and screen use is not to use blue light blockers but rather take short brakes throughout the day and focus on objects at a distance.
  • Also it is good to get up and move your body and relax your focus – take a short walk outside and get into optic flow!
  • In sum – get early exposure to light, take breaks from indoor lighting during the day and reduce total light exposure at night.

Setting Yourself Up For A Productive Day

Morning Best Practices

  • Hydrate – Get back from your walk and hydrate 16-32 oz with a pinch of sea salt and add electrolytes like LMNT. ( BRAIN NEURONS NEED sodium, potassium and magnesium to start firing !) . You can also get your magnesium from a supplement – 500 mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate and potassium from food ( bananas, orange, apricots, spinach and broccoli).
  • Coffee/Caffeine as a stimulant – Wait 90 minutes ideally to drink caffeine. Coffee – best is organic ( free of mycotoxins ) black or with fresh cream and natural sugar cane ( if sweetener needed). If you drink first thing, the caffeine effect will wear off early in day and you will likely need more, and this will interfere with your circadian cycle and melatonin release.  Caffeine 80-100mg can boost motivation, raise dopamine and adrenaline to get you started and and has been shown to help with fat oxidation and metabolism. Or can use alpha GPC ( 1000-1200mg) – can help with growth hormone release and endurance performance and also aid with cognitive decline by elevating the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
  • Exercise –  20-60 minutes. Vary type ( aerobic, strength, interval training). If you are training for an athletic event, get coaching or follow a training schedule which includes plenty of rest and recovery. Can be done first thing in am or wait until midday if schedule allows. More than 60 minutes can elevate cortisol and stress your brain and body systems.

A Balanced Breakfast – It should include healthy fats, lean protein, and some complex carbs. Before breakfast: probiotics, aloe Vera juice. With breakfast – supplements.

  • Your breakfast should complement your blood sugar and insulin needs. If you are pre- diabetic lower your carbs and increase your fats. If you have a healthy blood sugar/ insulin profile you can add in some complex carbs – especially if you consistently work out with high intensity or long duration.

Breakfast options:

  • Eggs with vegetables
  • Steel cut oatmeal with berries
  • Plain Greek yogurt with berries/ nuts
  • Multigrain / sprouted grain bread with almond butter
  • Power smoothie ( kale, spinach, apples, celery, mango, pineapple, orange, coconut oil, flax seeds)
  • Gluten free pancakes with fresh berries and grass-fed butter
  • Intermittent Fasting (IF) – can help with weight loss, cognitive and metabolic enhancement. Examples include the following:
    • You can eat within an 8-hour period (7AM – 6PM or 10AM – 6PM), or:
    • You can eat normally for 5 days; fast for 2 days
  • Work Setup
  • Position your screen at eye level – optimizes alertness and focus. Use an ergonomic chair that supports your spine and body.
    • Hydrate while working.
    • Take walking / stretching breaks every 90 minutes. NOTE: Our brain operates on 90-minute cycles going from optimal alertness to fading alertness – this happens through the 24-hr cycle. During your focused 90-minute work cycle, do not use your devices (check email, social media etc.). Research shows that your body temp minimum that occurs 2 hours before you wake can be used to optimize this 90-minute work block. Add 5 hours from your temp minimum and science has shown that your best ability to focus for 90 minutes is in that time vicinity. For example: if you wake at 6:30AM, your temp minimum is at 4:30AM – add 5 hrs and you arrive at 9:30 AM, which is your ideal work period to start your day with real focus! Your body temp will rise from 4:30 AM throughout the day as cortisol and adrenaline increase which gives you peak mental focus! This is the natural way to enhance your focus and productive thinking. Our bodies really respond to these temperature and cortisol changes as we try to capture the best method to start our day.
    • Low level white noise in the background have been shown to maximize alertness and focus when working.
  • Exercise: Two types strength and endurance. Optimal is 5 x/week. Alternating strength and endurance training. Ideally a rest day after any high intensity workout. Research shows that to optimize brain and body health use a 12-week period of training with 3 days of strength – 2 days of endurance – 2 days rest. Strength: circuit or interval training using resistance training or body weight total body workouts which include core strength, balance and flexibility. Endurance: should be varied ( running, cycling, swimming or hiking)- can include 60 minutes of aerobic training or mixed in high intensity interval training). If you add another day make it an endurance workout. After the 12 weeks switch to 3 days of endurance and 2 days of strength training. And repeat cycle. Resistance training as important as endurance training for optimizing brain health and function, reducing risk of dementia by increasing BDNF, increasing neurogenic activity, decreases inflammatory cytokines and boosting overall cognitive function. Good rule with endurance training 80-20. 80% aerobic intensity and 20% at ( anaerobic threshold) maximal effort. Never do back-to-back high intensity training days. Also apply this 80-20 rule to strength training – 80% not to failure / 20% to failure. The 5 days per week seems to support optimal cortisol function. If you are an elite athlete or training for a strength or endurance event please consult a coach or professional.
  • Proteins, Fats and Carbs – proteins and healthy fats help release dopamine and adrenaline. Carbs tend to release more serotonin. If you want to be alert and focus choose meals that are protein and fat dominant. If you don’t have issues with blood sugar and insulin then you can add in more complex carbs. On rest days eat less carbs. On more active days you can up your carbs.
  • Healthy fats : cold water fish, grass fed beef, avocado, nuts, seeds kefir, organic dairy. Proteins: fish, chicken, eggs, organic dairy, lentils; Complex carbs: vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, rice pasta, apples, berries, beans

