Welcome to Ben Greenfield's Weekly Roundup and Cool New Discoveries!
Ben Greenfield's discoveries, from the latest news on the fronts of fitness, nutrition, health, wellness, biohacking, and anti-aging research. I also recap my upcoming events and special announcements so you can keep up with giveaways, discounts, and more!
New Discoveries Of The Week: Cool New Things I'm Trying, Books I'm Reading, And More!
Excellent Book About “The Yoga of Eating”
After I published my “This Is My Father’s World” Sabbath Rambling article, several folks recommended that I read Charles Eisenstein’s The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self. I couldn’t recommend this book more highly for anyone who read my Sabbath Ramblings post and wants to take a deeper dive into forming a healthy, natural, organic relationship with their food, their beverages, their body, their exercise routine, and much more. Here are a few key takeaways that I highlighted:
On mindfulness while eating: “…if your attention is elsewhere when you eat, you are not eating the food at all. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh tells a story of a friend wolfing down tangerines while talking animatedly about something he was angry about, and points out that at that moment, he wasn't really eating the tangerines at all, he was eating the anger.”
On flavor: “Flavors and odors are themselves a kind of food, just as important as protein and vitamins. When you eat inattentively, you miss out on these subtle nutrients. When you become aesthetically malnourished in this way, your body, craving more flavors, drives you to eat more and more food, and foods with stronger and stronger flavors. To put it in simple terms, if you only taste a tenth of your food's flavor, then you need to eat ten times the quantity, or food with flavors ten times more powerful, to get the same aesthetic nourishment. Therefore we can infer a delicious irony: We overeat not because we enjoy food too much, but because we do not enjoy it enough!”
On fasting: “In my mid-twenties I became convinced of the benefits of fasting, and embarked on two water-only fasts of seven days' duration. Mustering all my willpower, I promised myself I'd persist through the seventh day no matter what. I completely disregarded the messages my body was sending me. I did not realize that because I have very low body fat and a high metabolism, a fast would be much more physically intense for me than for an average person. I am convinced that I did permanent damage to my body, if not in the first fast, then definitely in the second. I actually tried it a third time, but after the fourth day was suffering extreme weakness and lassitude-symptoms of starvation. Fortunately, I had enough sense to end the fast, but to this day I have a distinct body-memory of the feeling of starving. Many fasters report a radically different experience: they say they feel light and energetic. Of course there is discomfort, especially in the first 3-4 days as the tissues unload stored-up metabolic wastes into the bloodstream for elimination. You can expect headaches, tongue coatings, and light-headedness, but in a way these almost feel good. The sensations of cleansing are quite distinct from the feeling of starvation-I know because I've experienced both. It is therefore very important to be sensitive to exactly what your body is telling you: to stop when the body says stop, and not to override it with willpower. By the same token, when the body says “keep going” you may apply your willpower to fight the desire to escape the discomfort, physical and psychological.”
On exercise: “Physical movement is properly a pleasure to the human body, but sadly in our culture it has become “exercise” or a “workout.” The goal of the Yoga of Exercise is to recover that pleasure. If exercise is a workout, one is tempted to skip it; if exercise is a pleasure, nothing can keep you away from it. Many former athletes give up exercising altogether because they think it doesn't count unless it is a workout (no pain, no gain).”
“By establishing a habit of self-trust, we are more likely to heed the body's calls for food (or abstinence from food), for exercise, and for appropriate rest. If you are sick or fat, you did not arrive there through bodily incompetence, and you will not permanently exit that state by continuing to treat the body as if it were an enemy.”
On fat intake: “An historical study of language and diet tells us that our current anti-fat hysteria is an anomaly. Older metaphors employing the word “fat” typically connote abundance, plenty, and ease. “Living off the fat of the land” implies a provident world; “the fat years” mean years of abundance. In Chinese the character for fat means fertile when describing land, and munificent when describing a job or an opportunity. Notice that these usages draw on the metaphor of a fatty piece of food. Fat is nourishing, enriching, life-supporting-a “rich” dessert is one with lots of butter. The negative metaphors associated with fat arise not from fat foods but from fat bodies. Interestingly, in Chinese the most common word for fat in describing a person, pang, is never used to describe a fat, fei, piece of meat, and I've been told this is true in other languages as well.”
On sugar and sweets: “People who affirm their deservingness of the good things in life through sweet foods are in fact using sugar as a kind of medicine. They are trying to make life hurt less. For a moment, at least, sweets make us feel less lonely. We are comforted. Do not condemn others for their dietary folly, when they, like us all, are merely seeking to avoid pain. Unfortunately, sugar is a palliative medicine only, as it does nothing to address the root causes of being downtrodden. No amount of sugar will fundamentally alter bitter circumstances or a sour attitude.”
