Coffee Substitutes for Energy, Focus and Healing Adrenal Fatigue (My Mostly Failed Journey Off Of Coffee)

Coffee Substitutes for Energy, Focus and Healing Adrenal Fatigue (My Mostly Failed Journey Off Of Coffee)

The first question to ask is why would you want to get off of coffee to begin with? Outside of the nirvana and brag-worthy state of not being addicted to anything, the real reason I started looking for alternatives was to fix my adrenal fatigue and inflammation, which you can see my lab results from the Human Garage here. Caffeine, especially from coffee as opposed to green tea, is counterproductive for your tired adrenals. Whether or not you know that to be your situation, I still recommend going a month every so often free of coffee (or at least swap for decaf coffee) for related reasons. It wasn’t easy giving up my Bulletproof coffee every morning, so I had to find something to tide me over. I mostly failed in that endeavor but figured I’d share my findings anyway.

Option 1: Mocha Maca Powder

One of the recommended alternatives I picked up from the Human Garage was glorified maca powder so I started there. It looks like coffee when you blend it with hot water, but that’s about as far as the resemblance goes unfortunately. It was a bit more palatable adding the standard Bulletproof/fatty coffee ingredients (grass-fed butter, coconut oil, cocoa, collagen, etc.) but still nothing to write home about. I’ll do this a couple times a week, but it’s not a daily go-to after sufficient experimentation.

Option 2: Kombucha

Kombucha is the best tasting of all three options, but the drawback is due to the small sugar content I wouldn’t consider it to be the best option while trying to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting. If you just want something to sip on in the morning, and the mocha maca powder doesn’t float your boat, give the kombucha a try. I teach you how to ferment your own kombucha here. Heal your gut with the probiotics, and heal your adrenals with the reduced caffeine and coffee intake.

Option 3: Matcha Green Tea

I really, really wanted to like matcha green tea. It is literally the “10x” of green teas containing ten times the amount of antioxidants in regular green tea, or something to that effect. It’s a research-backed, generation-over-generation-proven superfood. I first tried steeping it in hot water and drinking it as a standalone hot tea, but it literally tastes like moss. What does moss taste like you might ask, and that answer is I don’t know but I do know matcha tastes terribly (unless it’s served as a frozen yogurt or ice cream that one would find at Kippy’s or Pressed Juicery, but then again sugar with anything is the ultimate antidote).

Next I tried drinking it cold, which took it from an F-flavor to a D-minus. Lastly I tried simply adding it in with the rest of my first-thing-in-the-morning water morning routine (with lemon juice, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and Athletic Greens). This is where I’ve landed, but with the added matcha powder in it, I down it as fast as possible with all the other aforementioned ingredients to mask the matcha taste. One unexpected benefit of the matcha powder is that it tangibly reduced my appetite, rendering it the strongest solution I’ve found to endure a 16-hour fast without food cravings. Beyond that, my goal in life is to see how much money I can waste in one cup of water by adding all those added ingredients each morning.

If you have any other non-obvious healthful alternatives to coffee, feel free to comment below. I’ve tried yerba mate as well, but the cold hard fact is nothing compares to a good Bulletproof/fatty coffee (which is why I still drink it once a week for the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine for a personal record-shattering workout day).

P.S. Decaf coffee often has its own issues, so I’m not considering that right now, but it does seem to be the logical alternative.

 

Skin Care Simplified: 4 Step Holistic Health Guide to Glowing Skin For Men (and Women)

Skin Care Simplified: 4 Step Holistic Health Guide to Glowing Skin For Men (and Women)

How come women get all the attention for amazing skin care products? Seems unfair, but then again most female-oriented skin care products are absolute chemical-ridden garbage. It’s time to level the playing field! Not really, the program and products below will work equally well for both sexes, but I recently had a guy friend ask me about my skin care regimen so I wanted to let the cat out of the bottle (?). I never considered myself the authority on amazing, vibrant, glowing, jaw-dropping, panty-dropping skin. I do, however, consider myself the authority on finding the simple tactics, products, and routines that maximize results (clean skin) with minimal time and effort involved, so let the sharing begin.

Step 1: Probiotic Facial Cleanser

Most cleansers are pretty irritating to the skin, and you can actually do pretty well without one altogether. I use/recommend the Mother Dirt Biome Face Natural Skin Cleanser. Apply once in the shower to repopulate the right, healthy bacteria that helps fight acne and keep your skin clear.

