An Ode to Chlorella

Many people in the wellness community are quick to sing the praises of the superfood, spirulina, and rightfully so. This blue-green algue gets a lot of attention for its nutrient and antioxidant properties.

But there is another, superior aquatic green that often flies under the radar—chlorella. Both these marine compounds are super nutrient dense and offer a lot of health-boosting potential, both chlorella has the upper hand in a number of categories.

Essential Fatty Acid Content

For those looking to avoid fat, spirulina may be the better choice, as it has a lower fat content, by a ratio of 3:2. However, the fat content in both are predominantly unsaturated, healthy fats.

These are polyunsaturated fats that are needed for cell growth and brain function, known as essential fatty acids. They are ‘essential’ because the body cannot produce them. which are often referred to as ‘oils’ (olive oil) because they are liquid at room temperature.

Found in fish, olives (olive oil), nuts, and seeds, they are liquid at room temperature and often referred to as ‘oils.’ There are two main categories of polyunsaturated fats—omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-3 has all sorts of health advantages, including managing cholesterol and blood pressure, improving cognition and emotion (reduced depression), decreasing liver fat, and countering inflammation. On the other hand, omega-6 is found in large quantities in conventional, highly-processed cooking oils, like canola, soybean, sunflower, and corn oil, and cause inflammation in the body.

Both chlorella and spirulina are high in these fats, but chlorella takes the cake in regard to omega-3 content. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in chlorella is roughly 7:11, whereas spirulina is about 1.6:1.

However, plant-based omega-3s (ALAs) aren’t easily converted to the more accessible EPA and DHA by the body—but curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric can help with this. Taking turmeric with chlorella and other high omega-3 nuts and seeds can increase the conversion to DHA by over 50%.

Antioxidant and Detox Properties

Both algae pack quite a lot of antioxidants, which fight the complications from stress and free radical damage in body tissue and cells. Chlorella has been proven to be particularly effective in mitigating the effects of oxidative stress.

This effect is presumed to be because of its high content of antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein, and obviously, chlorophyll.

In one study, researchers administered either a placebo or 6.3 grams of chlorella to a group of 52 Korean male smokers for six weeks. The control group had a 44% increase in circulating vitamin C in the blood and a 16% increase in levels of vitamin E.

The researchers also observed significantly less DNA damage among the control group.

Additionally, due to its omega-3 and vitamin profile, chlorella has been shown to decrease inflammation and improve function in the lungs.

There has also been research suggesting that chlorella can combat heavy metal toxicity. But not just that—it can even assist the body in flushing out other contaminants like the hormone-disrupting chemical

These findings bode well for the cleansing and oxidative stress-mitigating capacity of the algae.

Improvements To the Heart and Blood

Chlorella also offers numerous advantages to cardiovascular health. These benefits include improving blood pressure and cholesterol profile, lowering and managing blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity and liver health among those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Regarding cholesterol, specifically, chlorella regulates blood lipid levels. There is research demonstrating the compound reduced circulating triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol by 16 and 11 percent, respectively, and boosted HDL (good) cholesterol by four percent.

This improvement is thought to be due largely to its carotenoid, niacin, antioxidant and fiber content.

These compositions, along with its omega-3 profile, may also be part of the reason that multiple studies have shown chlorella to improve insulin sensitivity, a measure of how well your body manages this hormone’s ability to move glucose (sugar) circulating in the blood into cells. However, there still isn’t sufficient data to determine the exact mechanism for how this works.

Amino acids (GABA) and omega-3 fatty acids in chlorella may also explain why it has been shown to improve and regulate blood pressure. In addition, it can prevent arteries from becoming stiff, an occurrence that negatively effects blood pressure.

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it. I’ve tried to lay out the numerous health benefits that make Chlorella a superfood without getting too technical. Hopefully you were able to grasp just how wonderful it is.

The moral of the story is that this algae can help our bodies and minds mitigate the damage caused by the all of the modern day stresses and toxins we are faced with—assuming you can stomach it.

It may certainly be an acquired taste. I’ve grown accustomed to it, but one thing you can do is add a few drops of liquid stevia to sweeten the deal a bit.

Now, down the hatch!


The Dietary Toxin-Inflammation Hierarchy

With all the hype these days surrounding the ketogenic, paleo, and gluten-free diets, or eating organic, raw or plant-based, I wanted to take the time to offer what I know, and think is the best plan of attack for eating in ways that optimize health by keeping your physiological function in homeostasis, thus improving metabolism/digestion, boosting longevity, and improving mental function or wellbeing.

My goal is to and help advance the conversation, or at least clear up some common misconceptions. There is already a ton of resources available online about the health benefits of going low carb (keto), eating whole foods (paleo), or fruits, vegetables, and plants over animal products (plant-based)—something I believe to be a huge misconception.

Additionally, much of the discussion around those ‘de moda’ (in fashion) diets centers on weight loss. And while maintaining a healthy weight is certainly important for a variety of reasons, I intend to more address eating to improve overall health—things like mental and physiological function, and longevity.

So, I’m not going to be the guy vilifying carbs or starches here. In fact, I think with selectivity, they can be very beneficial. However, as mentioned, I don’t intend to touch on macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) much, or get into the discussion between plant and animal consumption. If you’re interested, I’ve already offered my thoughts on that subject here.

Besides the fact that I’ve already written on what people should be eating, I also think, like with most things, there is no one-size-fits all cure. Everyone has their own distinct needs, and different things work for better individuals.

The aim of this post is to offer dietary suggestions that help you optimize your gut microbiota, because I think that is the most paramount for health. In both the physical and mental sense, which I see as part of a continuum.

There is a reason the ‘gut’ is often referred to as “the second brain”—serotonin, the happiness hormone, is created in the gut, and the brain can influence digestion, etc.

Therefore, despite the fact I strive for positivity over negativity (optimism over pessimism), the bulk of the content here will be focused on what I think you should be avoiding to prevent gut microbiome disbiosis, aid your digestion/metabolism, and improve your wellbeing.

So, I’ll be suggesting chemicals and organically-occurring plant compounds I believe it would be best to avoid, but also touch briefly on micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and other compounds most people would benefits from targeting in their diet.

The other focus of this post will be on other non-dietary considerations that should also help improve your gut microbiome and digestion/metabolism, because believe it or not, several non-dietary factors can influence them.

Dietary Recommendations

I’d basically call my recommendation a modified hybrid Paleo-GAPS diet. It emphasizes lots of natural animal products, especially of the probiotic variety, and lots of fermented (probiotic) and pan-fried or oven-roasted non-starchy veggies.

I say modified because I steer clear of fruits (besides some occasional low-sugar berries), which are allowed on both diets, and I also believe unrefined starches like sprout whole wheat (bread) and brown rice are ok as long as they are organic. I also emphasize natural (organic and preservative-free) dairy, like plain yogurt and cheese, while dairy in most forms forms is frowned upon while on the Paleo and GAPS diet.

Again, the biggest thing I aim for with my diet is optimizing the gut microbiome, but also utilizing ketones as fuel. Optimal gut microbiota is achieved by increasing probiotic and prebiotic foods, and avoiding those that contain the chemical glyphosate.

The pesticide disrupts the microbes in your gut (and your endocrine functioning) leading to leaky gut syndrome, and should be avoided at all costs. It also comes with a long list of other severely detrimental health effects, not the least of which is cancer.

There are several reasons why I opt for cooked vegetables over raw. First of all, warm, cooked foods nurture your body better than raw ones, and are easier to digest.

Some raw food proponent will offer that cooking will reduce the nutrients in vegetables, but this occurs mainly if they are boiled or steamed. This consideration is why I opt for pan-frying or roasting, besides having the opportunity to add healthy fats and herbs to cook them in, and avoiding the use of microwaves.

However, cooking improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in most veggies, and also reduces the anti-nutrient content in all of them. Anti-nutrients are plant-defense mechanisms that serve to ward off prospective predators, and they make the nutrients in the food less bioavailable for the body’s uptake.

Anti-nutrients include things like lectins, phytic acid, and oxalates (also made by the human body) with interferes with calcium absorption, specifically. They are abundant in beans and other legumes, spinach, swiss chard, beets and cacao, and many other plants.

Toxins (Artificial and Naturally-Occurring) to Avoid

  • Glyphosate, and other endocrine disruptors.
    • Artificial flavors, preservatives/parabens and phthalates:
      • a number of studies have found phthalates such as DEHP in bottled water and soda.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids
    • Omega-6, especially in the quantities consumed in the typical Western diet, is pro-inflammatory, and increase the risk of diseases that stem from them. The recommended healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is between 1-to-1 and 4-to-1, but Western dieters may generally consume a ratio between 15-to-1.
    • In particular, conventional cooking oils (containing chemicals used while processing) are extremely high omega-6s and offer virtually no omega-3 content, and are thus highly-inflammatory and have other negative side effects. However, while whole foods with naturally-occurring omega-6s – like many nuts and seeds – are undoubtedly have more moderate amounts and are better for your gut since they don’t contain the chemicals, they still offer very little omega-3, and should be eaten in moderation. And those that are prone to mold infestation like peanuts, pistachios and pecans should be avoided, or even eaten in greater moderation.
  • Phytic and oxalic acid (antinutrients)
    • Broccoli (high calcium/low oxalate, also has polyphenol, sulforaphane)
    • Cooked red/white onion
      • Pre/probiotic, polyphenols (quercetin—activates sirtuins and aids in killing senescent cells)
  • Starches, grains, simple carbs sugars
    • Organic, gluten-free whole grains like whole grain rice and corn are ok.
      • Sprouted grain and sourdough bread are okay to have sporadically, as whole wheat sourdough is at least prebiotic, and sprouted grains have higher nutrient and antioxidant content, and lower anti-nutrient content (phytic acid, lectins) than traditional grains, in addition to being easier to digest and lower glycemic.
  • Alcohol, which sterilizes and kills microbes
  • Antibiotics (absolutely destroy gut microbiota)

Careful Considerations

However, I feel compelled to point out one major caveat is that if you are constantly worrying over avoiding toxins, this self-inflicted stress may be doing a number on you at least on par with ingesting these substances themselves.

A nervous system perpetually in sympathetic mode can cause all sorts of oxidation, and have far reaching mental and physical symptoms. These include brain fog, memory loss, inability to stay asleep and poor sleep quality, reduced immune function, increased inflammation, water retention, visceral fat gain and muscle protein breakdown, and Cushing’s syndrome, among others.

Stress in itself can dramatically impact your microbiome by increasing cell membrane permeability, and leading to leaky gut syndrome.

Therefore, you will potentially be counteracting any benefits gained through these dietary guidlines. So, don’t become fixated on what you are consuming and avoiding. Remember, everything in moderation.

Besides diet, there are several things you can do to contribute to your gut’s health and your body’s metabolism, many of them are via counteracting stress directly or otherwise.

Other Factors Influencing Your Physiology, Microbiome and Digestion/Metabolism

  • Measures to improve gut health, stress management, and digestion/metabolism (conducive to the nervous system’s parasympathetic or ‘rest and digest’ mode)
    • Abdominal breathing (breathe awareness) and body awareness/relaxation
    • Exercising
  • Measures to benefit the microbiome, specifically
    • Getting adequate sleep (also helps mitigate stress)
    • Spending time in the sun/nature
      • Exposure to the microbiome at large will benefit your internal gut microbiome. Breathing in the microbes in fresh air can benefit your gut.
      • Additionally, outdoor time increases serotonin in the gut, and also can be seen as stress management. Sun exposure also has the added benefit of providing your body vitamin D, which has a number of health-improving benefits like boosting your immune system and decreasing stress levels.
  • Mitigating stress, specifically
    • Mind awareness (meditation, mental inventory)
  • Improving digestion/metabolism
    • Sufficient time between last meal and laying down to sleep
    • Not overeating

As I mentioned before, one of my mantras is ‘everything in moderation.’ Following this principle should bring balance to your life, and prevent you from stressing out over frivilous things.

This rule of thumb also applies to supplements—you don’t need to be supplementing everyday. Ideally, you should strive to skip a multivitamin altogether, and cycle the specific micronutrients you think you may be deficient in on and off.

Besides the fact that the body has better uptake of vitamins and minerals naturally-occurring in food than supplements or foods fortified with them, excessive amounts or iron or zinc can actually have detrimental effects of health.

The same goes for antioxidants. There are many more components to longevity and body function than just free radical damage, i.e., epigenome disruption.

Our bodies, and immune system in particular, do need some oxidation (stress). The requirement of some free radical exposure to the mitochondria in cells (the builder component) in order to function is known as mitohormesis.

A 2008 study by Harvard Medical School researcher and ‘longevity expert’ Dr. David Sinclair suggested that the effects effects of the polyphenol, resveratrol, on sirtuins activation, cell longevity and cancer prevention are independent of their antioxidant properties.