Mood and Depression

Research shows that Omega 3 fatty acids ( 1500-3000 mg ) and vitamin D ( 5000 IU) can help regulate mood and depression by naturally elevating dopamine levels. Thyroid function that regulates metabolism of the brain and body which covers both the breakdown and utilization of fuels and the rebuilding process of brain, muscle and bone tissue – is bolstered by iodine (see weed) and selenium ( Brazil nuts)

Optimal Brain Health Aside from exercise, healthy eating and good sleep – you should ideally fast for 12 hrs every 24 hour cycle! ( 6pm – 6 am, 8pm – 8 am etc.). Critical hormones – testosterone and estrogen present in both males and females in varying ratios are made from cholesterol! Brain function and longevity requires both estrogen and testosterone. A good source of cholesterol: grass fed organic butter, eggs.

Morning sunlight, exercise and 12 hr fasting cycle support testosterone and estrogen levels

Midday Best Practices

Overall – you want to quiet brain activity such that you are almost creating a lower brain idle. This allows for better executive function, decision making, focus, alertness. These all enhance our interic (internal state) self-awareness, as well as also activating vagus nerve (brain – gut – brain ) activity without over stimulation.

  • Midday Walk: after lunch boosts metabolism and nutrient utilization. This outdoor walk 15-30 min optimizes optic flow – exposure to natural light stimulating the brain ( alertness and focus ) and helps with reinforcing your circadian rhythms.
  • Non-Sleep Deep Rest Protocols (NSDR) – involve deep breathing, meditation and passive yoga. Best done midday to reset your brain and body to better handle the remainder of your day. These can also be done at any point in the day to optimize your ability to handle a stressful event and reset.

Optimizing Performance (brain function, metabolic, neurological and hormonal, sleep) all enhanced by deep breathing and mindful meditation. They can be done together or separate.

  • Breathing: inhale 2x through the nose, pause and longer exhale through the mouth, pause and repeat 10-15 x. During the inhalation the diaphragm will inflate and during exhalation the diaphragm deflates. This movement is the key to real relaxation. This process relaxes the brain and body but also heightens focus and alertness when it’s needed. A reset happens.
  • Meditation: recommend: Headspace app.
  • Yoga: many forms and would explore practitioners that emphasize restorative yoga.
  • Afternoon Naps: 20-45 min in duration only if it doesn’t interfere with falling asleep.
  • Afternoon light exposure: (4-5 pm) excellent for circadian biology. Exposure to bright light between 10pm – 4 am disrupts hormone and immune function, interferes with learning and focus and can impair memory and impact mood. The afternoon exposure can somewhat offset the nighttime light exposure by lowering the sensitivity of the retina and buffer you against bright light at night (ex: watching Netflix until 11-12 pm). We are in essence leveraging your own intrinsic technology – your nervous system. Light is a valuable tool in activating the hormone melatonin at the correct time when it’s needed to help us sleep. Early light activates cortisol and dopamine when it’s needed to get your brain and body ready for the day.