“Ironically, modern soda pop is made in imitation of traditional beverages-root beers and ginger ales-that were fermented from natural sugars and herbs. These were very healthful beverages, not necessarily alcoholic, loaded with enzymes, vitamins, beneficial microorganisms, and electrolytes.”
On alcohol: “…virtually all modern beer uses a fairly potent medicinal herb, hops, which is a sedative and sexual depressive not suited to some constitutions. Traditionally, there were dozens of herbs commonly used in beer, all with different tonic, flavoring, healing, or even psychotropic properties. It is no wonder then that Chinese herbs sipped in the traditional way as infusions of whole herbs are generally recognized as far more potent than the exact same doses gulped down in powdered form. Any product missing its taste is suspect. Taste is not an afterthought, not incidental to the effects of foods or herbs, but rather an inseparable part of their essence.”
Hopefully, that gives you a taste (pun intended) of what you’ll enjoy in this quick read. You can get the book here (and, incidentally, Charles recently published some excellent thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic here).
The Ultimate Biohacked Self-Massage Routine
For this full-body self-inflicted bodywork routine using some “cool tools” to biohack mobility, you will need:
- A “peanut” massage tool, two lacrosse balls taped together, or the Rumble Roller Beastie Bar I use in the video.
- A good firm foam roller (I prefer the Rumble Roller).
- A vibrating body massage/car buffer type tool (I use the Myobuddy in the video).
- A larger massage ball (I use the Hyperice Hypersphere in the video.
- Optional, but recommended: A smaller vibrating foam roller (I use the Hyperice Vyper in the video).
- Any barbell that is raised off the ground or an elevated foam roller like the HighRoller.
Everything else is straightforward. Just follow along with what I show you in the video, and remember to breathe and smile, and let me know how you like the routine! Especially during this quarantine time, when getting a massage can be tough, this will definitely keep your body “put together,” and I personally do something just like this one to two times each week to keep myself mobile and to keep injuries at bay. For plenty more ideas, check out the “Beauty & Symmetry” chapter of Boundless.
Podcasts I Recorded This Week:
This episode was brought to you by Kion Aminos (code BGF20), Organifi Gold (code BENG20), JOOVV (Order using my link and receive my brand new book, Boundless absolutely free!), and Water and Wellness (code GREENFIELD).
Articles I Published This Week:
My full article feed and all past archives of my articles are here if you want to check out past articles.
::: $100 Off The Ultimate Grilling, Smoking, and BBQing Machine :::
Is your backyard ready for summer BBQ grilling season? It's not if you don't have a Traeger, which is actually far more than just a grill. You can smoke, bake, roast, braise, bbq, and yes, grill… with pure, hardwood flavor all in one easy-to-use machine.
Until you've eaten a steak, brat, or chicken thigh cooked over a hardwood flame, you won't know what you're missing out on by cooking with charcoal or gas. Not only do they produce the tastiest grilled delicacies your mouth will ever have the pleasure of tasting, but they're also super simple to use.
I guarantee you'll be pleasantly shocked that you could cook something so delicious in your own backyard. It vastly amplifies the flavor of whatever you cook on it and is one of the coolest gifts you can give yourself (also makes a great Father's Day gift) if you're a carnivore enthusiast like me. Save $100 on a Traeger Pro Series Grill here.
::: A Pricey Biohacking Device I Use Every Day Just Went On A Big Sale :::
I've caught some flack in the past because the Pulse Centers PEMF unit I use—a recovery and performance biohack that is an indispensable part of my routine—is friggin' expensive. You can learn more about it on the podcast episode “The Most Powerful Cellular Exercise Machine That Exists, How It Works & Exactly How To Use It.”
But now, for those of you who have been shy on the price, I've got some good news for you: Pulse Centers is offering a rare 15% discount on a purchase now through June 30th. Just click here and use referral code BEN2018.
::: Create Your Very Own Lifebook For FREE :::
Creating my “Lifebook” was the most transformational process I’ve ever embarked upon. I mapped out every category of my life—finances, character, spirituality, physical health, parenting, relationships, my dream life, and beyond.
And now, my friends at Mindvalley are giving away FREE access (for the next week only) to the online version of the exact program I used. It’s normally a $1,250 lifestyle design system, but it is literally free right now because they want to expose this course to a new group of people.
During the systematized process, the same as I did, you will take a deep dive into the 12 dimensions of your life—like having a fit and healthy body, a vibrant and active mind, a fulfilling career, a passionate romance, basically any goal you can think of—and map out a fully personalized vision of holistic success for all of them.