In the study, the researchers modified one molecule in the polyphenol to remove the antioxidant component, and it still have the same effect on aging in yeast. This finding indicates it was ability of resveratrol to activate the sirtuins pathway and defenses against, rather than it’s antioxidant effect that extended lifespan. In fact, when given solely antioxidants, the yeast lived shorter.

In the words of Dr. Sinclair, “turn on the body’s defenses, don’t give it anti-oxidants.”

It’s very similar to the argument between natural immunity vs Covid vaccines or other unnatural prevention methods, like mask wearing, hand sanitizing and indoor isolation. If your immune system isn’t put to the test and periodically exposed to microbes and pathogens, how can you expect it to retain its ability to ward off infections?

The same can be said about gut health. If you are frequently taking antibiotics and using alcohol, creating a sterile environment in your gut and digestive tract, how can you expect the microbes to flourish?

The following are a few fats, micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and plant compounds to consider implementing in your diet. They offer various benefits, including anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects, reducing oxidative stress, decreasing liver fat (and waist size), improving heart health, and boosting cognition.

I’ll give a brief overview of some of the compounds and how they benefit health, but for more in-depth analysis, please do your own due dillegence.

What To Target in Your Diet:

  • Omega 3s (better from animals than plants, as it’s more readily absorped)
    • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), specifically
      • Chia seeds and flaxseed oil are high in omega-3 and contain only trace amounts of omega-6
  • Monounsaturated fat, specifically oleic acid (olive oil)
  • Vitamin B complex (B1, knows as thiamine, specifically combats stress)
  • Vitamin D (reduces stress and depression, improves sleep and immune function)
  • Vitamins E and K
  • Fish oils and fatty fish (high in omega-3, vitamin D and B1)
    • The healthy fats and vitamins in fatty fish can combat stress and depression and improve sleep quality and brain function.
  • Beneficial plant compounds
    • Xenohermetic plants – a particular plant having underwent stress, which can have a longevity-conferring effect in consumers of those plants
      • xeno = between species, hermesis = ‘whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’
      • Examples of xenohermetic plants whould be ones that are brightly colored from excess sun exposure, have signs of partial insect infestations, etc. They can be found at farmers markets or organic grocers.
    • Polyphenols (antioxidants)
      • Resveratrol, a plant-defense molecule made to active sirtuin genes in plants
      • Curcumin, an anti-inflammatory, which stimulates metabolism and autophagy, boosts mitochondrial biogenesis (via AMPK pathway) and improves uptake of plant omega 3)
      • Epigallocatechin EGCG, (found in green tea) which has anti-cancer and metabolic-boosting properties

Self-Awareness and Inner-Turmoil

For the most part, I’ve lived by myself since Summer 2019, with a few several-month stints living with my parents, on farms, or in hostels interspersed.

I was on my own for the entirety of the initial phase of the Covid outbreak from early Feb 2020 through May 2020. During this stretch was when I first began practicing Qigong regularly, taking inventory of my faculties and abilities, and working on improving myself.

One thing that could probably go without saying is that your self-awareness usually increases when you spend so much time in solitude reflecting. However, what I want to draw attention to with this post, is that this self-awareness can quickly become self-rumination, especially when living in seclusion.

The Caveat of Self-Awareness

The seminal 1972 book, A theory of objective self awareness by Duval and Wicklund, the fathers of self-awareness theory, explains that when we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. 

Thus, we can draw the conclusion that when we are made aware of our behaviors and conduct, particularly the poor ones, they are likely to improve, in order to align with our standards, morals, and worldview.

Individuals will be negatively affected if they don’t live up to their personal standards or in accordance with their morals, subjecting themselves to negative outcomes or feelings like shame (external or internal), guilt, or depression/anxiety. Therefore, they are more likely to engage in a particular positive behavior to avoid or alleviate a negative outcome, feeling, or trait—this is known as negative reinforcement.

However, as improving behavior or conduct is something exclusively up to the individual, the likelihood they will take the measures needed is situational, and depends on the motivations (or lack thereof) of the particular person. There is no guarantee that even someone who is highly self-aware will take the initiative needed for self-improvement.

When you live as a recluse and can hide away from society, it is extremely easy to avoid putting yourself in the public domain in an attempt to lower the probability of being exposed to social shame or guilt. Thus, making yourself only susceptible to your own self-loathing.

And when you spend so much time in your own head, chances are good you also can become the center of your own world. Though you remove the potential of exposure to negative outcomes from situations, or public shame, guilt, or depression/anxiety.

We must consider that there are two forms of internal analysis that self-awareness can improve one’s tendency towards—self-reflection and self-rumination. These distinct mechanisms for evaluation can be observed through the lens of a particular self-awareness phenomenon, the self-absorption paradox.

The Self-Absorption Paradox

This term coined by Trapnell and Campbell details the contradictory association in which higher levels of self-awareness are positively correlated with both higher levels of psychological distress and well-being. The determining factor for which of these results comes from the distinction between self-reflection and self-rumination.

In 1999, Trapnell and Campbell explored the self-absorption paradox in relation to private self-consciousness or attention to internal aspects of the self. They concluded that the relationship of self- awareness to psychological distress derived from a ruminative aspect of private self-consciousness, whereas the relationship of self-awareness to psychological well-being was attributed to self-contemplative reflection.

Lorraine E. Fleckhammer, Insight into the Self-Absorption Paradox

More recent studies which further explored this concept demonstrated a positive correlation between self-reflection and empathy and perspective taking, and a negative correlation between self-rumination and perspective taking. Self-rumination was also again shown to be positively correlated with personal distress.

You are probably at least vaguely familiar with the concept of self-reflection. This is the process of actively taking a mental inventory of past occurrences, thoughts, and emotions for the sake of learning about ourselves and attaining inner growth. It’s an excellent tool for determining if our expectations matched our experiences, and what we need to do to bring them into congruence.

On the other hand, self-rumination is incessantly mulling over past events, primarily those associated with negative emotions. But, rather than pinpointing where our expectations differed from our reality or how things actually played out (and making changes to align them), when ruminating the individual primarily imagines “what if” scenarios for their past experiences.

Self-rumination is the ugly cousin of self-reflection. It focuses only on the causes and consequences of problems, stopping short of identifying ways to remedy them. Thus, we are stuck in a carousel of negative self-talk, with no perceived tool at our disposal to stop the ride.

Rather than taking stock of and discerning the factors in our control that created the disconnect between expectations and reality, and what potential actions we can take to better match our expectations with the outcome in the future (self-reflection), fretting over or romanticizing how things could be different with no plan of action only creates stress and anxiety. Which I know firsthand can lead to depression.

The key, obviously, is to engage yourself in self-reflection, rather than rumination. But, how do we achieve this?

How to Tip the Scale From Rumination Towards Self-Reflection

Recognition is essential to pivot from the tendency of rumination towards reflection. Though they may be largely self-aware, for these individuals it is difficult to identify when they are in a state of turmoil. One thing that can really help lead to the realization you are tolling over your thoughts is a mindfulness practice.

Meditation also assists in being present, rather than second-guessing the past or romanticizing the future. And when you can be fully immersed in the moment, you become more conscious of your thoughts and actions.

It helps you detach—from both a particularly stressful situation or event, and probably, more importantly, your thoughts from your awareness, which are just creations of your sensory perceptions. Regular practice can strengthen this dissociation between emotions and awareness, and lead to the insight that your ruminating is irrational.

The positive benefits of self-awareness and isolation may certainly outweigh the drawbacks. But increased personal distress is also likely, depending on the individual, and is thus something to be self-aware of. 😉

– CC

The Analog–Digital Happy Medium

I have long been a proponent for physical manifestations (of whatever) over their digital counterparts. In my opinion, there is considerable rationale for this outlook.

Besides the security that comes from being able to hold something you possess in your hand, I find that I experience much less frustration and much more well-being when living in the physical realm rather than the digital.

However, I think it’s important to find a balance between the two, as the way it looks, digital life will largely replace the physical component in the coming years and decades.

However, to what extent remains to be seen. On the doomsday end of the spectrum are those who believe the ‘metaverse‘ will completely wipe clean physical life as we know it.

Picture someone sitting on their couch wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset, who doesn’t look or smell like they’ve showered in four days, never mind left the house. Fast food bags – delivered by DoorDash or UberEats – litter the surrounding area in their 86th floor, cubicle-sized smartment (yes, I just coined this term).

However, based on what we know historically of the flops of SecondLife and Google Glass, and the fading popularity of games like Pokémon Go, there is certainly some probability that the Metaverse only materializes into a fraction of what some are assuming.

I’m somewhere in the center of the debate. There’s no denying cryptocurrency, and especially blockchain technology has already proven its utility in several regards and thus will very likely have long-term staying power.

Despite my stance on digital assets and lifestyle, I am a crypto-supporter (but wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a crypto-enthusiast). I advocate strongly for autonomy, and thus am a proponent of the blockchain and Bitcoin as currency, as they inhibit the concentration of power in the hands of the few.

In my opinion, crypto-related assets, like non-fungible tokens (NTFs) will be here to stay. However, I’m not so sure what longevity other facets, such as augmented and virtual reality will have.

I also am skeptical of how these technologies will prove Web 3.0 to be a counter movement to the powers that be, as so many enthusiasts suggest. I think there is a clear distinction between Bitcoin – it’s functionality and what it represents – and other Web3 fixtures, like Ethereum and NFTs.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and formerly Twitter, was recently quoted saying, “if your goal is anti-establishment, I promise you it isn’t Ethereum.”

What the metaverse will become will be a result of the utility it provides. To quote Jussi Askola, contributor for financial news and opinion blog, Seeking Alpha:

‘In short, we must ask what problem the metaverse is trying to solve. Is it trying to fix what is not broken? Has it lost touch with the strictures of reality in an attempt to revolutionize?’

Well, let’s pull back the curtain and take a peek into the ‘verse, shall we?

Life to Come in the Metaverse

Despite all the unknowns, there is one thing that I can say with certainty, because it is a development that has already played out to some extent for some time. Well, I won’t say it, exactly…I’ll allow angel investor and former Coinbase CTO, Balaji Srinivasan, to set the stage.

Balaji is someone who I will continue to defer to in this post, as I gained much insight from him on the topics of crypto and Web3 in a recent episode of the Tim Ferriss show he was featured on. This time, what resonated particularly strong with me, was:

If victory in the physical realm is invading someone’s territory, victory in the digital realm is invading their mind.

Rather than ‘the marketplace of ideas’, the last few years have been the battlefield of ideas—now we understand cancel culture, deplatforming, unbanking not as disputes within a free society, but as digital warfare.

Balaji Srinivasan, on Bitcoin, The Great Awokening, Reputational Civil War, and Much More

While this notion isn’t necessarily metaverse-centric, the ‘battle of the mind’ will certainly grow more fierce as it comes further to fruition. Large scale social media companies began deplatforming dissenters en mass during the Trump era, which was really the first manifestation of this warfare in the Internet era that I can recall.

However, the idea is something that really took shape during the birth of the digital age with television and movies, and even somewhat predates that. The first iteration of this practice can be seen in even more primitive entertainment mediums, like radio and even theater.

These media outlets and entertainment companies often have ulterior motives, or at the very least, profit motives, and seek to influence the thoughts and (purchase) behaviors of their audience.

And as we can see with deplatforming, power concentrated in the hands of these corporations also prevents the presentation of a variety of ideas, especially if they contradict the motives of the company, and thus stifles freedom (of speech, in particular).

This autonomy is something that Web3 will aim to achieve. Allegedly, it will bring the power back to the collective rather than a centralized intermediary.

With the third iteration of the ‘Web, individuals will own their own data. Keep in mind though, it will be public, considering how blockchain technology works. The record of all users online goings-on will be on-chain.

As a supporter of privacy, I’m not typically in favor of a public record of all my activities. But if it prevents large cap tech companies from having and using that data to their advantage, I am all for it.

Additionally, and more importantly, if everything is on-chain, it will have powerful implications for those in the public eye, like politicians and celebrities. This record should certainly create more accountability.

It’s known as the ledger of record concept, and should be viewed as on-chain cryptographic truth.

To show that somebody said something, you won’t link to Twitter, you’ll link to the crypto-Twitter version – the on-chain record – that shows they posted or said this. And because it’s protected by proof-of-work or a similar consensus algorithm, you can compute how much money would be required to falsify that.

You have multiple confirmations from economically-misaligned actors, it’s not just one source.

Balaji Srinivasan

Rather than relying on corporate journalism to be a whistleblower (I made myself laugh there) it will potentially be the bitcoin (BTC) blockchain ledger that exposes corporate greed, campaign donations and other heinous crimes by high profile individuals.

Again, in the words of Balaji,”not NYT, but BTC.”

The coming conflict between corporate interests (woke capital) and crypto enthusiasts (crypto capital) is the age-old battle of David and Goliath, i.e., corporate or State-sponsored journalists vs. independent citizens and journalists. The clash can also be likened to central bankers vs the people.

This specific debate around Bitcoin has individuals’ sets of morals at its core, and is a microcosm of the debate between centralization and decentralization.