Step 2: Natural Moisturizer (+Frankicense Oil)

At least once per day, apply a natural, organic moisturizer. I’ve tried several (avocado oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, etc.) and found Organic Jojoba Oil and Emu Oil to work well and clog my pores the least. Both work, but as with diet, exercise, and almost anything, it’s worth switching things up so your body doesn’t become overly accustomed to one input. Emu oil is excellent if you’ve had a bit of sun exposure/burn to cool your skin down.

Using the moisturizer as the carrier, try adding frankincense oil to the mix as well. It has a bit of zing to it (“astringent”), will tighten your skin/pores, and add more glow. More glow is like more cowbell, always a good thing.

Step 3: Clay Facemask

Now here’s where it gets more interesting. A few times a month, apply a clay mask (while something super masculine to even out your manhood). Jokes aside, a good clay mask will work wonders for everyone. I recommend the Clay Mask by Alitura Naturals – “The Best Anti-Aging, Anti-Acne & Detoxifying Bentonite Clay Mask.” The CEO and founder Andy Hnilo has an interesting story with this product. I always have maximal confidence in products/companies that originated from the owner desperately trying to solve his/her own dire problem – you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more motivated to find the respective solution. For instance, you care and think about a speck of dust in your eye infinitely more than a stranger’s intense bedside suffering

Step 4: Clean Diet

This may, hopefully, go without saying, but all the best skin care products and moisturizers in the world can’t fix a broken system or diet. If you know and love the 80/20 or Pareto Principle, diet is the lead factor for skin results. Most people respond best to eliminating dairy, wheat, and sugar. Beyond that, start monitoring certain foods you’re eating and see how your skin responds. The next best thing to a healthy tan and sun-kissed glow is slightly orange skin from excessively eating beta-carotene rich foods like sweet potatoes (I haven’t yet decided whether or not I’m being facetious).

Biohacking Simplified: 6 Health Hacks to Supercharge Your Health and Energy and Heal Your Gut

Biohacking Simplified: 6 Health Hacks to Supercharge Your Health and Energy and Heal Your Gut

Health really shouldn’t be that hard, but the human mind is wired to seek the ever-more complex solution. The final frontier is the next frontier for us. You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “biohacking” thrown around as it’s gained great momentum over the past few years, largely popularized by Dave Asprey the Bulletproof Exec. It’s basically a fancy term for Type-As experimenting with new contraptions, electrical stimulation devices, heat therapy, cold therapy, and other such widgets and practices (guilty as charged). Rather than share with you all the money I’ve wasted on biohacking products (which I’m open to doing pending request) I wanted to tease out for you the top six biohacks or health hacks that are worth your time, money, and effort.

Leading with the appropriate disclaimer, you are not obliged to do all or any of these on any consistent basis. View them as extra credit upgrades for your health, as best your time and doll-hairs permit. In fact, if you really want to get 80% of the way there simply follow these requirements:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food

You’re much better off starting there, but if you feel like you have the foundation, let us begin.

1) Fermented Foods

Simply put, fermented foods=probiotics=improved gut health and gut bacteria=improved holistic health. You have a few options here, including homemade kombucha, sauerkraut, and kefir. Homemade requires more time but is much more cost-effective, so find your balance/preference. If making your own fermented foods is too daunting and/or you have the disposable income, make a trip to Whole Paycheck to start incorporating into your diet on a weekly basis.

sauerkraut, fermented foods, probiotic

2) Bone Broth

Bone broth raises the dead. It’s also received huge hype, but the research backs it up. From improved joint health, digestion, immunity, hair, skin, to pretty much any health benefit imaginable, bone broth delivers. Try adding to your slow cooker/Crock-Pot, or warm up and drink as a standalone. The two best bone broth vendors I’ve found for grass-fed and no added preservatives are The Flavor Chef and Kettle and Fire. If you want to price-hack Kettle and Fire, order through Thrive Market.

3) Organ Meats

Fun and tasty? No, but damn good for you. Organ meats (heart, liver, and kidney) are one of the few food sources of harder to come by essential nutrients, like vitamin A (not beta-Carotene). If you can clock in with these at least once a month, you’re doing well. The convenient thing about fat-soluble vitamins is that your body can store them up. Get your fat-soluble vitamin A for the proverbial winter. My reliable organ meat assurance plan is the beef liverwurst from U.S. Wellness Meats – a mixture of grass-fed beef trim (50%), liver (20%), heart (15%), and kidney (15%). If anyone knows how to make organ meats more palatable than lazily throwing it in a slow cooker with sea salt and pepper, I’m all ears.

