- 1 Why I Started Selfhacked
- 2 Going against the herd
- 3 Goal of Selfhacked
- 4 About me
- 5 Below is a partial list of things I have tried:
- 6 Foods Caused My Inflammation
- 7 What Don’t I React to?
- 8 Cognitive Improvement
- 9 Physical Improvement
Why I Started Selfhacked
I started selfhacked.com because I realized that the more I read from the health blogosphere the sicker I got and the more I read directly from the scientific sources the healthier I got.
At a certain point, after trying everything out under the sun, I realized it wasn’t beneficial to read health blogs because of the mostly terrible advice that’s given.
Most of the material published by these blogs is filled with marketing and hype – and the currency is false hope. Critical thinking is woefully missing.
What irked me the most was when people were convinced that what worked for them must work for everyone else. I think everyone is different and it’s important to isolate those differences and understand why people react differently.
You may also notice that within the blogosphere there are a few originators and thought leaders and a multitude of copycats, who are just marketing and repackaging the same ideas, but essentially have no real, novel insights.
Going against the herd
Another issue that I’d faced in the health blogosphere was herd mentality. I found bloggers who identified in a certain way (either paleo, vegan or any other group) were closed minded to ideas outside of their ideology.
I try to be extremely open-minded and willing to try anything, but I’m also highly skeptical and take a critical look upon everything.
My brain is programmed to figure out practical solutions, instead of trying to fit in and curry favor with some group or another.
Accordingly, I don’t fit into any category: I’m not “paleo”, low carb, low fat or anything else for that matter. I do what works and what’s most supported, without labels or trying to fit into any group.
I’m well aware that this will cost me in readership because few people want to reference a guy that is willing to disagree or criticize everyone and anyone.
The benefit to my approach is that I’m free to have any opinions that I want, without fear of backlash from the group. People interview and reference others who accord with their own ideas. I believe no one and independently try to come to my own conclusions.
Goal of Selfhacked
It’s my goal here at Selfhacked to introduce cutting edge and novel insights and not just recycle the same old garbage. I offer unique, creative and effective solutions, instead of using marketing, hype and selling false hope like almost everyone else.
In forming ideas, I look to traditional and cultural knowledge, mechanistic studies, animal studies, human studies, expert opinions, anecdotes and my own experimental results.
My name is Joe and I’m a self-learner, human guinea pig, biohacker and extreme novelty seeker, who is willing to go to any length to feel and think better.
I spend the vast majority of my time reading medical journals, performing experiments on myself and thinking up creative solutions to solving various diseases and improving performance (all types of performance, but especially cognitive performance).
I’m not committed to using only “natural” solutions, but for various reasons, the vast majority of people do best with these solutions.
My life can be categorized as one big experiment and I’ve experimented heavily with supplements, diets, lifestyle factors, devices and philosophies.
I have two degrees in finance and psychology as well as pre-medical coursework, in addition to lots of independent study in the biological sciences-particularly pathology (the study of disease).
To some extent, I have an “advantage” in figuring different causes and solutions to health issues because I’ve had to deal with so many of my own.
I’ve had health issues since a young kid and had to figure out the solutions myself, since no one could help.
In addition, when it comes to cognitive enhancement, I am uniquely positioned because I grew up in unusual circumstances and lacked even a rudimentary education, in addition to to having all sorts of physiological cognitive problems like brain fog, neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunction.
With regard to my state of education, at the age of 19 I had a third grade ability to read and write and the focusing capacity of a 6 year old, whereas now I either score perfectly or in the 99th percentile in writing and verbal on a variety of standardized tests and score highly in math and various other intelligence tests.
Figuring out how to overcome these barriers presented huge challenges and required creative solutions.
It’s my hope to keep gaining knowledge and utilizing ever advancing technology to become ever more healthy and vital.
Individual Approach is Key
The posts on this blog are generalizations and geared for helping the majority of people.
It’s my sincere belief, however, that no one size fits all. Everyone has a different set of issues that needs to be dealt with in different ways.