Bitcoin is not simply an engineering innovation, it has implications and principles bound up in it for how one lives—debt & inflation, bank bailouts bad, freedom and pseudonymity good. You don’t feel like you’re submitting to somebody when buying gold…

…it is unlikely there will be a technical attack on BTC going forward— only a potential regulatory or software attack. But outside of that, its community is so strong it could probably repair on that. A regulatory attack is also less likely to kill it, because the US is losing control of the world.

Balaji Srinivasan

This is true, but was an unraveling many decades in the works. The US government had sunk deeply into debt and lost much respect in many countries worldwide well before all the stimulus and bond-buying programs that went into effect after the outbreak of COVID.

Unfortunately, we’re no longer in the early innings of these developments—I’d say it may be past the point that the damage done is reversible.

Physical vs Digital Government

The current model of American democracy is outdated. Its policies don’t resonate with its citizens, and its measures for mitigating threats have been pathetic over the last several decades.

Just look at its response to the coronavirus outbreak, which was a disaster, or the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was a failure of epic proportions 20 years and two trillion dollars in the making.

There is considerable pushback at the state level within the US (vaccine mandates being blocked in Texas and differing state cannabis legislation nationwide) and from abroad in places like El Salvador (accepting Bitcoin as a valid form of currency), that are taking positions which contradict the federal government’s.

As it’s grip loosens on international and subordinate parties which it has fallen out-of-touch with, individuals resisting as well may not be so far off.

Inflation will most likely to continue to gather steam from here, and more and more people may opt for cryptocurrency as their primary store of wealth.

Inflation in itself could be a sufficient impetus to civil unrest. However, if the federal government were to attempt seizure of citizens cryptocurrency, there very well could be an uprising.

We are already seeing government intervention in Canada between the banking system and Canadian citizens—in this particular instance as a reactive measure to the ‘Freedom Convoy’ movement.

The federal government there instructed financial institutions to freeze funds of individuals tied to the movement, prompting organizers to declare they would “sow mistrust in both the banking system and the government and the repercussions will be felt for years to come.”

Even if an attempted seizure of BTC doesn’t ever materialize, recently smaller geographical governing bodies in cities like Miami and state like Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming have been pandering to crypto enthusiasts.

As cities and states build out their own cryptocoins and crypto infrastructure, seemingly, the center and south of the country may sort of diverge from the West Coast and the Northeast.

But this won’t be division in terms of Democrat-Republican—it will be more along the lines of decentralization vs. centralization, as mentioned. Certain areas will draw cryto-backers, while others will repel them and cater to centralists.

Effectively, ‘woke capital’ (left-leaning corporations and State supporters) on one side and crypto capital (Bitcoin maximalists and decentralization advocatoes) on the other. Proponents of Web3 would likely fall somewhere in the middle in the center.

Thus, ‘ideological and geographic victory no longer coincide. Within jurisdictions that were previously entirely red or blue, there will be sanctuary states and cities for crypto which may block bitcoin seizure.

These municipalities will likely have their own form of currency, as I mentioned, that is at odds with the US dollar.

I’m saving all the specifics for a future posts, but essentially, it could work like this—you pay a fee – in the form of that local currency – to an entity in your geographical jurisdiction in return for access to everything that typically comes with residency somewhere.

For example, paying x number of dollars to the state or municipal government per year, in order to satisfies your obligation to live there. In return, you receive access to a birth certificate, driver’s license, property rights, and logins of various forms.

One practical example of this is Singapore’s Sing Pass.

In addition to the subscription component, it is likely these municipalities will run on some form of inflation model as well. Inflation could be controlled using a citycoin that is tethered to various other commodities, like soybeans, or oil.

Similarly to how blockchain technology will dictate facts and prove truths, the performance of a given elected official will be judged by comparing the value of that currency before they took office, and at the end of their term, or at any given point along the way. If the value increased they had performed well, and if it decreased their performance was subpar.

This model is somewhat comparable to a SaaS company‘s subscription model and its equity.

And it’s not all that outlandish to think that these service-oriented companies, especially those which have formed communities around its currency, could be running physical economies in the not-terribly distant future.

Currently, we think of companies, currencies, cities, countries and communities as being different things… But they’re all gonna become the same thing—essentially, the projection of a social network. All of these things settle around chains.

A blockchain is property rights, identity, historical record, marriage and birth certificates, what sale occurred at what time, who paid who, etc. A society can run all the stuff it currently does at city hall on a blockchain.

Balaji Srinivasan

As I alluded to earlier, there will be a divergence with haecceity from anything we’ve seen before. Traditional party lines will be blurred, and it will become centralists vs decentralists, rather than the historical Republican/Democrat separation.

There will hardcore social conservatives, who side with the State, and then freedom-loving ‘libertarians’, who side as Bitcoin decentralists.

You may be asking, ‘but what about the tech giants that side with the centralists and woke capital? Clearly, it wouldn’t be in their interest to establish their own economy. Right?’

Though many prominent tech CEOs are in crypto camp, some like Mark Zuckerberg and Meta (Facebook) have been more focused towards Ethereum than Bitcoin – coinciding with the metaverse and NFTs – which doesn’t (thus far) represent much ideology.

On the other side of the (bit)coin altogether from those like Dorsey/Block and it’s support of BTC, is Palantir, a tech company founded by Peter Thiel, specializing in big data analytics. The company works in conjunction with the US government by providing solutions (and suggestions) to the US military in order to ‘modernize legacy battlefield intelligence systems.’

From the company’s website:

Palantir has a long tradition of providing cutting-edge technology to the United States Armed Forces and its allies.

Palantir enables military forces to interact with data from all sensors and sources through a single point of access. With one coherent model, users can discover previously unseen links across their entire universe of data. With Palantir software, military forces can rapidly turn mountains of data into plans of action.

So it’s not too farfetched to believe these organization could eventually replace the State government altogether, on either end of the spectrum, especially when you think about how founders like Vitalik Buterin are already running communities and whole economies around their platforms (Ethereum).

SaaS and crypto companies very well may be the Web3 iterations of government. But again, their successes in the future will be dictated by the utility and depth of experience they offer their users.

Physical vs Digital Experiences

I believe we’re currently at a very interesting inflection point. As the pandemic wanes (to some degree), people are itching for the urge to get back out and experience life in the real world.

Companies that had provided much utility to customers in the hayday of the lockdowns, such as Zoom, Pinterest, Snap and Shopify, have seen user engagement decline recently, and are issuing guidance that suggests somewhat slowing growth.

For eCommerce companies like Shopify, hyperinflation growth, and unemployment benefits and other government assistance programs enacted early on in the pandemic coming to an end also contribute to the weak forward guidance.

On the other hand, organizations like AirBnB and Uber, which are still SaaS companies but have ties to real, physical world services, have seen growing demand since the latter part of 2021.

No doubt, people are eager to get back out there and experience all that the natural world has to offer. But how long will this awe and wonder remain intact?

Individuals and consumers are largely motivated by convenience. For evidence of this, look no further than American’s continued use of Google’s services despite the revelation of the company’s mass surveillance of its users, and how it subsequently provided that data to the CIA and NSA.

Thus, as people grow tired of the inconveniences of doing things in the flesh, and remember how much easier it is to simply press a button, will things revert from the old normal back to ‘the new normal’?

Though the popularity of Zoom hangouts has waned somewhat in recent months, the work-from-home phenomenon and virtual gatherings that picked up steam during the depths of the pandemic opened the eyes of many convenience-seekers, and have thus become an engrained facet of life.

And though AR and VR may prove to be flops, there is another form of vicarious living that has recently taken off—virtual online experiences. Companies like AirBnB, among others, are now offering online experiences like virtual tours and classes as an alternative to their traditional, in-person counterparts.

While I personally am much more apt to pursue the analog experience, I can certainly understand the appeals of instead opting for the virtual. Cost-saving, convenience, and comfort being the primary benefits.

However, I believe there is a negative correlation between comfort/convenience and fulfillment or satisfaction. The harder you work for something, the greater the payoff becomes when it is realized. And the world opens up when you (are forced to) step outside your comfort zone.

Unfortunately, spending your time shopping virtually or experiencing an African safari via AirBnB doesn’t cause you to step out of your comfort zone or experience inconveniences or complications much, and in my opinion, are thus less gratifying.

This brings up an interesting question.

Will a metaverse store that you can walk into with your VR avatar and try on 3D renderings of clothes ever be as gratifying for a consumer as the same experience in a physical brick-and-mortar location? An event where you found the perfect something you weren’t even looking for, and it was the last one in your size that was in stock. I seriously doubt it.

Maybe the more critical question is if interacting with others through virtual avatars will be more fulfilling than engaging with friends and family through Zoom or FaceTime, or even in the flesh, for that matter?

At odds with the notion that the metaverse will be theprimary way of experiencing life is the fact that, AR and VR applications have been around for years (and decades, in the case of Second Life) and have thus far been slow to gather steam, or have faded altogether.

Maybe their popularity will increase as the platforms are further built out and the novelty isn’t so quick to wear off, or maybe not. Many people who have used VR headsets report discomfort or motion sickness after brief periods of use. Never mind prolonged, hours-on-end exposure, which is the preferred timeframe of most video gamers I know.

It may even be the case that any real “metaverse” would be little more than some cool VR games and digital avatars in Zoom calls, but mostly just something we still think of as the Internet.”

Wired’s Eric Ravenscraft, What Is the Metaverse, Exactly?

As you can see, the scene he sets doesn’t even assume that people will at some point in the future again gather together in the flesh. Fortunately, for the analog advocates out there, myself included, I hope that the fact we have nature on our side will tip the scales to our advantage.

Personally, I’m just grateful to have grown up in the ’90s and 2000s—having to use the house phone to call up your neighborhood friends, and when their parents answered, ask if so-and-so was home, in order to finally talk to them and find out if they wanted to go outside and play baseball, or if they were in for a game of capture the flag later once the sun set.

I similarly have gratitude for trips to the mall with family as a child, or with friends in high school and college as a way to pass the time together. If you actually had something you wanted to buy, you had to hope the store would have it in stock, or you might have to search around for it.

The same thing with renting movies at Blockbuster. Remember Blockbuster??

There was always the chance the movie you wanted to rent wouldn’t be in stock. In which case your options were to either drive to a different store in hopes that one had copies available, or put your name on the waiting list.

Younger generations will never know what it’s like to be put on a waiting list; to let the anticipation build and have that delayed gratification once the company rings you up to let you know your item is back in stock, and you’re finally at the top of the list.

In addition, having to drive or shop (physically, in the mall) around in search of an item is basically as time-consuming as the digital shopping around equivalent. Granted, online perusing is a bit more cost-effective, especially with the way gas prices continue to rise.

But one-day or even one-hour delivery has taken a lot of fun out of and spoiled the shopping experience, in my opinion.

Sure it was somewhat frustrating when something you wanted was out of stock, but the waiting game was just part of the experience. And it made the gratification that much better when you finally had that something in your hands.

The emotion that comes with touching, holding something new (or old), and having it secured in your possession, especially after a long waiting period, is just an experience that can’t be replicated.

Besides just the heightened payoff from delayed gratification, hard goods have several other beneficial traits that digital assets can’t offer.

Physical, Hard Assets vs Digital (Soft) Assets

Perhaps the most advantageous characteristics of physical possessions is the security they offer. Security encompasses several forms—financial, and against malfunctioning.

Financial security in the sense that what you have physically in your possession can’t be taken away from you, except by extreme force. Cold, hard cash (though I don’t recommend keeping much of it), precious metals, and other physical stores of value must either be forfeited by the owner or taken from them through sheer will.

In contrast, digital assets, like stocks, funds in a bank account, and even cryptocurrency, depending on where it’s stored, can be inaccessible at times, and in extreme cases can even be gone in the blink of an eye, never to be recovered.

I’ve already written a blog post that goes into depth on the drawbacks of storing your ‘worth’ digitally, so I won’t rehash too much here. The main point to convey is these stores of value are susceptible to cyberattacks, application lockouts, and just general technological malfunction.

Which brings me to the other primary benefit of physical goods. Assurance against inaccessibilty, or against malfunction.

In the words of prolific Detroit house music icon, Moodymann:

A record may skip, but at least that bitch is still poppin’. If a laptop fucks up, that bitch gon’ shut down. Laptops ain’t really meant to perform in huge clubs where humidity is high, people are smoking, sweating—the club is hot. Sometimes, laptops aren’t aware of those conditions. Vinyl’s been used of those conditions since the ’60s.

Moodymann, Moodymann Talks Detroit and Being Independent

Another key – albeit, emotional – appeal of physically owning your possessions is the nostalgia element. As I alluded to earlier, you just can’t replicate the feeling of holding something you own in your hand with its digital counterpart.