4) Cold Thermogenesis

The harder the nipples, the better you’re doing it – that’s a true fact. Submerging yourself in cold for a brief period of time is a form of eustress, flippantly defined as good stress. Similar to the concept of working out, you are subjecting your body to external stressors, prompting your body to rebuild and recover that much stronger. Options for cold thermogenesis run plentifully: cold showers (most accessible); a dip into a cold pool, lake, or ocean; Cryotherapy; or pretty much any environment below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Build up to 20 mins or so for a whole host of benefits, most interesting being the development of brown fat/adipose tissue which increases your metabolism to turn you into a fat-burning machine.

5) Heat Therapy

The opposite and equivalent of cold therapy/thermogenesis. Same eustress concept, with slightly different yet still buzz-worthy benefits, like detoxification and skin purification. A dry sauna is preferred over the steam room and Far Infrared Sauna is better than the traditional dry sauna. Marginally less crazy than it sounds, if you are die-hard about your health, detoxing, and heat therapy, you can purchase your own Far Infrared sauna. Just be sure to go with a low-EMF sauna so you don’t microwave yourself with damaging electromagnetic pollution. The best I’ve found is the Clearlight Infrared Sauna. If you’d like more information on sauna and detox benefits, protocols, and options, check out the Sauna Therapy Detox Facebook Group. To prove my insanity whilst showing I practice what I preach, below is a photo of my Clearlight Infrared Sauna jammed into my San Francisco apartment – so much room for activities! Bonus tip: heat and cold therapy work well in tandem, so bounce from one to the other (i.e. sauna session straight to cold shower).

6) Nature

Grounding, earthing, forest bathing…as long as you are in some way in touch with or exposed to nature, you will reap the benefits. Science is now proving what we know to be obviously true: if you lock people in concrete and noise-polluting jungles (#citylife) their stress and cortisol rises, but going on a hike or getting in touch with nature is the simplest antidote to reverse these deleterious effects. Even smelling pine measurably lowers one’s cortisol. Free, fast, fun, go outside, find your nature, and take off your shoes.

Give a few of these biohacks a shot, and track as best your can your own improvement in energy and well-being. If there’s one life pillar to double down on, it’s your health, in my less than humble opinion.

What other biohacks or health hacks have you found to help? Let’s learn from one another.

4 Simple Steps To Get 7 Days Worth Of Kombucha In One Hour

4 Simple Steps To Get 7 Days Worth Of Kombucha In One Hour

The Health Gain

Swap “Chew Big Red” with “Drink kombucha” and I would wholeheartedly concur. Kombucha is my favorite probiotic food (I’ve bounced around making homemade kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut) so now it’s going to be yours as well. If you’ve taken at least 5 seconds to read anything health-related in the last couple years, you would have heard about the vital importance of gut health/microbiome and probiotics. If you have delved in further than that, you would have observed the debate between probiotic supplements vs. fermented foods as to the best solution for optimizing your gut health. The answer today (to the best of my knowledge and bounded rationality) is fermented foods, so I’m going to teach you how to make kombucha, at scale, so you can have a multi-gallon supply at your disposal for the week.

The Economic and Time Gain

Most “how to make kombucha” posts/videos show you how to do it with just a regular mason jar. I’m going to assume you’re like me, too lazy or time-starved to make a new mini-brew every day or so. As with most activities, a more intelligent approach would be to batch process it. So this is about saving you time, without compromising your health gains.

What of the financial gains? this costs a little over a dollar a gallon to make it yourself. Store bought is up to $32 per gallon. This means each batch saves you about $120 each week, requiring less than an hour a week to produce.


Step 1: Required Supplies

You will need the following items to produce 4 gallons of kombucha a week. You don’t have to drink all 4 gallons a week to still benefit from the large quantities to consume at your leisure.

Glass Beverage Dispenser

It’s best to use all glass and or stainless steel vessel and parts. No plastics whatsoever are allowed. Kombucha is very acidic. Acid over a period of time will leach large amounts of plastic into your brew. This can disrupt your hormones.

I recommend a 5-gallon square glass beverage dispenser. Five gallons will net you up to 4 gallons per week or any smaller amount you want.

Spigot

You will need a stainless steel spigot. There is a common myth that says never use stainless steel with Kombucha. This is easily dispelled when you learn that most commercial brewers use stainless tanks.