For this reason, if I talk positively or negatively about something it doesn’t mean it’s categorically good or bad. One man’s poison is another’s cure.
I think this is why people are so confused when it comes to health information. Health writers talk about what worked for them for a specific set of health issues and all of a sudden what worked for them is a panacea for all.
The Problem with Doctors
I must say it’s unfortunate that today’s medical doctors don’t begin to understand the full range of options because it simply wasn’t taught to them and they usually aren’t enterprising enough to read the literature directly.
The few doctors who do read the literature directly are stifled by an ultra-conservative philosophy that if something isn’t studied and replicated by massive double blind, placebo controlled trials (which only the drug companies can afford) and published in prestigious journals then it has absolutely no value.
Instead of looking at problems with a risk/benefit analyses they are stifled by their parochial view. On the other hand, there’s way too much dogma and quackery in the alternative health sphere.
In contrast, I take an open-minded, yet highly skeptical approach and try to figure out what has the highest probability of working.
The multi-factorial nature of disease
I think the nature of disease is woefully misunderstood.
The usage of drugs by conventional medicine indicates an approach to disease that is highly targeted.
For some diseases that happen because of a very specific cause, this is a good approach, but for chronic disease, it’s usually not optimal or effective.
This is simply because chronic disease – whether it be depression, anxiety, cancer, obesity, schizophrenia or heart disease- has multiple causes that contribute to the disease.
Multiple things need to go wrong in the body by the time we realize something is seriously wrong. The body is good at adapting when one or two things go awry.
These multifactorial diseases can’t successfully be treated with a drug that only addresses one of the issues.
In practice, this is what’s called treatment resistance – a continuation of disease despite one or more treatments.
You see, when one factor in the body goes awry, the body adjusts through homeostasis and tries to work around the imbalance to function normally.
When multiple things go bad, a new homeostasis is created and at that stage even if someone tries to fix one of the underlying issues, the body will get back to its new diseased homeostatic state.
We see this with every chronic disease. This is why it’s so hard to treat any chronic disease and find that all of our attempts are almost futile.
We can give drugs for depression but it barely makes a dent. There might be a small decrease in depression for a few weeks, but after a few months depression takes hold again.
Cancer drugs are mostly useless and clinically insignificant for most cancers because of their selectivity. When it comes to chronic diseases there is no silver bullet.
If one is in a diseased state, they must attack it from multiple angles that address all of the underlying causes of the disease. Some of these causes we aren’t aware of yet, but our knowledge is progressing at such a clip that we keep finding more causes every few years.
Finesse and balance are required for attacking the disease in multiple ways. If one treatment is targeted too much, as is the case by drugs, an imbalance will occur and the person may have side effects that are worse than the disease itself. So the treatment must target every cause significantly but not so much that it causes tremendous harm to the body.
One must always remember , though, that any treatment – diet, exercise, supplements or anything else – always comes with a trade-off.
The older someone is the less wiggle-room they have and their condition becomes significantly harder to treat. I view disease as just a manifestation of aging, where we eventually succumb to one diseased state or another if we live to be old enough.
In this paradigm, there is no “cure” for a disease, only a slowing of its progression. So if you see me use the word “cure”, realize that what I really am saying is a a temporary reversal which can last a long time if the person is young enough or a halting/slowing of its progression if a person is very old.
My overarching philosophy is to simplify and achieve more with less.
Below is a partial list of things I have tried:
Vegan, Raw Vegan, Whole food diet, Whole food plant based diet, Vegetarian, Dairy free, Gluten free, Grain free, Low carb, Paleo/Primal, Low fat, High Saturated fat, Mediterranean diet, High protein, Low glycemic index diet, Bulletproof diet, Atkins diet, Harvard school of public health recommendations, Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction.
|Alternate day fasting|
|Time restricted eating|
|Skipping various meals|
|Different types of Meditation|
|different forms of Yoga|
|Cold (showers, baths, etc..)|
|Breathing exercises and many others|
|Blue/green blocking glasses|
|Bright light therapy|
|Whole Body Vibration|
|Foot stimulation mats|
|Various vibrational devices|
I’ve experimented with implementing different philosophies as well to “achieve” happiness.