Evening Best Practices

  • Dinner: should support restfulness and deep sleep. Should include starchy (complex carbs) which help at stimulate serotonin which helps activate melatonin. Avoid processed and refined sugars which disrupt gut microbiome. The sugar stimulates neurons in the gut that signals dopamine release via the vagus nerve that increases your sugar cravings. Additionally, carbs help replenish glycogen – a prime energy source for when you exercise the following day. So low carbs in the am and afternoon. Higher carb intake for dinner.
  • Sleep:
  • Want to leverage your body’s temperature to optimize sleep. The body temp will elevate in the am and peak in the afternoon and drop in the evening. One way to optimize the drop for optimal sleep is to take a hot bath / shower or sauna. This also stimulates growth hormone release which is needed for tissue and organ repair.
  • Room should be dark and cool.
  • Adjustable mattress is best (height and firmness).
  • Avoid melatonin ( not regulated, can interfere with other hormones)
  • Natural Sleep Aids: Magnesium threonate or bisglycinate 300-400 mg 60 min before bed w/ Apigenin 50 mg plus L- theanine 50-100 mg these together are a great aid for getting to and maintaining good sleep.
  • Magnesium has also been shown to support neuron function, which is key to nerve transmission.
  • If you wake in the middle of the night or early morning, your melatonin levels have dropped too early and your cortisol levels have risen too early. The best remedy is to go to bed earlier and wake earlier. This cycle will hard wire your hormone secretions and will help reset your circadian clock. If you must go to bed later (11-12PM) get some light exposure around 7PM, which will delay the onset of melatonin and help you sleep better.
  • If you wake in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep simply do 1-2 min of deep breathing ( inhale through nose / exhale though mouth.


  • Should be a break from work and some of it should be unstructured and random. We all need to unwind, unplug, relax and have fun – at least for one day!

Golfing – A New Journey

Now that I have been playing golf for 2 years I have mastered enough of the art and science on the technique that allows me to get through a course reasonably well. Yes, it is an individual sport where you attempt to achieve the lowest score possible – meaning the fewest mistakes possible, vs a sport like triathlon where your objective though an individual effort is to complete the event in the fastest time and try to place in your relevant age group.

What’s striking is in golf you frequently play with different people who are all at different levels with variable skills. Vastly unique personalities and body types. Contrastingly, in tri you get to know who your competition is and what their particular skills and strengths are. Though it attracts a variety of people, it rewards speed and/or endurance. Though it is comprised of your 3 sports that you need to master it’s similar to golf in that training and preparation are needed for success and repeatability.

I miss tri competition and the training. Golf is a very mental game and doesn’t necessarily reward the biggest and strongest. Some guys can drive the ball 350 yds but have no finesse to shoot a low round. In fact, the mega hitters I have met typically get frustrated and lose their focus when they miss easy chips or putts. There is art and science that goes into building your golf game. Understanding the path of your club, making proper contact at the ball, the follow through to achieve proper ball flight to your target. Understanding, which club to use, how much loft ( angle of the face of the club ) to use if you need to elevate the ball to the target, reading the slope of the greens in order to chip or putt accurately to put that ball in the cup.

All golf courses are different with different challenges much like a triathlon course – different bodies of water where you have to navigate temps and currents, the profile of the bike and run course. Similarly, nutrition and hydration which are essential in an endurance racing it is also true for golf. I have seen in both sports how poor nutrition can ruin a race and a day playing 18 holes.

Most people I play with are clueless when it comes to nutrition and the impact on their game. I am careful not to preach but if the moment presents itself I will share some tips.

Both sports can attract and/or create obsessive personalities. I see myself gravitating in this direction. Overtraining or over racing is quite measurable in triathlon but often ignored. Golf is less causational but overuse can be manifested in poor play, lost focus and even clear frustration.

Though I competed often in sanctioned triathlon events I think I am going to keep my golf game less competitive and just enjoy the fun and comradery.

See you on the links

Overcoming The Covid Blues

The human toll has been extraordinary. As we move into the second year of the pandemic, there is much to be hopeful about. Biotechnology is moving quickly to produce virus combating vaccines and trying to keep up with the variance reality that can accelerate the transmission and its ultimate control. Until enough people get vaccinated which will push us toward herd immunity we all need to embrace the sensible covid protocols of mask wearing, physical distancing and keeping our social life to a minimum. What gets us to herd immunity is a collective and cooperative effort. Yes, it’s true that most of us will be fine, but sadly, many will not. What needs immediate attention is the impact this pandemic as had on our overall health – social, mental as well as physical.