Temperature Control

Professionals agree that we should brew between 74-84 degrees and ideally at 78 degrees. Most people find that a difficult to accomplish, until now. We will place the glass dispenser in a 48-quart cooler with night lights plugged into night light sockets. This will prevent temperature fluctuations and will allow almost exact temperature control.

48-Quart Cooler

Thermometer

Night Lights

Night Light Sockets

Extension Cord

Tea

Kombucha prefers black tea as the SCOBY (bacterial culture) is just starting to develop. Black tea is ideal for the first month or so of brewing to let the SCOBY grow. After you have an enlarged SCOBY you can wean it off of black tea and on to other healthier teas. Two types of tea each with amazing health benefits are green tea and Tulsi tea. Tulsi tea is an adaptogen (helps you fight against stressors). I recommend using loose tea as it is much easier to work with and is much more affordable per batch.  

Organic Sugar

Mason Jars

Kombucha SCOBY


Step 2: First Time Setup & Prep

Getting The Right Temperature

Connect the extension cord to an outlet, and add 1-3 night bulbs (play with 4, 5, and 7-watt bulbs). Place the lit bulbs and thermometer in the cooler and close the cooler lid. Wait a few hours and adjust the number of bulbs and/or wattage until you achieve 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, the optimal temperature range is 74-84 degrees. Professionals brew at 78 degrees for 7 Days. This will achieve the best flavor and ease of scheduling.

Installing the Spigot and Gaskets

Remove the existing plastic spigot on glass beverage dispenser. Install the stainless new spigots. Tighten with pliers or hands.


Step 3: First Brew

  1. METICS TO NOTE:
    • 2 tablespoons (TBS) of loose leaf tea per gallon of water.
    • 1 cup of sugar per gallon of water.
  2. Boil two pots of roughly 1/2 gallon water each on stove.
  3. Turn off stove once water boils.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of loose leaf organic black tea to one pot.
  5. Add 1 cup of sugar to the second pot of water.
  6. Wisk sugar water until sugar dissolves.
  7. After 5-20 minutes of tea brewing, use a strainer to pour the pot of tea into another pot to separate the tea leaves from tea.
  8. Wait another 30 minutes to let all the water cool to less than 100 degrees.
  9. Pour tea and sugar water into glass beverage dispenser.
  10. Add SCOBY to glass dispenser.
  11. Now that the glass dispenser contains all the necessary ingredients (SCOBY + sugar water + tea) fasten a paper towel or thin cloth at the top of the glass dispenser’s opening using rubber bands.
  12. Place whole glass dispenser into cooler (temperature controlled at about 78 degrees) and wait 7 days.
  13. Ideally, you will check the cooler and temperature every day or so to ensure you are still in the 74-84 degree range. Extra credit/OCD if you hit 78 degrees daily.
  14. After 6-8 days, carry glass dispenser out of cooler and drain kombucha into glass mason jars.
    • NOTE: Do not drain completely; leave a few inches of kombucha in the glass dispenser to continue the SCOBY fermentation until the next batch.
  15. Bravo! You now have 7+ days worth of kombucha and may repeat the steps above to batch for the following week (minus the adding of the SCOBY).

Step 4: Second Brew & Beyond

On your first 10 batches, you will want to gradually work your way up from 1 gallon to 4 gallons. This will allow your SCOBY to grow and your body to adapt to larger amounts of probiotics. With each brew, gradually increase the total water volume from 1 gallon to 4, keeping the tea leaves and sugar proportions in check (see METRICS TO NOTE above). 

On day 5 taste test daily for sweetness. You want a hint of sweetness and some bitter or sour. Brew until you achieve this. It usually takes 6-8 days at 78 degrees. The higher the temperature the faster the brew.  Adjust the temperature accordingly to accommodate for the convenience of making this once a week or at your preferred cadence. 

Transitioning From Black to Green or Tulsi Tea

Start with black tea for the first month. On the 5th brew or so add 1 Tablespoon of tulsi, green, or other tea of your choosing and subtract one TBS of black tea for each batch. In 8 weeks or so you will have weaned it to 100% the tea of your choice. I do 50% tulsi 50% green tea, so 4 TBS tulsi, 4 TBS green tea for the 4-gallon batch. 

A Word of Encouragement

If you made it this far, you are well on the road to gut health victory, a battle worth winning. This probably seems like a lot or somewhat complicated but you will get the hang of it after the first couple batches. Never let perfection get in the way of good enough. Post below how it’s working out for you after you’ve given it a stab. If you are a kombucha queen or king and have other tips to share, let us hear it!