For me, touching it, and maybe even moreso, smelling it can transport me to another time and place. Again, here’s Moodymann on the topic, speaking specifically about vinyl records:

“I like vinyl—I can touch it; I can feel it. Do you know what 60-year-old vinyl smells like? No, because you got your iPod. You don’t know the history. I’ve got records that smell like 1967. You cannot place that in an iPod…
…it’s a blessing to pull out a big piece of vinyl with my Grandmama’s name on it.”

Moodymann, Moodymann Talks Detroit and Being Independent


In addition to the nostalgia element, I’m hopeful that there’s another feature offered by independent, local outlets that can’t be achieved by their Metaversal, digital equivalents which will cement them as permanent fixtures—local flavor.

The ability to provide a local angle, and thus a sense of community is what prevented the handful of local newspapers and radio stations from going belly-up in the 2010s when these mediums went online. When Google proceeded to index them, it put all newspapers and radio stations in competition with each other, and those who were just running reprints of AP News stories and generically syndicating programming, respectively, quickly became obsolete.

Again, in the words of Moodymann:

“The radio stations now are owned by different companies not even in your town. They don’t give a fuck about what you think—this is what they’re playing right now. Our DJs more felt our city, our surroundings and had an honest opinion on what they thought we wanted to hear.”

My belief is that the audience will forever yearn for this local, humanized element, and those organizations able to provide will continue to prosper into the Metaverse.

Though things to come may appear bleak for the analog-lover, for these various reasons I’ve outlined I’m a strong believer that there will always be a place for physical living, commerce, and possessions in the future.

– C

The Two Minute Rule: An Easy Principle with Powerful Benefits

With the sheer volume of stimulation we’re faced with in the digital age, it is easy to become overstimulated and overwhelmed—to feel like you don’t have control of your life; like you aren’t in the driver’s seat.

All sorts of modern-day stressors are sending our adrenals into overdrive, causing a perpetually-active sympathetic mode (fight-or-flight) and resulting in feelings of habitual exhaustion or burnout. To make matters worse, this stimulation saturation amplifies the number of ‘impressions’ you are exposed to, making it difficult to remember distinct occurrences or thoughts in the future.

Overstimulation from clutter can compound the number of “tasks” you feel you must do, oftentimes insignificant things like canceling an impertinent email newsletter subscription or responding to someone’s post on your Facebook wall, which adds to your cognitive load.

Additionally, bombardment by a multitude of triggers like smartphones, email, and social media can result in overwhelm and worry/anxiety, which in turn elevates levels of cortisol, and in some instances, causes the dopamine effect—constant preoccupation with what stimulation is coming next, preventing full immersion in the current thought or activity.

Thus, dopamine addiction itself diminishes the ability to recall many occurrences in the future.

What’s more, this cognitive burden’s tendency to cause chronically-elevated cortisol levels has its own impact on working memory.

I know for me, it’s easy to become frustrated after forgetting a thought I just had seconds previously, often being something I needed to do. After much deliberation, the thought will generally come back to me, but in some rare instances, it’s gone forever, which usually compounds my frustration.

How To Reduce Cognitive Load and Improve Mental Function

One mechanism I’ve found helpful for decluttering the mind is the “two-minute rule” concept, suggested by David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done.

The basic idea is if a task will take less than two minutes to complete, do it right then when it first comes to your attention, or when it pops back into your head and is occupying your mental space.

You’d be surprised at how many seemingly-daunting things on your to-do can in actuality be achieved in two minutes or less. I think we have the tendency, at least in my case, you psych myself out about minor tasks I must accomplish.

While this technique is often touted for its productivity benefits, it offers several other significant advantages as well.

Being proactive and taking initiative on your to-do list declutters this mind space, freeing up mental capacity and allowing your memory a clean slate for the truly important things.

What’s more, the two minute rule reduces the tendency to work yourself up and stress out over the little things that could be easily stamped out.

A better sense of accomplishment gained by completing even simple tasks allows you to feel in control of your life and that your situation is improving—two of the primary methods for mitigating stress and cortisol.

Thus, employing the two minute rule can also indirectly improve memory and awareness/immersion. It’s a self-feeding cycle.

So what are you waiting for? I’m sure there’s something you can think of you need to tackle which will take two minutes or less. Go ahead and knock it out and realize the immediate benefits of this technique!

How to Not Get Mugged in A Foreign Country: A Quick Guide to Kinesics and Common Sense

As I’ve alluded to in other posts, body language and conduct speak volumes. As the main components of your outward appearance along with style of dress, these are the first few things passersby notice about you.

And in a foreign country where a different language is spoken, the aura you emit is one of the few things used by outsiders to gauge your character. How you come off to others really is one of, if not the most important determinants of if you will be robbed or not.

Preventitive Measures

Most importantly, you don’t want to be perceived as a target. The most discerning characteristics in this regard are kinesics – nonverbal behavior related to movement – and demeanor.

This involves both being confident but not overly boisterous or obnoxious – and also not appearing fearful. When you exude fear or arrogance, you appear weak or flawed, and stick out like a sore thumb.

On a related note, be cautious of the clothes you wear. Looking too flashy may make you a target. Try to be less conspicuous and blend in more.

Use a Dummy Wallet

Always carry two wallets…a fake one with minimal amounts of money, and your real one. If you do indeed fall victim to a mugging, you can offer up the dummy wallet and the mugger will be none the wiser.

Travel in Packs or Take Private Transportation

Travel in groups whenever possible. If traveling alone, be mindful of your surroundings. And if staying in one place for a while, take different routes to and from your residence.

At night, walk in groups or stick to populated areas. Choose streets that are lit well. After dark, take a taxi home no matter how close you are to your apartment, hotel or AirBnb.

Reactionary Measures

What to Do While Being Robbed

Pull out everything they want and throw it on the ground away from you. It’s not worth losing your life over an iPhone and some money. These things can be replaced, but you cannot.

Have a Backup or Hardcopy of Important Information

Leave a list of important numbers (credit cards and their international phone numbers, loved ones’ phone numbers, etc) on a note so you have access to it. A good idea is to have that info hidden online in your email or other accounts.

Create a Skype account. Making free calls online is a lifesaver when you need to reach out to loved ones.

Own Two Internet-accessible Devices

The first two suggestions don’t really matter much if you don’t have a way to get online if your phone has been stolen. So have two devices with Internet access, or at the bare minimum a backup phone that can make international calls.

For example, have a smartphone and a laptop or tablet. That way, if you lose one, you can go back and use the other to track the other, erase things if needed, and also contact your financial institution or credit card companies.

On a related note, if you have a chance to recover your phone, you can set it in “Lost” Mode, and it will lock it from being used. That way you can still track it and possibly recover it without worrying about the information on it being taken.

If you have an iPhone, make sure you have the Find My iPhone app enabled so you can erase the contents of your phone if needed or want to track where the phone is.

In general, never carry your credit card with you, and bring only as much cash as you think you will need for your activities when you leave your apartment or hotel.

Leave Your Passport at Home

Though this is drawing more scrutiny lately in Mexico, particularly, due to increased regulation of tourists, opting to take a photocopy of your passport with you instead of the actual passport itself is highly advisable.

Though there is a chance not carrying the legitimate version on your person could result in a fine or at worst, land you a stint in jail, which is unlikely, at least you will still have the passport in your possession.

The last thing you want is to be stuck without a passport, preventing mobility and subjecting yourself you the likelihood you end up in jail if you are stopped without one.

Final Advice

Finally, it is important to not let one incident take away your enjoyment of a place. Stay positive, and keep in mind that it was an isolated incident—one bad apple should not ruin the whole bunch.

Cognitive Bias and Recouping Losses in Investing: Cutting Your Loses and Letting Your Winners Run

One investing lesson I was fortunate enough to learn early on was how to swallow your pride, and take a loss from your investments.

Though it can be a tough pill to swallow in the short-term, the benefits (capital appreciation) in the long run generally will greatly outweigh any short-term losses suffered—if you can take emotion out of the equation and not dictate your investing practices, which is often easier said than done.

Acting Rationally, and Sooner Rather Than Later?

When you are down considerably or even in the red on a stock purchase, recovering your cost basis, or “getting back to even” is something that could be a years-long process, or potentially may never occur.

In the meantime, you can miss out on significant gains you could have realized had you bit the bullet and sold for a loss –and then redeployed that capital elsewhere. Additionally, you can take advantage of tax-loss harvesting when you sell for a loss.

The trickiest part is deciding when to cut your losses. Obviously, a smaller loss is always preferable. But, as no one can predict or perfectly time the market, there is an ever-present chance that your losses will only grow rather than shrink.

The law of compounding can make matters even worse. However, the power of compounding usually can be seen as an investor’s best friend.

How Compounding Works

A quick explanation for any newcomer to personal finance, is that, when the value of the individual investments you own goes up (or down), the balance in your investment account will go up (or down). As long as you leave the difference invested, your returns will have the opportunity to compound over time.

More important than timing the market is time in the market. The longer you stay invested, the more time your potential earnings get to compound, and the greater your potential growth. Both in terms of compound interest (if the stock is dividend-paying) and compounding returns in general.

Mind you, this phenomenon also works the same way with losses. The longer you stay invested, the larger those losses – relative to your principle – become.

The biggest takeaway is that a stock is worth what it is worth today—not what you paid for it; not what it may be worth in the future. The best thing you can do is to view any individual holding in terms of current equity (value), rather than your principle, or total gains or losses.

Sterile Society Conundrum: The 30 Day Candidiasis Detox Experiment

I thought it was finally time. After years of dragging my feet, I feel like I finally had the motivation and rationale to detoxify myself.

My recent research has suggested that many of the physical and mental unpleasant conditions I had been experiencing for a while but had been more severe as of late – brain fog; mild, self-diagnosed OCD – may be tied to leaky gut syndrome (gut dysbiosis), internal parasites or, my most-hypothesized culprit, candida overgrowth.

Candida is a yeast fungus that makes it’s home inside the digestive tract that breeds on sugar and other refined carbs. A yeast infection is the common term for candidiasis (candida overgrowth) of the vagina.

When “leaky gut” manifests – which is a loosing of the cellular junctions of your intestinal walls – candida can permeate these walls so that toxic byproducts get into the bloodstream, resulting in a myriad of problems.

For years, the irritating symptoms waxed and waned, but were never really enough to persuade me to actually begin a detox protocol. These included tinea versicolor, perpetual bad breathe, fatigue and brain fog, weight loss (but visceral fat gained), the occasional bloody stool and potentially depression, but I suspect this last condition should not be attributed solely to poor gut microbiome or parasite…

However, there is much scientific evidence confirming that 80–90 percent of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin is created in the gut.

What finally convinced me to take initiative was the hypothesized insight I gained through my research to suggest the thinning hair and dry, flaking skin I had been experiencing may actually be due to something more than just stress; for example, an autoimmune disease – like hypothyoidism – resulting from intestinal parasites, or leaky gut syndrome, or maybe just as a result from a poor gut microbiome/mycobiome itself.

I had been toying with the idea of partaking in an Ayahuasca ceremony – which I still intend to undertake in order to come face-to-face with the deep-seated sources of stress – but decided to forgo it for the time being, and first pursue the less intense path to clarity. Especially given my uncertainty as to the root cause of my symptoms.

Like I said, my hunch was that it stemmed from fungal overgrowth in the gut – compounded by poor diet and stress – potentially spanning all the way back to summer 2019 when I had taken an oral corticosteroid (antibiotic), Prednisone, for a prolonged period, to combat a severe rash from contact with a Chechen tree, aka, the black poisonwood tree.

Many of its side effects aligned with the symptoms that I experienced. You can see for yourself what some of the unsatisfied customers to whom it was prescribed in the past had to say, here.

You see, antibiotics are intended to suppress the immune system, but they also destroy bacterial microorganisms living in the large intestine (gut). To be exact, roughly one-third of them within five days of taking it, according to gastroenterologist Dr. Robynne Chutkan.

Interestingly, the chemical glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, was first patented as – yup, you guess it, an antibiotic. The chemical, which has been linked to increased risk of cancer, autism and a variety of endocrine system disorders, was found in 80-90% of sampled wheat flour and wheat-containing products (like pizza, pasta and crackers), and 67% and 63% of soybean and corn products sampled, respectively.

Glyphosate in Roundup isn’t the only instance in which chemicals can have adverse effects on the gut microbiome, creating leaky gut and ultimately leading to autoimmune and psychological disorders.

Many hand sanitizers contain the chemical triclosan, which is toxic to gut microbes, as well as being a known endocrine disruptor, which can cause thyroid problems and other hormonal issues.

Based on the evidence, the chemically-induced sterile environment we increasingly find ourselves in – which was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic – is clearly not benefitting our internal world. But that’s a topic for a separate post altogether…

One of the functions of these bacterial microbes in the gut is to keep the fungal microbes in check, and vice versa. So, in the same sense, taking an anti-fungal medication can have the consequence of creating a bacterial overgrowth. It is a symbiotic relationship, in which one serves to keep the other in check, preventing it from growing to an unfriendly level and becoming pathogenic.