Individuals as well as families have been forced to deal with restrictions on their lives never seen before. Stay at home – due to work or school policies has created some real challenges for people. Some have adapted better than others. The repetitive nature of staying at home, not being able to travel, missing out on a regular social life which are all great outlets that us humans thrive on and need has had profound effects. So what can we do to counter this social, mental and physical distancing. Here are some thoughts.

1. Get outdoors when you can. Despite the cold and bad weather which will pass soon, you need to get out of your home confines and stimulate your mind and body – walks, hikes or runs in the woods, day trips that are safe from large groups, etc.

2. Once you get vaccinated start planning a getaway. Hopefully, travel can resume soon, so having something to look forward to can pull you out of your funk and lift your spirits.

3. Try to mix up your daily routines. Being confined to your home which is also your office can take a toll on your motivation, focus and creativity. If you are stuck in a workout rut, download some cool workout apps, or invest in a peloton. Try, journaling or writing. You would be amazed how just the act of writing opens the creative process.

4. Experiment with cooking. Try new healthy recipes. Prepping your own food is often much healthier than eating out.

5. Gratitude – nothing heals the human spirit better. No matter how bored you are, how discouraged you become, or feel depressed or anxious, your situation can always be ameliorated by recalibrating your thoughts and attitudes. We are constantly reprogramming our brains whether you realize it or not. You can choose how that process goes. Your thoughts become your biology. Your biology than becomes your thoughts and on and on….

6. Mindfulness and conscious breathing – immediately reset your physiology. Most of time we spend our waking hours in a state of arousal and overstimulation ( sympathetic nervous system activation) – daily tasks, our jobs, working out, dealing with family issues or crises. Aside from sleeping where we shut this down we need to activate a more restful state ( parasympathetic nervous system activation) during the daytime. Meditation or mindfulness is very effective and can be done for 10 minutes throughout the day and really helps to reset your nervous system. There are many apps available to assist you with this.

Bottom Line: This has been a challenging time for many but if you take a moment to step back – take a deep breath and examine what is missing, what you can do and perhaps who else can help you or who might need your help, you can weather this tough time. We all have to manage adversity. We all are in this together. And especially for those living alone reach out to them or you don’t hesitate to ask for help the sooner life will feel more manageable.

Covid-19: What Have We Learned


Putting aside any political discussion there’s much we have learned and not learned about this virus and it’s profound and far reaching impact.

What we know:

 – The virus is highly contagious. Mask wearing and physical distancing is effective in stemming its transmission and spread. Yes, the virus is invisible, as such it becomes a bigger challenge to combat.

 – It appears to impact individuals more with pre – existing conditions ( diabetes, hypertension, obesity, compromised immune systems)

 – It can impact younger populations but at a lesser rate.

 – It’s impact on the human body can be quite variable – this could be attributable to the individual’s age, biology and immunology, genetic predisposition, the viral load exposure and the degree of social responsibility one takes.

 – The virus won’t simply disappear.

 – It will mutate in order to ensure its survival.

 – The virus wants to invade the human body but not destroy it. It needs you in order to exist.

 – The virus itself doesn’t cause the real damage but rather our response to it. The cytokine storm as it is referred is the body’s immense immune response seems to be implicated in more of the severe cases and deaths. The virus copies itself quickly once inside a cell. The cell immediately sends out SOS signals. Once a cell detects something is wrong it’s natural response is to kill itself to protect other cells from the invader.

 – Certain cytokines trigger cell death. When you have many cells doing this at the same time you get lots of tissue that can die. In the case of Covid, it’s primarily the lungs. The cytokine storm causes the cell death.

 – When the lung becomes damaged respiratory distress syndrome follows. Then other organs start to fail.

 – This can lead to kidney failure, heart arrhythmia and stroke. These other medical crises still remain a bit of a mystery and need further study.

 – This virus behaves differently than other viruses, especially common viruses. Most people who get infected with influenza or Epstein-Barr don’t mount a response like this.

 – Researchers are looking into possible drugs that don’t block cytokines themselves but rather chemicals called catecholamines that tigger their release. They say they know that before the cytokines become so excessively elevated, there is a surge in catecholamines. If you can prevent that surge, the immune response is minimal. If you prevent the cytokine storm it seems likely you can prevent the damage from the virus.

 – Bolstering your immune system will have a profound impact on your capacity to avoid and / or manage the effects of the virus by adopting new behaviors – through healthy nutrition, stimulating exercise, managing stress levels and getting adequate and restorative sleep


What we don’t know:

 – When we will get a safe and effective vaccine and one that can be developed and distributed.