These experiments included the recommendations of self-help books, most of which was counter-productive.
Much of my current philosophy on how to live a happy life comes from Zen Bhuddism, without any of the religious aspects of it.
Substances That I’ve Tried
I experiment with substances different than most people do. I first take the suggested dose.
If I don’t feel anything or I’m not sure, I double the dosage. I keep doing this until I notice effect to the point that it’s uncomfortable and too strong.
Like this I am relatively certain if/how things are working in my body.
Needless to say, many experiments haven’t gone well and damage has occurred, but I think there’s been long term dividends with this approach.
Most of these have been experimented with multiple forms, brands, and methods of preparation.
Also, this is only a partial list and doesn’t include other substances as part of formulas. I’ve experimented with these individually and in high dosages.
|Deer Antler Velvet|
|Tea (white peony silver needle Jasmine Napalese black Houjicha|
|Olive leaf extract|
|Apple cider vinegar|
|Curcumin – Bio-curcumin|
|Panax/red Ginseng (multiple kinds)|
|Calcium Magnesium Citramate|
|Whey Concentrate and isolate – Goat and Cows|
|Rice protein and Bran|
|Chlorella –Pyrendosa and yaema|
|Uridine – TAU|
|Green Coffee Extract|
|St John’s Wort|
|Cod Liver Oil|
|Purified Fish Oil|
|Long Jack – LJ100|
|Cinnamon – Cassia|
|R- Lipoic Acid|
|Soy and Sunflower Lecithin|
|Various raw honeys|
|Aloe Vera juice|
|Aloe Vera gel|
|Angelica Root Extract|
|Suntheanine L theanine|
|Peppermint tea and oil|
|Probiotics – many different strains|
|Chayawanprash -5 brands|
|Desalted sea minerals|
|Modified Citrus Pectin|
|Collagen type 1,2,3|
|Tart cherry extract|
|Salicin(white willow bark ext)|
|Aquamin sea minerals|
|aged garlic ext|
|Proteases and a bunch of mixed enzymes|
|White Kidney Bean ext|
|Khan Jang plus|
These are previous health problems that I have had at some time in the past
Keep in mind that these are downstream events caused by more fundamental issues.
For example, all of the issues below stems from a disregulated hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid and adrenal axis.
Specifically, I have an autoimmune disease that targets my hypothalamus and maybe thyroid and disregulates my neuroendocrine system every time I get inflammation.
Some of these are closely related. For example, generalized anxiety will be correlated with test anxiety, performance anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, nail biting, insomnia, etc…
I don’t have these issues anymore to any degree (as long as I keep to a strict diet)..
|Brain insulin resistance|
|OCD- Cognitve…Nail biting, Lip biting|
|GAD- Generalized Anxiety Disorder|
|Chronic Stress – even if I wasn’t busy|
|Nervous tension and energy|
|Postprandial fatigue/reactive hypoglycemia/Neuroglycopenia|
|Chronic fatigue – physical and mental|
|Bouts of Low motivation|
|Gastric Ulcers/ Gastritis|
|Insulin resistance/metabolic issues|
|High liver enzymes|
|Higher end of blood sugar range|
|Eye problems – dry eyes|
|Continual loss of vision even after 21|
|Bad circulation in hands|
|feet and in general (cold extremities)|
|Phlegm and Mucous|
|Getting exhausted and nauseous quickly from exercising|
|Migraines – exercise induced|
|Slowed wound healing|
|Lowered immunity – got sick after lifting weights and frequent sickness – colds, flu, strep, bells palsy.|
|Needing more than 8 hrs of sleep|
|Needing to drink a lot – like a gallon a day|
|Dry lips, hands|
Again, all of the issues listed have been fixed. I don’t doubt that issues will surface or resurface and tweaking will need to be done here and there, but I have built many firewalls for this purpose.