Whatever was ultimately the source of my discomfort, through my research I discovered one diet that was proclaimed to be a surefire cure for leaky gut syndrome and all of its ancillary physical and psychological conditions and symptoms, some of which I was myself experiencing.

GAPS Diet Protocol

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet is something that has been touted to heal leaky gut and autoimmune diseases, as well as being claimed to cure a variety of psychological conditions, including general brain fog, depression, autism, bipolar disorder, OCD and ADD/ADHD.

The diet relies mainly on bone broth and fermented juices and vegetables (which contribute to gut microbiome health), especially in the early stages. It also requires removing foods its creator thinks contribute to heightened toxicity in the bloodstream via a leaky gut, including refined sugar, grains (especially the conventionally-produced variety), and starchy vegetables.

GAPS Guidelines:

  • Do not eat meat and fruit together.
  • Use organic foods whenever possible.
  • Eat animal fats, coconut oil, or cold-pressed olive oil at every meal.
  • Consume bone broth with every meal.
  • Consume large amounts of fermented foods, if you can tolerate them.
  • Avoid packaged and canned foods.

My Ideal Diet

To avoid:
– Glyphosate and endocrine distruptors (endocrine distruptors & gut disbiosis culprits)
– Oxalic and phytic acid (phytoestrogens)
– Inflammatory agents (sugar and omega-6)
To eat:
– Solid but not overcooked pastured-raised or organic eggs; unpasteurized greek or homemade yogurt and kefir; aged cheese; shellfish/seafood (non-fried, or fried in coconut oil w/coconut flour); liver and other organ meats; grass-fed or organic beef; avocado; cooked spinach, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies (to reduce oxalate and phytic acid content); chlorella supplements; dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao; less sugar, ^ magnesium, iron, antioxidants, however, a lot of oxalate)
– Fermented veggies (sauerkraut, cauliflower, asparagus, carrot)

Cheat day

– Still avoid artificial colors and other additives, and commercially produced grains and starches (glyphosate)
– Omega-6 and sugar ok, if food is organic
– Toast using sourdough bread, organic if possible

For those readers who are interested, I chronicled my journey in a fair amount of detail. The daily log of what I ate and how I felt is pretty lengthy, so I relegated that aspect of the post to the end. You can skip it that component here.

For the majority of readers – who simply want the takeaways – here are my discoveries.

Insights after Eight Days on GAPS:

  • Energy/fat adaption
    • What was curious was that I typically had more energy after a large, carb-packed lunch than I did after one which was predominantly protein and fat. I think that the fact I felt more satiated after gorging on empty carbs than ketosis-satisfying fat and protein that is a testament to how off-kilter my gut microbiome was.
      • Didn’t seem to ever reach fat-adaption stage, as energy level and brain fog weren’t much improved by day nine
    • More energy at night on day nine after adding starches, grains back into the mix
  • Candidiasis/fungal infection
    • Skin of face still had not cleared up much, however there had maybe been some improvement in dandruff, hair mites. Over the few days previous, I had noticed some scabs at the front of my hairlines. They looked worse than anything I had seen before, but I took that as a sign that the parasites or bacteria was dying off. By day nine, the scabs mostly had been flaked off.
    • Bad breath seemed to have maybe? scaled back a bit, but athletes’ foot/toe fungus hadn’t seemed to improve much. I would get a whiff of the bad breath when I would come up from bending over in a pose during my regular qigong routine. I think it had to do with my neck and throat muscles being relaxed, allowing for an open pathway to the stomach that I could actually smell it, suggesting the root cause to be just clenching or contracting the neck and throat muscles—or so I thought…
      • This really made me second guess the whole thesis of candidiasis as the cause of my symptoms, rather potentially stemming simply from emotional and structural stress and holding tension in the muscles instead
      • However, since I was experiencing other symptoms in addition to muscle knots, exclusively (like dandruff and scabs on the scalp, visceral fat, and brain fog), the underlying cause had to be more than simply tensing up. And the more I learned about cortisol (also commonly known as the stress hormone), the more I am convinced that elevated cortisol levels was actually at the root of the issue—but more on that later…
  • Body composition
    • Muscle protein breakdown (MPB), especially in biceps, glutes, and visceral fat reappeared after day 1 starting back on carbs.
    • Begun to get the impression that 16hr intermittent fasting day-in and day-out without proper anaerobic exercise (HIIT, strength training) may have me withering away.
  • Sugar/carb cravings
    • After the first several days, I had seemingly less cravings for sweets, but it was certainly possible I just had less thoughts or impulses about them because they were taboo, and were pushed further to the back of my mind with each day. Either way, I had less instances of wanting to act on those impulses. Now that I’ve back on starches for a few days, I’m intrigued to see how this plays out.
    • Update (one week later): The cravings absolutely came back. Dopamine-induced thoughts of what my next fix will be plague my head, and in some instances even had kept me up at night.

I know the diet is meant to be pursued for months, and ideally at least 1.5–2 years for the full phase. So to discount it after only 10 days may seem a bit premature.

However, the insights I had gathered through my observations regarding my symptoms resulting from factors other than simply gut disbiosis led me to investigate other potential sources of my symptoms.

I was listening to a podcast in which doctor Zack Bush was being interviewed about the microbiome, when he started to go into depth about bacterial overgrowth. Naturally, my ears perked up in a major way.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, he chooses the metaphor of using glyphosate on crops in comparison to candida overgrowth to assert that:

Candida’s not actually the problem. The exact same phenomenon happens on a farm. Most of the farms in the Midwest are drowning under Roundup-resistant weeds. They’ve sprayed so much Roundup that the weeds have genetically-modified themselves so that they can maintain, so now they have these vicious weeds that [farmers] can’t run their tilling equipment or harvesters through because they’ve got trunks on them, and so they’ll destroy their equipment.

Since these places are getting overrun with weeds, they come in and spray more weedkillers, or we come in as physicians and spray now an antifungal instead of antibiotics to try to kill the candida, or the herbicide to kill the weed.

And what happens is we further destroy the ecosystem’s recovery, and we cause greater problems in the next few months. As soon as you stop spraying a farm, within a single season you can see all of the weeds gone. Just go in and plant a variety of cover crop, and you’ll see and the weeds disappear. No herbicides, no spraying, the microbiome comes back into balance and the soil systems and the flora come back into balance around that.

In the exact same way, if we see somebody with candida, we need to rush to create biodiversity rather than kill the candida. The candida is not at fault, I would argue it’s not even overgrown. It’s grown to exactly the right level to start the recovery of the process. Because if you wipe out the bacteria with an antibiotic, the fungal community has to start the fuel production process for a new ecosystem to start. You can’t have any fuel without microbiome.

So if you just took a probiotic and wiped out the bacteria, you’re now left with maybe a few protozoa and the fungal world to start that regenerative process of fuel production, resource development, trafficking of resources to and frow in the gut, and into the human body. And so the yeast is going to overgrow exactly to the level of damage done and need to recover it. What it’s doing is providing a substrate to new bacteria.”

Dr. Zach Bush, Your Microbiome and Health

For me, this was very inspiring to hear, and opened my eyes to other ways of curbing my symptoms beyond a stringent dietary regimen that made me feel lifeless.

So I really delved in. And as it turns out, it’s not just antibiotic usage that leads to candidiasis. Steroids, smoking, stress, diabetes, and nutrient deficiency are all factors from which candidiasis can stem.

Most of these risk factors can result in a weakened or undeveloped immune system or metabolic illnesses, both of which are also significant determinants of the likelihood of candidiasis—systemic factors for oral thrust (candidiasis of the mouth) include diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s syndrome, immunosuppression, malignancies, and nutritional deficiencies.

I had never heard of Cushing’s syndrome, so it didn’t take me long to look up what it is when I saw this listed as a risk factor. And it didn’t take me much longer to come to the conclusion that this was the source of my agony, resulting from chronic stress.

Many of the symptoms resulting from Cushing’s are those seen in metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance, hypertension, obesity, and elevated blood levels of triglycerides.

Additionally, Cushing’s can also cause baldness or extremely dry and brittle hair. The excess cortisol may also affect other endocrine systems and cause, for example, insomnia, reduced libido, and impotence in men.

Cognitive conditions, including memory and attention dysfunctions, as well as depression, are commonly associated with elevated cortisol, and may be early indicators of exogenous or endogenous Cushing’s. Depression and anxiety disorders are also common.”

Other striking and distressing skin changes that may appear in Cushing’s syndrome include facial acne and susceptibility to superficial fungus infections (malassezia).

The skin rash, tinea versicolor, is also due to infection by this fungus. Which, you may recall me mentioning earlier was one of the conditions I first experienced when I got the inclination I had candidiasis after prolonged use of the antibiotic glucocorticoids, Prednisone, in the summer of 2019.

But, as I wasn’t under much stress at that time, I think what I experienced then and what I was dealing with more recently were separate incidents altogether.

The skin rash has since subsided, though it took months, if not years. It’s likely it was initiated from the antibiotic overuse, and never was even really candida. Or maybe I’ve had candidiasis this entire time, unbeknownst to me.

However, what is clear to me is that this more recent occurrence was indeed candidiasis, and was certainly catalyzed by chronically-elevated cortisol levels.

The more I learned about the dangers of chronic prolonged stress and Cushing’s syndrome, the more my focus shifted away from diet (especially preoccupation with what I was ingesting), and towards methods for mitigating stress and improving wellbeing.

Researching techniques for stress reduction and wellbeing improvement jogged my memory of a video I had seen a few years earlier, which offered a ton of insight into health as a whole, and into chronic overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, or a habitually-active stress response, specifically.

In the interview, Dr. Lissa Rankin, author of Mind Over Medicine and founder of the “Whole Health Cairn” health model, says that:

“We think that making the body healthy means eating a healthy diet and exercising, and taking our medications and getting our screening lab tests and seeing the doctor once a year. But the reality is, if you’re in chronic repetitive stress response whenever you’re not meditating; if you’re in chronic repetitive stress response because of your rigid diet; if you’re in chronic repetitive stress response while you’re working out with your personal trainer, none of those things are going to help.

No amount of Kale is going to counteract the toxic effects on the body of being in chronic repetitive stress response. The single best thing you can do for your clients and patients is to facilitate them coming into relaxation response for as much of the day as possible.”

Lissa Rankin, The Future of Medicine

Through my first-person experience, I’ve found this assessment to be spot-on. Especially the part about the stress response because of a rigid diet.

Sure, refined sugar and carbs and cooking oils high in omega-6 cause inflammation, candidiasis, and a myriad of symptoms, like thinning hair. But what’s the sense in avoiding them if your habitual preoccupation creates chronically elevated cortisol levels, Cushing’s syndrome, and ultimately leads you to the same result—perhaps even faster than from poor diet alone?

And that’s not to mention all the other negative symptoms that come with heightened cortisol production which I previously outlined.

Here’s more or less the sympathetic and parasympathetic mechanisms by which serotonin and cortisol and are secreted:

  • Sympathetic nervous system (“fight-or-flight”)
    • Stress response = amygdala > hypothalamus > pituitary gland > adrenal glands release stress hormones
    • When constantly in sympathetic mode the body is at risk, and the heart takes the brunt of the stress
      • Leading cause of death in US is heart disease
  • Parasympathetic (“rest-and-digest”)
    • Body is in homeostasis
    • Operated by hormones of relaxation response, endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin 
      • The body only produces these natural self-healing hormones when in parasympathetic mode

For me, the takeaway from this whole experience is that only we have the ability to diagnose the underlying conditions/root causes of what ails us and creates sickness. And ultimately, it is up to solely the individual to truly heal one’s self.

Techniques for Self-Sufficient Healing and Improved Wellbeing

By following the inner pilot light, and asking ourselves what we can personally do to introduce more relaxation responses in our lives, we can determine the changes we need to make to reduce stress, improve the relaxation response, release the natural self-healing hormones like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, and reduce inflammation, the leading cause of (autoimmune) disease.

However, we need to have the drive do this—we have to really want it for ourselves, and often it may be difficult to find the motivation to overcome your addictions, or what ails you.

One thing I’ve found to help is pinpointing the specific benefit you want to realize, and not letting it slip from your mind. I have used this strategy in the past when I wanted to curb my tendency to grind my teeth while sleeping.

Since crooked, chipped teeth are something that can’t be fixed without spending a small fortune (especially for someone without dental insurance) and the smile is one of the first things people notice about a person, it wasn’t difficult for me to take the suggested measures to stamp out my bruxism (teeth grinding).

These include things like reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption before bed, and exercising or doing relaxing activities like meditation and taking warm baths during the evening hours. These last several techniques boost melatonin levels, the sleep hormone that works directly in contrast to, you guessed it, cortisol.

The reason cortisol levels may be unnaturally high in the evening is that it raises blood sugar, creating short-term bursts of energy demanded by the adrenal glands if the nervous system is in a stressed, sympathetic state.

So again, this was another instance in which fixing my issue comes down to managing cortisol levels.