It’s like life-hacking on steroids.
Click here to get into Lifebook for free. Remember, free access is open for the next week only, so enroll today!
Need Help Fully Optimizing Your Brain & Body?
I've studied the science, seen first-hand what works and what doesn't, and most importantly, know how to help you make lasting changes to become the best version of yourself – for good. I've also trained an entire army of Kion Coaches, and with our support, you'll no longer have to struggle to decipher conflicting health information, only to end up confused and unmotivated.
Here's a solid workout you can do just about anywhere with minimal equipment and time.
Go through this twice as a pyramid (Top to bottom, and bottom to top), mixing in 50 calories on the rower or assault bike throughout (you just have to get in 50 cal before the work out ends), adding in 5 burpees every 5 minutes. You also need to start and finish with five burpees. Must do in under 25 minutes.
Are you looking to achieve peak physical performance? Trying to shed fat or gain lean muscle as fast as possible? Ready to tap into the most cutting-edge health, fitness and longevity protocols? Every day, I work with people just like you to help them achieve their goals with personalized health advice and one-of-a-kind nutrition and fitness plans. My schedule gets filled quickly, so be sure to book your one-on-one consultation with me today.
Kion Coaches are certified in the same holistic approach I take to mind, body, and spiritual health. In addition to being trained by yours truly, these folks are qualified professionals, ranging from personal trainers to nutritionists, chiropractors, elite athletes, psychologists, medical doctors, and more. Just click here to view the full coach directory and to find the ideal coach for you and your unique goals!
Featured Product: NatureBeat
While I try to limit my use of self-quantification tools for multiple reasons—including a deeper connection to nature when exercising outdoors, less WiFi and Bluetooth strapped to my body while I'm working out, and a whole host of others—there is indeed one metric I track regularly.
Every morning for five minutes while lying in bed, or occasionally when I'm trying something new (such as a new exercise or supplement or breathing strategy) and want to see in real-time how it's impacting my nervous system, I use my NatureBeat app to track my heart rate variability (HRV).
Tracking my HRV allows me to gain insight into how well my body has recovered, and thus the level of intensity my body is capable of training at for the rest of the day.
Read more about what HRV is and why it's so important to have this data handy in the first place here, and click here to get NatureBeat, the same HRV-tracking app that I use.
This Week's Most Popular Instagram Post:
View this post on Instagram
So you watched Game Changers…or you’re increasingly bombarded by the plant-based vs. carnivore vs. omnivore debates. But can you actually build muscle and be athletic on a plant-based diet? In short, with adequate digestible protein, yes. But a diet rich in plant anti-nutrients and soap-like irritants found in grains and legumes – especially when consumed in the quantities necessary for enough amino acids – can be potentially detrimental to health and performance. Veggies like kale, broccoli, and spinach seem to be perfectly fine in small quantities. But when you’re relying on plants for your primary source of protein, you risk having to eat enough plants to where you either have gas and bloating caused by the huge amounts of fiber you’re consuming or you develop gut damage from all of the plant anti-nutrients. The exception? Use old world methods of soaking, sprouting, and fermenting your plants and grains. This is a huge chore, but it will deactivate a lot of the plant’s natural defense mechanisms. Quite frankly, this is just not a practice that everyone who completely changed their diet after watching a 90 minute documentary seem to be implementing. But to me, it’s just so much easier to eat a piece of salmon, a couple of eggs, or a piece of grass-fed steak! A piece of hunted game or pasture raised meat from a regenerative farm is also far less detrimental to the environment and soil health than monocropped soy or wheat. Not to mention the amount of small critters that are lost in the grain and plant harvesting and production processes. This does beg the question of Blue Zones, almost all of whose populations show increased longevity and lower all cause mortality when relying heavily on a plant based diet. But those cultures also practice many other habits that I believe greatly contribute to longevity such as faith, community, relationships, fresh air, sunshine, clean water and natural outdoors physical activity – all of which I discuss in great detail in the longevity chapters of Boundless. Anyways, what do YOU think? Are you going vegan anytime soon? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comment section!
This Week's Most Popular Tweet:
Low carb diet causes muscle loss (this is why I personally eat a low carb diet but refeed with 100-150g each evening and work in a ton of essential amino acids and collagen): https://t.co/AFy1UttOuC
— Ben Greenfield (@bengreenfield) June 15, 2020
My Most Popular Facebook Post This Week:
Paul Chek is an internationally-renowned expert in the fields of corrective and high-performance exercise kinesiology….
Leave your comments and any news or discoveries that you think I missed below!