If one firewall fails, I have the necessary back-up systems to stem the bleeding.
Foods Caused My Inflammation
In my case, these issues come from inflammation induced by food. It took me up until the age of 26 (I’m 27) to figure out all of the foods that were causing me inflammation.
It turns out that I’m sensitive to almost everything that people eat. This includes:
- Casein (dairy),
- Yeast (in all breads)
- Phytic acid (in all whole grains and plant based foods),
- Sweet potatoes (not purple ones)
- White potatoes
- All legumes (except black bean dip, tempeh)
- Some fruits
- Various food additives
When my health problems were at their peak, I lived on gluten, dairy, yeast, whole grains/plant based foods, eggs, fish, in addition to alcohol, caffeine and food additives. It’s no wonder why I had all of those problems.
The level of inflammation I get from each of these is on very different levels. For example, I get 10X more inflammation from dairy than squash, but I still feel a bit tired from squash unless I take supplements to combat inflammation.
Some of these foods I recommend in my diet because I feel they are less inflammatory than other foods, even though I myself don’t eat them or do but in limited quantities.
A decade of chronic inflammation by all kinds of foods messed up my hypothalamus and led me to react negatively to high glycemic index foods, even if I wasn’t sensitive to it.
On the other hand, I didn’t react well to high fat diets or products like coconut oil, leaving me with few options.
From this inflammatory issue, all the of events below occured. That’s really all it was.
What Don’t I React to?
Even some of these I react to a bit, but it’s insignificant enough that it doesn’t bother me. When I stick to these foods, I don’t need to use any supplements to combat inflammation.
- Purple sweet potatoes
- Pea protein
- Hi-Maize resistant starch
- Waxy Maize
- Semi-green bananas
- Cod liver
- Sprouted flax
- Coconut shreds
- Raw honey
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Go raw buckwheat
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Hemp oil
- Black Cumin Seed Oil
- Sprouted sunflower seeds or regular Sunflower seeds
- Fruits (view RS diet)
- Cooked tempeh
- Sunflower Lecithin - after meals for PS and PC.
- Nutritional Yeast, Italian Seasoning, Curry
- Sprouted sesame seeds
- Black bean dip
- Tomato Powder
- Leafy greens
Why Didn’t I Go to Doctors?
I did. They were useless.
So what is life like now?
I forgot what it feels like to be anxious, for one. I’m never stressed (even under pressure or deadlines) and I don’t ever get in bad/dreary moods.
My OCD has vanished. Brain fog and fatigue are a thing of the past. I function fine on 5 hours these days, though I get more sleep for health reasons.
I’m also pretty focused all day and my brain is working twice as good as ever. I’m barely ever thirsty, my circulation is great and I don’t have any aches or pains.
I have lots of endurance and I feel great after intense bouts of exercise instead of feeling nauseous. I don’t get sick and I have no phlegm or mucous. All of my GI problems are gone. My vision has also improved.
All of my blood results are pretty good in terms of anti-aging and peak health. For example my fasting blood sugar is 80 without supplements or exercise (I experimented without taking supplements for a few weeks), whereas it used to be 94, and that was with lots of supplements and exercise to bring it down.
Though not a health issue, over the past 11 years I have gained around 40 IQ points.
At 15, I took a PSAT and scored an equivalent of a 400 on the verbal (less than the 50th percentile for my age group).
At 23, I took the SAT twice and both times scored a perfect 800 on the verbal. Both scores weren’t a result of practice effects, since I didn’t study for it at 15 or 23.
At 27, my reading ability is significantly better now than it ever was. On an SAT verbal score it would probably translate to greater than 1000, if such a score were possible.
Although it’s a fair point that verbal ability isn’t completely indicative of IQ, I subjectively feel as though my general cognition improved in lockstep with my verbal abilities.
So while I can’t know exactly how many IQ points I have gained, 40 points seems to be a reasonable and even conservative guess.
I never was fat, but I have gotten more fit by following my diet, with very little exercise
I exercise for about 2 hours a month, excluding walking. No sit-ups.