 – What are the long term effects of Covid? Only time will give us a better clue on what the long term effects will be and whose susceptible.

 – Can you develop long lasting antibodies and avoid a relapse from the virus.

 – Can we build and sustain herd immunity.

 – How do we convince anti-vaxxers to take the vaccine?

Busting The Myth Of Fruit

Fruit has been given a bad name in some nutrition circles. The sugar in fruit- fructose is very different than other forms of sugar – especially processed sugar.
Processed sugar, sucrose, lactose ( and artificial sweeteners) as we know feeds obesity, viruses, fungi, cancers and a whole host of degenerative diseases.

Unprocessed fructose, found naturally in fruit, is a blend of life-creating and life-sustaining phytonutrients and phytochemicals that actually fight disease and promote longevity.

There is only a fraction of sugar in fruit – mostly made up of water, minerals, vitamins, protein, fat, pectin, fiber and antioxidants. The current low- carb diet shuns and discourages fruit consumption.

Why would you want to eliminate a gift from nature? Why would you want remove antitumor, anticancer antioxidants, vitamins , minerals, bioflavonoids and polyphenols from your nutritional arsenal? Humans have cultivated and eaten fruits for thousands of years.

You can eat healthy organic fruit year round. It doesn’t just have to be in season. Fruits are in season year round – just need to get them from places where they are grown. Eating fruit really helps to eliminate cravings for other sugars.

It’s best eaten by itself or paired with raw vegetables like leafy greens. They are both digested rather easily. Cooked vegetables, protein, fat, complex carbs take longer to digest.

Fruit doesn’t not promote or feed cancer like processed sugars do. Much like vegetables they are anti-cancerous. Numerous studies indicate that cancer feeds off of sugar. As we know insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are also diseases driven by sugar – mostly found in sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. It’s now believed that Alzheimer’s may also be linked to excess sugar that drives neuro inflammation.

In addition, fruit can destroy viruses and bacteria. It is also vital to gut health. For example, pectin in apples and fiber in figs and dates are effective at destroying and clearing out your intestinal tract where fungi like Candida, parasites and worms thrive.

Fruit doesn’t hinder liver function. Fatty foods that are high in sugar are the biggest culprits driving fatty liver and liver disease. Fruit actually protects the liver by providing the organ with glucose reserve it needs in order to function and to stabilize blood sugar.

Bottom line: Fruit prevents disease, kills pathogens and repairs the body. Fruits prevent oxidation which drives inflammation and ultimately aging. Fruits are naturally rich in antioxidants.

My favorites:

Bio Hacking

What is bio hacking:

Addressing the internal and external factors that influence and shape our biology. This involves identifying those factors that have a positive and life changing impact on our mental, physical and spiritual health and longevity. This in turn, can alter our gene expression (epigenetics) – the actual turning on or off of certain genes. Our genes, which consist of DNA, are only part of the equation. It is the impact that various internal and external factors have on our genes and how they are expressed or altered that drive our biology. You can change the course and direction of your life. It begins with the belief and understanding how it works. Bio hacking is an effort to optimise and upgrade your mind and body. Great examples include: meditation, mindfulness training, intermittent fasting and gut cleansing, engaging in new fitness challenges and new sports. Your body is the vehicle that gets you through life. Your mind is the driver that sets your path and direction. The beauty is that both are not fixed and can be reset and recalibrated.

Let’s explore the impact of our thoughts, beliefs, mindset and behaviors around foods we consume and the impact on our gut microbiome and brain – also how sleep, circadian rhythms, exercise and stress and our exposure to metal and chemical toxins directly affect our health and longevity. Our beliefs and behaviors are the real drivers of inflammation, disease and ultimately aging.

Thoughts, Beliefs and Mindset:

We are the product of our thoughts and beliefs. This in turn shapes our mindset. Many factors influence how we see ourselves and the world around us. We are shaped by our early childhood and experiences – family dynamics, how we are nurtured and loved, formation of self confidence, nutrition, level of activity and sports, education both in school and out of the classroom and eventually into adulthood (college, work, relationships etc). Did you grow up in a positive and supportive environment? Did you excel in school or sports? Did you have a positive social life? Are you in synch with your passions and strengths and living your life purpose?