In the more recent case of what I presumed to be leaky gut/candidiasis, my initial intention was really never to fix the root cause – fungal overgrowth – but rather the symptoms. Thus, by keeping my sights set on alleviating these particular symptoms, I could stay motivated to continue pursuing the diet.

I was concerned specifically with scalp dandruff/hair loss, bad breath/athlete’s foot, and maybe most importantly, OCD symptoms. However, since I discovered through my research the symptoms of excessive cortisol are by and large the same, my focus has shifting to techniques for mitigating the hormone, many of which I mentioned already when describing my pursuit of alleviating teeth grinding.

These include getting adequate sleep, meditation and breathing practices, self-massage, and sun exposure, exercise and movement in general – which boost serotonin and counteract cortisol overproduction – and of course, diet still.

But these days I’m a bit looser with my formerly-stringent dietary restrictions.

I’m currently in the process of trying this reset protocol. Needless to say, I will post about the outcome when it’s completed.

Disregarding the protocol, my revised, typical daily food consumption is as follows:

Typical Daily Diet

Breakfast (7-11am)

– Two cups coffee w/ tsp of ghee

Brunch (~12pm)

– Four pasture-raised eggs fried in coconut or olive oil with dried basil
– 1/2 medium avocado
– 10-25 g dark chocolate (70% cacao)

Mid-Afternoon Snack (4-5pm)

– Green tea w/ tsp of coconut oil, a dash of turmeric and three drops liquid stevia

Dinner (~6pm)

– Bean tamal, ground beef memela (corn tortilla, refried beans, cheese and meat) or 1 cup beef consumé and one beef taco w/ two corn tortillas
– 1/2 medium avocado and cheese with several baked (cooking oil-free) tostadas.
– 2 cups whole milk yogurt with 1 drop stevia, tsp of chia seeds or tbsp of pecans.

For those interested in specifics of my GAPS diet experience, read on below for the epicly-lengthy log I kept. And try not to fall asleep before making in through the first three paragraphs.

– C

GAPS Diet, day 1:
– Broke 23hr fast with homemade chicken bone broth, followed by roughly a cup of homemade plain yogurt for dessert. I started my morning with several cups of black coffee, as I was unaware that coffee and caffeine, in general, is not permitted on GAPS.

– I had gorged at a buffet as my “last meal” prior to starting GAPS the day before, and what a meal it was. Complete with scrambled eggs, sauteed poblanos, onion and calabacitas (zucchini), fish stew, 6-plus tacos dorados (taquitos), black beans and a handmade tortilla, with a bowl of cereal for dessert, I think this carb and protein-heavy meal had a lot to do with why I felt energy-depleted and unsatiated after a meal of predominantly protein and a bit of fat and sugar; I had quit the high intake of carbs cold turkey, with no adjustment period to allow my body to become better fat-adapted.

– Again, lack of research on my part led to a cup of green tea between meals, and the caffeine content provided a much-needed boost of energy. For dinner, I started with a bit of sauerkraut brine (juice), and followed with more bone broth and yogurt. I could feel like my body was losing mass – not sure if it was fat or muscle – after dinner and while laying in bed before sleep. For example, my rings and shorts seemed to be a lot more loose-fitting around my fingers and waist, respectively. However, I also felt like my inflammation had subsided quite substantially, as I was able to crack various joints that had been built up with toxins or holding stress and tension.

I seemed to have slept fairly well considering the lack of carbs and everything else, only waking twice when I needed to pee, and being able to fall back asleep pretty instantaneously.

Day 2:
– Despite learning in the morning that coffee was forbidden on the introductory phase of the diet, I started the day with my usual 2 cups, as I had not planned an alternative “cuppa” to sip on as I woke up, reading in bed. I had read that in later stages of GAPS, coffee is permitted, as long as the strength is weak enough you can “read the paper through it”, and the complimentary coffee offered by the hostel certainly fit the bill there, I told myself. My resolution was to begin sans-coffee the following day, opting instead for herbal tea in the morning.

– Had semi-solid bowel movement later in the morning, and was slightly tempted to return to the buffet for breakfast, as I had read on’s overview of GAPS webpage that you can move on to the next stage of the introductory phase “once you are tolerating the foods you have introduced. You are considered to be tolerating a food when you have a ‘normal’ bowel movement.”

However, I knew this was still probably from the Sunday feast, and that even on stage II there’s not much I could eat at the buffet anyway, so I persevered, and relegated myself to the usual regiment of bone broth and yogurt.

I opted for the advised-ginger tea for my snack between meals. I also decided to add some raw honey, which is permitted on the GAPS diet, in order to stabilize my blood sugar.

For dinner, I returned to more bone broth w/ fermented juices and had yogurt for dessert, to which I added roughly a tablespoon of honey to lift my blood sugar.

Day 3:
– I began the day with half a cup of coffee after waking and immediately drinking some water with lime. I thought a little caffeine may revitalize my energy, as it was still depleted first thing after rising, which is very atypical. However, it didn’t seem to make any substantial difference, and I swore I would kick the caffeine the following day.

As I was nearly out of bone broth, I consumed all I had left, and supplemented it with a bit more yogurt than usual, to try and keep my calorie intake up. I proceeded to brew a new batch of broth with the bones I had left to have it ready for dinner time.

One insight that came to me was that I was leaving the hostel much less, only one time for each of the first two days I was on the diet, and on this third day I didn’t even leave. I realized most of my expeditions were in pursuit of food, and now that I had everything I needed (or was allowed), I didn’t have much of a reason for leaving. The only other time I would leave was in the mornings to practice qigong in the park, and because of my general lack of energy and wanting to allow my broken toe to heal, I had been conducting my morning routine at the hostel. I also had more mental capacity, as I wasn’t expending nearly as much energy grappling with planning the day, both in terms of trips I needed to make to secure items, or what I would prepare for my next meal or when to have it.

I prepared some more ginger tea – this time with more honey – for an afternoon snack, and it again seemed to balance my blood sugar for several hours. I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer the “keto flu” symptoms would persist for.

For dinner I had a tall glass of the freshly-stewed bone broth w/ fermented asparagus juice added, and about a cup of yogurt, no honey added. I also supplemented with magnesium and zinc before bed as I occasionally do, but this made it three consecutive nights. I had increased frequency largely to ensure I was getting the usual amount of magnesium I typically would be getting from food.

Day 4:
– I rallied my willpower and was finally able to skip the coffee, opting for some Ginko bilbo tea instead. However, in order to reduce my keto flu symptoms, I added roughly a teaspoon of ghee I had bought the day before, technically advancing me to the second phase of the introductory diet. The added fat content seemed to help the symptoms subside, at least temporarily.

Since I had moved myself on to phase II – despite still not having a “normal” bowel movement in over two days, or much of any movement, period – I cracked a raw egg in my morning cup of bone broth, which is permitted during the second stage. At first, I felt satiated from the extra boost of protein, fat, and nutrients (essential amino acids, choline, selenium, and B vitamins) but the feeling quickly dissipated, leaving me again feeling like my blood sugar was crashing. Added some honey (1/2 tbsp) to the roughly 12 oz serving of yogurt I had for dessert to compensate, but it didn’t seem to help much in terms of stabilizing glucose.

I had begun adding sea salt to my water the previous night, and I to do this again to ensure I was getting the amount of electrolytes my body required. I also came to the conclusion the lack of energy may be plain ‘ole dehydration, as the lack of carbs in my diet had certainly reduced my body’s ability to retain water.

Had more energy at night after a qigong practice and some ginger tea with a bit of raw honey in the late afternoon. Had a cup of bone broth for dinner, and cracked an egg in the cup to supplement the essential nutrients I had been missing. For the first time, I also added a few pieces of the onion and carrot that had been stewed with the broth. I wasn’t sure if this was permissible on stage II, but I felt I needed some carbs to keep the keto flu at bay. I found out later that it was allowed. Had roughly a serving-and-a-half of yogurt for dessert, as had become commonplace. Supplemented with magnesium before bed.

Day 5:
– Again skipped coffee in the morning in favor of some ginger tea with about a teaspoon of ghee. Felt generally like I was becoming better-fat adapted, as I had more energy this morning than the four days previous, and was able to walk around town and the market for an hour-plus as I scavenged for bone broth ingredients without feeling like I was going to pass out.

Prior to going out, I primed my stomach with a few teaspoons of fermented asparagus juice before feasting on the last of the bone broth I had left and choked down a raw egg that I had beat into the cup before adding the broth. Also had the last few spoonfuls of the yogurt that were leftover before heading out to keep my blood sugar up as much as possible.

Bought a fresh bag of yogurt while out and about, and when I returned devoured roughly two servings as I started stewing the bones that I picked up, as I had no other food to compliment the yogurt.

Tested the bone broth in the evening for my dinner after beginning with a few more teaspoons of fermented asparagus juice. I also ate a few pieces of the onion I had added to the stew with it, to add to the pro/prebiotic component, as well as to get some fiber/carbs, as I ditched the honey altogether on this day five. Had another rough serving of yogurt for my dessert.

I didn’t supplement with magnesium before bed in order to cycle one day off after taking it the previous four nights. That didn’t seem to prevent me from falling asleep in a timely fashion, however, as I felt energy depleted within an hour or two of eating, and bed-rid myself around 9pm to watch an episode of Westworld before dozing off.

Though my face blotches and bad breath weren’t clearing up as quickly as I had hoped, my hair seemed to look a bit more illustrious, and I could feel I was certainly purging toxins and blockages from my joints and muscles. I was able to crack a lot of joints and just felt generally looser, especially in the groin/”Kua” region, during qigong practice in the morning.

Day 6:
– Started the day with a (normal) bowel movement, finally!! Broke “fast” (~12hr) with herbal tea and a half teaspoon of ghee, followed closely by two krill oil capsules (the first day taking fish oil while on diet), and two teaspoons of fermented asparagus juice, followed by a cup of bone broth with a few pieces of stewed onion.

Since I had the first solid stool, I felt like moving on to the next stage was appropriate. Went to the store and got some eggs, three of which I lavishly fried (softly) with some ghee and sea salt. I was going to add onion, but opted instead, for the first time all week, for some actual sauerkraut – not just juice – I had fermented and gifted to a woman at the hostel as an appetizer while I waited for the eggs to finish. I tried having some mashed avocado that a guest had left as a side, but it was past its prime. I had a few bites, however, and idk if it was due to that or just moving to the next stage too fast, but my stomach felt a bit uneasy after the meal, and all the new foods I had introduced that day. I also had a few spears of my fermented asparagus and several bites of another sauerkraut my friend had given me to try, which contain curcumin and black pepper. I indulged in a half cup of semi-weak coffee for the first time in three days, but didn’t make it past more than a few sips. Any of those sources could be the culprit. It was difficult to pinpoint since I introduced so many novel foods and liquids on the same day.

After discovering the distance, took a cab to a panel discussion on native corn with two women friends also staying at the hostel. Glad we opted for that route over walking uphill the entire way there, as it was sunny mid-day Oaxaca, and the dehydration/low blood sugar had begun to set in by the time we took our seats. Stayed for the discussion and a brief native dance of the Guelagetza, the annual festival that was taking place. Had a few glasses of water, and sampled a spoonful of some “miel nada más,” which was excellent, and provided me the boost I needed to make the trek back to the hostel in the sunny afternoon. Very parched after arriving, so drank a half liter of water, and had a cup of yogurt to get some protein and fat back into my system after the energy expenditure.

For dinner, had a bit more asparagus and sauerkraut in their juices with a cup of bone broth that contained a few pieces of stewed carrot and onion. Finshed up with a serving-and-a-half of yogurt that I opted to add a bit of tumeric to. Took a magnesium w/zinc supplement and added some himilayan salt to my water before bed to boost my electrolytes.

Day 7:
– Started the morning with a tall glass of water as I brewed some herbal tea (meant for digestion/constipation), which I added a few drops of stevia and a teaspoon of ghee to. After my qigong practice, had about a teaspoon of ACV and heated up just under a cup of bone broth and decided to try coffee again. After the bone broth, I sipped on the coffee – with sea salt added to balance out the acidity – but after I ingested about 4 oz’s worth, determined that this was probably the source of my slightly upset stomach the previous day. So I decided no more caffeine was best.

I then hit the road to look at an apartment and get some more bones for the last batch I potentially would be making at the hostel with my well-in place system, so you bet your ass I was going to make it count. Very thirsty by the time I got to the rotisserie restaurant, but still had a good talk with the sweet little owner-grandmother there.

Anyway, quenched my thirst with a tall glass of water when I returned, and got straight to work on the broth and fried up four eggs in ghee, this time with sauteed onion. Had some sauerkraut as a side, but – I think, largely because I forgot – I didn’t have any broth with the meal. Don’t know if it was because of this, or simply the cooked eggs just sitting in my stomach, but I felt like the food wasn’t moving through me like most other times I had eaten since on the diet.