Our early years are very impactful. Our genetic history is equally powerful. But it is the really the life choices that we make that has the greatest impact on our health and longevity. Our mindset is influenced by a multitude of factors and is reshaped constantly. Our brains, it turns out, are quite malleable and plastic ( neuroplasticity) which allows them to change and re-program (neurogenesis). This process is manifested in many ways and can occur throughout our lifetime. Tonic thoughts produce tonic chemicals in the body. Toxic thoughts produce toxic chemicals in the body. Our body has its own intelligence. Feed it right and reap the rewards.

Positive Thinking – simply is focusing on and believing in positive outcomes. It is formed by trying new things, facing fears and phobias, developing new skills and hobbies. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who support you and believe in you.

Positive Beliefs- develop when you see yourself succeed. Failure is part of the process and without it you cannot grow and succeed. It’s pushing through barriers and self doubt. Success doesn’t come from what you accomplish but rather what you overcome.

Positive Mindset- is the evolution of your thinking and beliefs. It’s the manifestation of all your experiences. A positive mindset is an open and learning mind. Moving beyond your comfort zone and moving past self doubt and familiarity, practicing gratitude, slowing down and being more present all assist in forming a positive mindset.

We Are What We Eat And What Our Foods Eat:

There is no escaping this fact. Food is energy and essential to life. If it is a positive source than our body and brain benefit. If it is a negative source it damages our systems and can lead to inflammation and disease. Increasing healthy fats ( ex: wild caught cold water fish, avocado, chia and flax seeds, grass fed beef,cage free eggs and virgin olive oil and coconut oil ) organic vegetables and fruits, ( phytochemicals and ployphenols) pre- and probiotic foods while decreasing processed foods and sugars, artificial sweeteners trans fats, hydrogenated oils, GMO’s and any food source impacted by herbicides and pesticides, is energy producing and reduces inflammation.

Unhealthy fats, GMO’s and processed foods and sugars directly impact our gut microbiome. Our gut houses billions of micro organisms that play a crucial role that impact immune and brain function. The gut and brain share a bi directional pathway. What you eat affects how you think and what you think affects your gut and microbial diversity. In effect, you have 2 brains that drive your biology and overall health. In addition to healthy fats, and clean sourced proteins and carbs, supplementing with vitamins and minerals supports healthy brain and body function – ex: vitamin D and C, B-complex, magnesium, omega 3’s.

Intermittent Fasting:

Is a time based restricted eating pattern ( ex: eating from 8 am – 4 pm). During the break your body is resting . The benefits include elevated growth hormone which helps boost your metabolic rate, reduces insulin resistance, lowers LDL cholesterol, boosting cognitive function, reduced inflammation and increased cellular autophagy ( cellular waste removal) and improved sleep.


Sleep is crucial to our brain and body functions. During sleep both our brain and body recharge and cleanse themselves of toxins. Growth hormone is released during sleep. It’s essential to the production of other hormones and allows the body to recover from physical and mental stress. Poor sleep and sleep deprivation has been associated with immune and hormonal dsyfunction, cognitive impairment, poor decision making and reduced mental focus, weight gain, insulin resistance and many other inflammation based conditions.

Building healthy mental and physical habits supports optimal sleep by establishing sound circadian rhythms. In turn, restorative sleep helps support clear thinking, mental focus, healthy food choices and energy for, and interest in, physical activity.

Circadian Rhythms:

Your body operates on a 24 hr cycle. This is controlled by your circadian rhythms which are linked to your body’s internal clock and your sleep/wake cycle. Circadian rhythms are important in determining your natural sleeping and feeding patterns. Brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and many biological processes are determined by this cycle. Waking up early and getting early light exposure and moving will optimize circadian function.


Might be the single best way to hack your biology. Whether you are taking long nature walks, doing yoga, participating in cross fit, endurance racing, body conditioning classes – building your fitness benefits both the body ( weight loss, regulating blood sugar and heart function, balancing hormonal and immune function) and brain ( improving cognitive function, memory, alertness, neuroplasticity and reducing onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s). Exercise, in addition to restorative sleep, has also been linked to preserving teleomere length that has been associated with aging by reducing inflammation and the effects of oxidative stress. Exercise also prevents cellular aging which in turn boosts mitochondria production – the true energy producers of the human body.


Stress is a part of life. It comes in many forms both positive and negative. How we react and respond is what defines the stress effect. A strong and positive mindset like a strong and resilient body can navigate difficult and stressful events, while a weak and compromised mind and body succumbs to it. Building resistance to stress requires mental agility and flexibility, self-awareness, good food choices, healthy sleep habits and a commitment to regular exercise. Meditation and deep breathing helps to integrate all of these.

Healthy nutrition, regular exercise, restorative sleep, mindfulness and meditation assist in down regulating the sympathetic nervous system and up regulating the para sympathetic nervous system – in other words reducing an agitated state and elevating a restful state allowing for better stress management.

Toxin Exposure:

Metals ( arsenic, aluminum, mercury and lead ), cleaning and health/ skin care products ( ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, parabens, triclosan, phthalates, synthetic colours) and over use of pharmaceuticals can be quite toxic and can ultimately trigger inflammation. Reducing your exposure is an essential component to bio hacking.

Metal and chemical toxins have a direct impact on microbial diversity and function and are big players in driving the development of certain cancers.

Pathogens ( bacteria, viruses and parasites) can also play a big role in creating toxicity and inflammation.

Real Protection From Cognitive Decline

Much like our ability to slow down and reverse the aging of our bodies the same applies to our brain.

Adopting specific lifestyle behaviors in our 30’s and 40’s or in our 50’s and beyond can have a profound and tangible effect on how well we age. And the opposite holds true – neglect and destructive habits will compromise both our bodies and brain as we age.

As we age a build up of toxins such as tau proteins and beta amyloid plaques have been correlated to aging process and cognitive decline. This process which seems to be a natural aging process can be increased by many negative factors. Stress, lack of sleep, inactivity and neurotoxins ( including alcohol) can accelerate this process.

Neuroplasticity – defined by 3 mechanisms ( synaptic connection, myelination and neurogenesis) allows our brains to change and develop during our lifespan. Neurogenesis – the birth of new neurons is the real key to resilient aging.

This activity happens in the hippocampus – a region of the brain responsible for new memories. We store new experiences during the day and store them during sleep. The more we experience new things and activities and challenge new learning the greater the possibility of neurogenesis.

3 Ways To Turn On Resilient Aging By Activating Neurogenesis:

1. Aerobic Exercise and HIIT – helps to build BDNF ( brain derived neurotrophic factor) which encourages neurogenesis and minimize beta amyloid plaquing. Individual or group sports / activities are both effective.

2. Healthy Eating and Intermittent Fasting – research indicates that calorie restriction and intermittent fasting both encourage neurogenesis. Reducing refined sugars and processed foods help minimize oxidative damage to brain cells which has been linked to higher risks for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Restorative Sleep – new research has proven that sleep helps promote the brain’s neural “cleaning” glymphatic system which helps flush out the build up of tau proteins and beta amyloid plaque. Sleep deprivation leads to memory deficit and other cognitive impairments.

Brain resilience is supported by sufficient quality and length of sleep. The brain responds best to regular circadian cycles that are best promoted by consistent sleep habits (getting to bed and waking at the same times).

Consistent exercise, healthy eating and managing one’s stress levels ( best done with mindfulness and breath-based meditation) all improve sleep quality and consistency.

The key is building these new habits and until they become a regular part of your life.

Good Sleep Prep

As we all know good quality sleep is essential to optimal health. Irregular sleep and sleep deprivation are linked to a variety of compromised health issues: memory loss and lack of energy, focus and concentration, mood swings and emotional stability, depression, metabolic, digestive and immune system dysregulation.

Researchers have now pinpointed some good bedtime strategies and routines that help facilitate a solid and restorative night sleep.

1. Create and adhere to a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking at the same time is best way to create good sleep habits – even on weekends. This establishes consistent circadian bio -rhythms.

2. Electronic shutdown. Turn off all devices one hour before bed. After dark, the blue light from screens can prevent adequate melatonin levels needed to sleep. If you cannot unplug entirely, consider a light dimming app f.lux ( Apple) or Twilight ( Android). Also keep your bedroom dark and cool.

3. Bedtime rituals: Read a book, take a warm bath, creative writing all engage you without the negative impacts of your devices or TV. Over time, these rituals will help signal to your body and brain that it’s time for sleep.

4. Mind clearing: It’s imperative to quiet your brain before sleep. Layout workout clothes, prep your breakfast or lunch, complete a to-do list.

5. Relax the body: Adopt some deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation techniques to help release tension and stress.

6. Consider getting a sleep number bed – where you can adjust the bed angles and firmness to meet your individual needs. Supportive and high quality pillows are also essential.