For dinner I had a some asparagus juice to start, a cup and a half of broth with some of the stewed onion, then decided to move on the stage IV: cooked meat, actually three pan-fried sauteed shrimp that had been gifted to me two nights before, and kept warning me that shellfish goes bad very quickly. I used this rationale to advance stages maybe a few days early 😉 I think it was worth it, the garlic shrimp tasted amazing, and I made sure to remove the few kernels of whatever the small grain she cooked it with was. I had nearly a cup of yogurt for dessert with a touch of turmeric mixed in, but then decided I also should finish off the four asparagus spears I had left just to get some carbs. No magnesium supplement before bed, but seemed to sleep pretty well regardless.

Day 8:
– Began the morning with a tall glass of lime water, and then a few teaspoons of fermented asparagus juice, as I had already mentally committed to having a coffee this am. I strained my broth from the night before as I sipped some more water. With the few minutes this task had taken and the fact the pot was still brewing when I tried to get a coffee, actually had given myself nearly 90 minutes before consuming caffeine, which is supposed to deter the tendency to get anxiety or that cracked-out feeling later in the the day. I added Himalayan salt to cut the acidity roughly a teaspoon of ghee to the cup to get some calories in my system before starting my qigong routine. Don’t know if it was solely due to the coffee, but had a fairly normal bowel movement before practice, which was encouraging. I also noticed that the caffeine and fat seemed to energize me throughout the better part of the morning, definitely more than each day during week 1.

I certainly had largely given up preoccupations with fasting length and feeding windows, as my primary concerned turned to blocking muscle protein breakdown. In light of the this insight, the last several days I had been trying to consume some broth in a timely manner post-workout, in order to build what little muscle was possible. I continued that routine this morning, breaking my ~14hr fast with about a cup of the freshly stewed broth, adding a bit more asparagus juice in the mix. Figured I’d save the sauerkraut for later to have with the eggs I was about to buy from the natural market store.

I proceeded to sauté some white onion in ghee, and then fried three eggs with it, while paying mind that I didn’t overcook. Supplemented the meal with maybe a serving of sauerkraut, and finished with a bit under a cup of yogurt to balance out the fat component of the meal, as well as for the benefit of getting a few carbs from the sugar. However, this didn’t seem to boost my energy much. I think it was due mostly to lack of fat adaptability, still, as a had drank a fair amount of water all morning, and doubted it was a symptom of dehydration. Though it is possible I wasn’t drinking enough to keep even keel with the coffee, especially considering it is at the moment more diuretic than usual, as my depleted carb intake has been preventing water retention.

Napped for about an hour mid-afternoon, and then made dinner. Started with a bit of asparagus juice, and a cup of bone broth. Also had the last little piece of whitefish I still had leftover from the night before; unfortunately, I had already eaten all the shrimp 😦 Tried some carrot I had been fermenting, but it was hardly fermented, and seeing as raw veggies shouldn’t be introduced until stage 5 – and that I had barely toed the line onto stage 4 – decided to stop after one carrot stick. Instead, then, opted for some sauerkraut, and had about a serving of yogurt for dessert. Supplemented magnesium before bed.

Rushed to bathroom for a massive purge after I had already laid down… In an attempt at common courtesy, I flushed quickly after the first spurt to purge the air of the foul scent, thus failing to check the quality of the dookie. Big mistake, as I am now very interested to know what kind of toxins came out, because I haven’t had a bowel movement like that in years.

Day 9:
– Finally cracked on day nine, but it was premeditated. Had some artisanal white bread in the fridge that I had been gifted three days earlier, and looked far too lush to just throw away.

– Started the day as usual, with a bit of asparagus juice after a tall glass of water with lime, followed closely by coffee w/ghee and sea salt, and two krill oil capsules to maximize my energy. Walked to the park to work out. It was a good practice, but I still felt drained of energy while walking home. At that point, I committed to bring starches back into the equation. Had the usual cup of bone broth when I arrived home, followed by four eggs fried in ghee with sauteed onion. After a while I had some a few spoonfuls of sauerkraut to prime my stomach for the refined carbs that were about to hit it. I proceeded to slice to pieces of bread which I toasted, and ate one with queso manchego and the other with butter. This was also the first time I had cheese since starting the diet. I then had two bites of a piece of chocolate walnut banana bread I procured three days earlier as well for dessert. My system seemed to handle all these newly-introduced foods fine, and my stomach felt settled. I felt a bit lethargic, as usual since beginning the diet, but perhaps a bit more dehydrated than usual, as I nearly fainting upon getting up from laying down a few hours later.

I then had a mid-afternoon snack before qigong class at 5pm to energize myself, consisting of a cup of bone broth and a serving of yogurt. I re-upped with the same components post-workout, this time adding another slice of toasted bread with butter for dipping in the broth, and the second half-slice of banana bread for dessert along with the yogurt. Skipped the magnesium supplement before bed.

Day 10:
Similar diet to previous nine days, but no cheese, and added a bean tamale into the mix. After, I felt probably the most satiated I’ve felt since starting the diet, maybe because of the combination of the lard and the carbs. I also had a small piece of homemade dark chocolate with rosemary, which was the first time I reintroduced cacao.

Day 11:
Despite coming off diet, wanted to follow up by documenting one final day, as it provided some good insights. Even though I drank four glasses of the night before, and by my recollection the room was spinning a bit when I shut my eyes, I still felt better rested upon waking the next day than I had many of the nine days previous.

Second Attempt, Day 1:
– Tsp of homemade kombucha
– Fermented carrot juice
– Coffee
– Bone Broth (3-4 servings, with a few small pieces each of stewed carrot, onion and chicken)
– Yogurt (4 servings)
– Ginger tea with two tbsp raw honey

Day 2:
– Tbsp Fermented carrot juice
– 1/2 cup of Coffee
– Bone Broth (4 servings, with a few small pieces each of of stewed carrot, onion and chicken, like day one)
– Yogurt (3-4 servings)
– Ginger tea with one tbsp raw honey
– Tsp virgin coconut oil

Day 3:
– an old probiotic capsule
– Tbsp of fermented carrot juice
– Ginger tea w/Stevia
– Tbsp ACV

– 1.5 servings of chicken bone broth w/ a few bites of stewed veggies and meats
– A bit less than 1 serving of yogurt

– Ginger tea w/ tsp of raw, local honey

– 2 servings chicken bone broth w/ small piece of stewed carrot, onion and chicken
– 1 cup yogurt

Day 4:
– Solid, regular stool first thing which I rationalized to move to stage 3:
– Tbsp of fermented carrot juice
– Ginger tea w/stevia and tsp of ghee
– Tbsp ACV
– Krill oil capsule
– A generous serving of chicken bone broth
– Three eggs fried in ghee w/ well sauteed onion
– Coconut flour pancakes (2 eggs, 1.5 tbsp coconut flour) w/ ~tbsp raw honey

– 1.5 servings bone broth with one stewed carrot, quarter onion and one piece of chx
– One cup of plain, homemade yogurt
– Magnesium supplement
– 10 drops living silica

Day 5:
Interestingly, I noted that despite sleeping less than 7 hours, had more energy during the morning than three previous days. May be due to:
– The two cups of coffee I drank and hour after waking, added sea salt to both cups and tsp ghee to the latter)
– Fat adaptation setting in?
– But most likely, adding the coconut flour in the mix (literally ;), as my assumption was that the lack of energy was a “keto flu” symptom from cutting all grains and starches, and almost the entirety of the carb component, from my diet.

– (Last) probiotic capsule
– Tsp fermented carrot juice
– Tbsp ACV
– Two cups chx bone broth
– Four eggs fried in coconut oil w/ sauteed onion

– Tsp fermented carrot juice
– 1 1/2 cups chx bone broth with small piece of stewed meat, carrot
– ~2 servings yogurt w/ 1/2 tbsp raw honey
– 2 servings sauerkraut

Day 6:
– Tbsp fermented carrot juice
– 2 cups organic coffee w/ tbsp ghee

Bodily Autonomy: A Case Study in Civil Liberties

In a socialized healthcare system, the public pays for the costs incurred by individuals who used its services. This includes paying for the health services of citizens’ who have chosen to harm their bodies willingly (when it could have been prevented), in addition to individuals who become ill or require surgery through no fault of their own. There is no distinction here.

And while the US is the only developed nation not to provide universal healthcare for all its citizens – because the doctors and hospitals are privately operated – it still provides assistance to nearly half the population in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, and subsidies for low-income individuals and families, all of which are funded by taxpayers via federal and state governments.

And since the costs are “a burden on society”, in the sense that citizens largely pay for individuals who have incurred bills from hospital stays, treatments or medications, the public has a stake in your body, and the bodies of all citizens… Or at least that’s one appeal made by proponents of mandatory vaccination against Covid-19.

Your Body as a Bioweapon
In this respect, the belief that the government has jurisdiction to mandate vaccination – in the interest of keeping everyone healthy – isn’t that outlandish. However, this begs the question of where the line is drawn here….

For the sake of consistency, shouldn’t the State also regulate other societal variables that stress the medical system and taxpayers?

For example, there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the majority of the “food” people put into their bodies leads to systemic chronic inflammation (SCI) – essentially the root of all disease – and is wreaking havoc on the healthcare system, creatings all sorts of costs for taxpayers in a subsidized system—much like what is currently occurring with unvaccinated individuals who have contracted Covid-19.

So obesity is very much a public health issue.

Vaccination vs. Toxin Consumption
The three types of public health crises are environmental, food, and toxic. Covid-19 is an example of a toxic public health crisis, and obesity is a textbook example of a food-related public health issue.

True, obesity isn’t contagious, as is the case with coronavirus. But it absolutely impacts more than just the individual who was made these choices and thus, is a public health issue.

And when approximately 60-80% of adults and 20-30% of children in most Western countries are now overweight or obese, it’s more than a public health issue… it’s a public health crisis.

To put obseity into context with the coronavirus, depleted immune system functioning – resulting from obesity – is probably the biggest variable indicative of whether you will be hospitalized or die from the virus.

Effectively, your suspectibily to hospitalization from Covid (but not whether or not you will contract it) is very closely correlated with how well your immune system functions—

Individuals who have asymptomatic or mild disease show a robust immune response early on during infection.

Patients requiring admission to hospital have impaired immune responses and systemic inflammation (that is, chronic inflammation that may affect several organs) from the time of symptom onset.

UK Research and Innovation, The Immune System and Long COVID

There are many factors which contribute to inflammation and impact immune system function, including physical activity of exercise, sunlight exposure, emotional stress, and most importantly, diet—

According to the World Health Organization, healthy foods and hydration are vital. Individuals consuming a well-balanced diet are healthier with a strong immune system and have a reduced risk of chronic illness, infectious diseases.

Science Direct, Immune Response in Covid-19: A Review

In patients with fatal COVID-19, the immune response ranges from diminished function to overactivation, eventually to a weakened immune response, and ultimately to death.

Frontiers in Immunology, Cellular Immune Response to COVID-19 and Potential Immune Modulators

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. A well-balanced diet primarily means a diet consisting of whole, prebiotic fiber-containing foods, and consuming a variety of plant and animal-based products.

Additionally, because of their impact on the gut microbiome and positive correlation with inflammation, a proper diet for optimizing the immune response also is largely free of refined grains and sugar, alcohol, and highly-processed foods containing preservatives (sodium benzoate), stabilizers (carrageenan), artificial colors, and conventionally-produced cooking oils, most of which contain high omega-6 fatty acids and have been processed with the chemical hexane.

A 2018 study from Nature Medicine looked extensively at a number of potential inflammatory triggers, primarily diet and environmental toxins–

The typical diet that has become widely adopted in many countries over the past 40 years is relatively low in fruits, vegetables and other fiber- and prebiotic-rich foods and high in refined grains, alcohol and ultra-processed foods, particularly those containing emulsifiers.

These dietary factors can alter the gut microbiota composition and function and are linked to increased intestinal permeability and epigenetic changes in the immune system that ultimately cause low-grade endotoxemia and SCI.

Furthermore, high-glycemic-load foods, such as isolated sugars and refined grains, which are common ingredients in most ultra-processed foods, can cause increased oxidative stress that activates inflammatory genes.

Several other nutritional factors can also promote inflammation and potentially contribute to the development of SCI. These factors include deficiencies in micronutrients, including zinc and magnesium, which are caused by eating processed or refined foods that are low in vitamins and minerals, and having suboptimal omega-3 levels, which impacts the resolution phase of inflammation.

More importantly, [longchain omega-3s] are precursors to molecules such as resolvins, maresins and protectins that are involved in the resolution of inflammation. The main contributors to the growing worldwide incidence of low omega-3 status are a low intake of fish and high intake of vegetable oils that are high in linoleic acid, which displaces omega-3 fatty acids in cell membrane phospholipids140,141.

In turn, various RCTs have shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces inflammation and may thus have health-promoting effects.

Nature Medicine, Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span

Many of these findings examining diet were to be expected, but a lot of the results examining the microbiome of someone with a typical Western diet – in contrast with individuals in non-industrialized societies – and its link to inflammation and immune function were pretty eye opening… I boldened the text that I found the most riveting/fascinating.

Non-industrialized societies such as the Shuar hunter-gatherers of the Ecuadorian Amazon, Tsimané forager-horticulturalists of Bolivia, Hadza hunter-gatherers from Tanzania, subsistence agriculturalists from rural Ghana and traditional horticulturalists of Kitava (Papua New Guinea)—all of whom are minimally exposed to industrialized environments but highly exposed to a variety of microbes—exhibit very low rates of inflammation-related chronic disease and substantial fluctuations in inflammatory markers that do not increase with age.

More broadly, it has been hypothesized that a complex balance exists in the intestinal ecosystem that, if disrupted, can compromise its function and integrity and in turn cause low-grade SCI. It may thus be important to identify possible triggers of dysbiosis and intestinal hyperpermeability, which could potentially include the overuse of antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and proton-pump inhibitors; lack of microbial exposure induced by excessive hygiene and reduced contact with animals and natural soils, which is a very recent phenomenon in human evolutionary history; and diet.

Nature Medicine, Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span

The ironic part is that many of the potential triggers of microbiome dysbiosis which were outlined are measures being taken to combat the spread of Covid. Especially in the early innings of the pandemic, excessive hygiene, administration of antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were advised to slow the spread, as well as impede the severity of infection.

Further studies on the topic of microbiome health serve to confirm and support these findings—

Recent data suggest that the microbiota of industrialized societies differs substantially from the recent ancestral microbiota of humans. Rapid modernization, including medical practices and dietary changes, is causing progressive deterioration of the microbiota, and we hypothesize that this may contribute to various diseases prevalent in industrialized societies.

Nature Reviews Microbiology, The ancestral and industrialized gut microbiota and implications for human health

This is consistent with something I heard Dr. Zack Bush say recently during a podcast in which he was being interviewed.

He was speaking specifically of the Hadza people of Tanzania—an indigenous ethnic group of nearly 1,200 inhabitants, though only around 400 of the members still survive using their traditional foraging methods. Dr. Bush claims that the group has around 10x the amount of microbiome flora that Westerners commonly have.

While researchers were studying the community, a group of missionaries came through and delivered antibiotics to the tribe by the box. The researchers were instructed by their organization not to interfere, so the group, having no prior experience with antibiotics, ended up taking them all in one fell swoop. The researchers were devasted because they believed it was effectively the end of the gut microbiome of mankind.

However, very much to their surprise, they learned after sending stool samples back to a lab stateside, that the Hadza’s gut wall flora had returned to 100 percent the very next day after “one of the most massive antibiotic exposures any human could possibly get.”

In contrast, a 2018 study conducted by the journal Cell that looked at two weeks of probiotic administration among a group of Americans indicated 80 percent destruction of the gut microbiome.

This indicates the breakdown of the gut flora as purely diet-based, rather than evolutionary. Which is something that had already been postulated given the rise in obesity, autoimmunity disorders, and cancer since the 1990s, when glyphosate was first introduced on a large scale to the cropland of the Western world.

But the fact that there are tribes living today who are secluded from all other forms of civilization with pristinely-dirty, diverse microbiomes confirms lifestyle (diet, exercise and exposure to nature) is the largest determinant of your gut flora health, and thus your seceptibility to chronic inflammation, obesity, a depleted immune system, and severe adverse reaction from a virus.

As a result, the lifestyle decisions you make – especially your diet – impact your health, and the potential for you to require medical assistance or hospitalization. So in this regard, it is largely similar to the decision to receive a Covid vaccination or not.

If you have the freedom to decide if you’re going to trash your body (what toxic foods you put into it, and how sleep, exercise and sun-deprived you let it become) you absolutely should be allowed to decide what foreign bodies – in the form of a vaccine – are injected into it.

So, I’m willing to get on board with mandatory vaccination when diet is also regulated in the same manner. Of course, I’m being fasicous here; I don’t believe either are something the State should have the power to regulate.

I’m of the opinion that, because we live in a free and open society, (largely, still –despite vaccine requirements for many public places – in relation to other countries), the government should inform rather than decide, and make recommendations rather than mandates.

A Beacon of Hope for Bodily Autonomy
At least there are still some corporations who I can commend for also upholding this belief, and refuse to discriminate between customers on the basis of vaccination status. In-N-Out Burger is probably the best (and potentially only) example of a company still fighting for the individual autonomy of its patrons, and refusing to be strongarmed by municipal government mandates—

As a company, In-N-Out Burger strongly believes in the highest form of customer service and to us that means serving all customers who visit us and making all customers feel welcome.

We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government. It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant associates to segregate customers into those who may be served and those who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason.

This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.

Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out’s chief legal and business officer

This stance is in direct opposition to that of the majority of corporations, states and municipalities, and trade organizations. And those who oppose the mandates seem to take that position primarily because it will cost them business or employees

I mean, frankly, I hope that Kyrie sort of — despite how strongly he feels about the vaccination — ultimately decides to get vaccinated, because I’d love to see him play basketball this season, and I’d love to see the Brooklyn Nets have their full complement of players on the floor.

Adam Silver, NBA Commisioner

Seemingly, it’s up to us as individuals to stand up for what we believe in – or fight against what we don’t – because the government, big business and public interest groups sure as hell will not.

And if you get discouraged, because of in light of this it seems like you against the world and that no one has your back, just know that there are plenty of other individuals out there fighting the same fight for bodily autonomy.

The Impact of Minding the 24-Hour TCM Body Clock on Health

Lately, one of the biggest reasons I’ve been dealing with chronic hyper-sympathetic syndrome – in which the mind cannot stop racing and calm down – despite habitually using meditation and breathing practices, is not paying mind to the Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) 24hr organ health clock.

This is a 24-hour biological “body clock,” in which two-hour periods are designated to the 12 major organs, which correspond to the 12 energetic meridians in TCM. It’s believed that during these two-hour intervals, Qi flows most strongly through each of the respective organs the timeframe pertains to.

As each organ regulates different body functions or mechanisms in TCM, there are recommendations for conduct or activities that should or shouldn’t be carried out during each particular interval.

Since it is on a continuum, I suppose it doesn’t really matter which period I begin explaining first, but I think chronologically it makes the most sense to start with the early morning hours, one of the times in which I experience the most issues.

For one thing, I discovered that waking up consistently between 4-5:30am – as I typically do – is probably more than just having to pee. As these hours are when the organs that are in charge of letting go are active – the lungs (Lu), 3-5a, and large intestine (LI) 5-7a) – waking during this time indicates an inability to either let go of past events, or to voice an opinion.

In my case, it’s probably due to a bit of both.

I’m fairly cognizant of what the inability to let go is rooted in, as they are occurrences that continue to play out over and over in my head. But which opinion I’d had difficulty voicing is a bit more challenging to pinpoint. My best guess is it’s something pertaining to the Covid-19 plannedemic—most likely how it was an orchestrated affair. However, it seems keeping this opinion largely to myself – for multiple reasons – may be to the detriment of society, and evidently, to my own.

Also relating to letting go, a bowel movement in the early morning hours during large intestine (LI) time is optimal, before waking up the stomach during stomach (ST) time between 7-9am.

I certainly don’t seem to have an issues in this regard during this interval, especially after the first few sips of coffee have been taken.

Speaking of coffee, I like to make sure I’ve had a few glasses of water before the first cup of joe, as I’m generally fairly parched after not drinking more than a few sips over the course of the night when I’m mostly asleep.

Room-temperature water w/ lemon is best to replenish electrolytes and vitamin C, and literally (re)charge your body, but seeing as I’m in Mexico and lemons are tough to come by, I opt for lime instead. However, this isn’t just a morning routine, I add lime to every glass of water I drink, at least while I’m at home.

One activity recommended during this time – which I never do – is to have a body-nourishing breakfast, in order to create energy for spleen (SP) time from 9-11am, when it’s best to perform mental and/or physical (exercise) work.

The spleen regulates muscular activity, and sends clear Qi to brain for focus and concentration. If someone is energy-deprived in the morning after they’ve gotten a good night’s rest (8-10hrs), they are thought to be spleen Qi-deficient. No hunger in the morning hours also signifies a spleen or stomach Qi deficiency, or a Yang deficiency if the person also feels cold.

Most readers are probably familiar with the Chinese Yin Yang symbol, especially if you grew up the ’90s, which symbolized balance, or duality (e.g.,  light and dark, fire and water, expansion and contraction).

Yang in particular is associated with heat, fire, hardness or metal, and male energy. Hence why feeling cold signifies a Yang deficiency.

Heart (Ht) time is from 11a-1p, in which it’s advised to do something that will make the heart joyful, and avoid activities or substances that will promote anxiety, stress, and palpitations, like caffeine or social media consumption . For example, some choice activities would be to go for a walk or have lunch with friends, or at least with someone who’s company you enjoy.

One thing I’ve been successful in achieving is cutting off the caffeine consumption at 11am. And I’m not compensating it by ingesting more prior to that cutoff time. I’ve weened myself down to about three cups per day, from my previous average of five.

No matter what, lunch – the biggest, most important meal of day in TCM – should be eaten mindfully. A code of conduct for another activity which I haven’t been carrying out.

I almost always watch something on YouTube during lunch, but knowing what I know now, I’m going to at least switch it up to listening to a podcast, or better yet, reading or ideally, writing—creating over consuming.

1-3p is small intestine (SI) time, which is in charge of – along with the bladder – regulating fluids in the body. The small intestine specifically is in charge of separating the clear fluid from the turbid, which is reabsorbed and utilized as electrolyte-containing hydrotherapy fluid, while the former is excreted by the bladder.

That 2:30 feeling? Well, contrary to what many believe, that’s not just an energy crash from being up since the crack of dawn. It’s severe dehydration, something I myself am guilty of. Mine usually creeps in after 3pm, during bladder (Bl) time between 3-5p.

Drinking sufficient water during this time is highly advisable, especially considering it is thought to be when liquid waste it purged and energy is restored, so replenishing fluids is essential.

As 5-7p is kidney (Kd) time, this should ideally be a time for connecting with family and friends. Post-work “taxi driving”, i.e., relentless running around town, depletes adrenals, effects cortisol and results in the inability to calm down (what’s effectively known as chronic hyper-sympathetic syndrome, which I referenced earlier).

This is another timeframe where my actions have been contradictory to what they should be for optimal health or relaxation response parasympathetic activation. Even though if on the off chance I’m going to call my parents, this is the time I always do it, I am typically the taxi driver-type during this time window, running errands – like going to the market – generally leaving around 5pm.

I always viewed this as a good time to be active, as it allowed me early and mid-afternoon time to decompress from writing or working in the morning and fit in a lengthy qigong session, not to mention it provided more reprieve (shade) from the sun than early afternoon, and allowed the foot traffic at the market to subside substantially. But after this discovery, I think I may switch to tackle priorities about town in the early afternoon and practice Qigong in the evenings before dinner.

7-9p is pericardium (Pc) time, and should be the time for doing activities that “make your heart sing” in a calming way. This includes things like Yin (the calming, nurturing energy) yoga, stretching, breathing exercises, light reading, listening to calming music, or taking a bath.

Most importantly, don’t be on devices getting dopamine overstimulation and blue light exposure—also something that is a work-in-progress for me.

Once again, another TCM interval where I was doing the opposite of what I should have been— though I use night mode on both my laptop and phone, realized the reason I may be having so many sleep issues is due to waaay more stimulation during this time than I should have. Everything from fantasy sports to preoccupation with the music and organizing my library. And typically, the music selection is not in the realm of what it should be…

At least I’m usually done eating by 7pm since I know the benefits of allowing yourself sufficient time to digest your last meal before bed, allowing the liver (Lv) sufficient time to optimally do its thing during liver time (1-3am). Eating an early, light dinner also allows me to break my fast earlier in the morning. So food is one less dopamine trigger I’m afflicted with have during this timeframe.

San Jaio (SJ) is the container of all the organs (also known as the triple burner). Thus, this timeframe – 9-11p – is when you put all your organs to rest. These hoursare when the body does its endocrine and metabolic balancing.

It’s recommended to settle down for bed closer to 9-9:30 in winter, and later in summer when days are longer. Ideally, before 10:30—if you slept from 12-8a, the quality of sleep would be inferior to eight hours starting at 10p (to 6a).

I’m almost always in bed and fast asleep by 11p, which is key because being awake during gallbladder (GB) time between 11p-1a, depletes the gallbladder and makes decision-making difficult. And that’s not how you want to start your day.

You can certainly use this time for journaling, meditating, or breathing, but it’s more effective to do these activities a few hours earlier during pericardium time, or in the early am when you have a tranquil environment and your mind is fresh.

So there you have it. I hope this post provided some insight into the 24 hour body clock, and heeding it – if you so choose – helps bring you improved wellbeing and serotonin, and decreases your stress and cortisol levels, as it has for me.