Have you Heard of Biohacking?
Who knew there was a term for what I’ve been doing in my quest to be healthier?
I just recently learned the word "biohacking," and then I started researching ways to biohack my life!
So, What is biohacking?
Biohacking is merely making small changes, or hacks, to reach your health or lifestyle ideals.
Everything that we put into our bodies, from food to our thoughts and products we use to how much we move, changes who we are and how we feel.
You are a scientist for one person, yourself!
You can transform your mind and body by biohacking your lifestyle and habits.
You will feel more energized, more productive, and become your best you! It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Like me, you’ve probably been doing a version of this all your life without really noticing. It’s time to start paying closer attention to what your body is telling you!
One version of biohacking your body and lifestyle is called nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the study of nutritionally changing the activity of your body.
It also relates to other sub-categories of biohacking, like sleep, exercise, attention, environment (like light & sound), thoughts, and stress management.
Our bodies are ever-changing, and by paying attention to how all these factors affect your body, you can use these discoveries to live a happier, more fulfilling life.
7 Ways to Biohack Your Health
1. Try an elimination diet
An elimination diet is a great way to find the source of digestive issues, food allergies, rashes, fatigue or struggle to lose weight.
It is a short-term eating plan that helps you figure out what foods are contributing to your physical symptoms.
These plans have you eliminate known allergens from your diet for generally 3-4 days to reduce the inflammation. Typical allergens or inflammation-causing foods include gluten, soy, dairy, nuts, certain vegetables, processed foods, and sugar.
Once the inflammation has gone down, you start slowly adding these banned foods to your diet.
As you add each food back into your diet, note any reactions. The goal is to become aware of the foods that make you feel great and those that don't.
An elimination diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You may be surprised at how good you can feel once you have eliminated offending foods from your diet!
"The Plan" by Lyn-Genet Recitas is a great way to get started with an elimination diet.
2. Overcome Your Sugar Addiction
Ending your sugar addiction may be one of the most difficult and the most rewarding biohack you can do for yourself.
Too much added sugar in the diet is the culprit behind so many things that cause problems for our bodies.
A lack of willpower doesn’t cause your sugar addiction! Eating a diet high in sugar feeds the bacteria in your gut that thrive on sugar.
When you eliminate sugar from your diet, those bacteria go into overdrive, telling your brain that you need to eat more sugar!
One way to help combat this is to take a probiotic. This will introduce good bacteria into your gut to replace the harmful sugar-eating bacteria as it dies out.
Another way to combat your sugar addiction is to have healthy food available when you get those sugar cravings.
Notice when the desires are the strongest. For many people, mid-afternoon is when they need something sugary to pick them up.
Having a snack available like low-glycemic fruit (apples or berries), and healthy fat like nuts, avocado, or nut butter will kill the sugar craving and give you better energy.
Don’t fall into the trap of using artificial sweeteners to replace sugar!
Artificial sweeteners, even natural ones like stevia or monk fruit, can cause other digestive problems. They can also keep you in your sugar-addicted state.
Tough it out and see how much better you feel without added sugar to your diet!
3. Change When You Eat
Changing when you have your first and last meal of the day can profoundly affect your weight and energy levels.
Intermittent fasting is becoming very popular for weight loss, but it is also suitable for your general health.
Giving yourself time between meals allows your body to rest and restore. Studies show that intermittent fasting can have lifelong impacts on your body and brain and may also extend your life! (1)
There are several different fasting methods, and there is a great deal of information to help you make an educated decision on intermittent fasting.
It is also essential to look at what you’re eating and when.
Studies show that “night owl” snacking or skipping meals can cause you to gain weight, feel more lethargic, and be less productive overall. (2) It may be more important to change your daily routine than to make smaller biohacking changes to your diet.
By following a more natural routine, your body will find its natural circadian rhythm, which may result in some weight loss.
Then, when you’ve solidified your daily routine, try to change your diet.
Indeed, you are what you eat. But you also are influenced by when you eat!
4. Sleep More
If you aren’t getting the sleep you need, you are at risk for many health problems.
Lack of sleep also affects emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, and social avoidance, like canceling on your friends so you can catch up on those much-needed z’s.
So how do you get better sleep? Experts at the National Sleep Foundation have outlined a set of sleep hygiene tips and tricks to get more restful sleep. (3)
- Stick to your weekly wake-up and sleep times, even on the weekends. As tempting as it is to sleep in, keeping a consistent schedule can help your body maintain a soothing rhythm.
- Establishing a nighttime ritual or routine can also improve your sleep. Learning how to relax and decompress from the day can be the first biohacking step you make in getting better sleep.
- Allowing time to relax and prepare for the morning before bed is associated with better productivity and more restful sleep.
Another great way to get more sleep is to adopt the Scandinavian principle of ‘hygge.’ Hygge means surrounding yourself with things that make you feel comfortable and cozy.
Acknowledging and embracing moments of calmness, peace, or tranquility can be extremely relaxing. All it requires is a certain level of mindfulness and the ability to slow down for a few moments.
Operating in this kind of mindset can allow your body the time it needs to relax and decompress. It also will let your body fall asleep and stay asleep more naturally.
5. Eat More Fat
For decades fat has been seen as something ‘bad’ to eat!
Low-fat diets have caused Americans to eat more processed sugars and carbohydrates, resulting in higher levels of obesity and cardiovascular disease. (4) Recently, thanks to the trendiness of the Keto diet, healthy fats are making a comeback in foods worldwide.
Healthy high-fat foods include avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, whole eggs, fatty fish, nuts, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and full-fat yogurt.
The ketogenic diet works by putting your body in a state of ketosis. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it no longer burns carbohydrates for energy; but instead, it breaks down fats.
It takes your body longer to break down fats, and as a result, you burn more calories trying to break them down than when you break down carbohydrates. (5)
The bottom line? Eating a diet rich in fats and low in carbohydrates can be extremely healthy for you.
In addition to getting more healthy fats, vitamins, and omega-3s, your body will use ketosis to its benefit.
Benefits include more energy, improved health, and weight loss.
6. Change Your Thoughts
One of the best ways to change your negative thoughts into positive ones is to find motivational books, podcasts, YouTube videos, or other recordings.
Any of these can aid you in self-reflection, meditation, visualization, positive affirmations, and more.
Changing how we think is probably both the most rewarding and challenging form of biohacking.
While it is easy to say, “I’m going to have a great day today,” it is immensely more challenging to put those thoughts into action.
Why? Because thinking, action, intention, and feeling are all necessary to create change. By linking your intention to change with your feelings, you will be more likely to take action than by changing your thoughts alone.
Changing the way you think is not easy! Luckily for you, hundreds of inspirational individuals have made it their life’s work to inspire others to make meaningful changes.
Check out these forward thinkers to start changing your thoughts and changing your life!
7. Move More
One of the trendiest ways to move right now is yoga.
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and has been demonstrated to reduce stress and improve overall mental health and well-being.
The best part about yoga is that all ages and activity levels can practice it.
There are hundreds of modifications for beginners, experts, young, old, etc. Nothing is holding you back from practicing this ancient form of exercise and clearing your mind.
Another great way to move more is to get outside. Go hiking or walking and feel the sun’s energy radiate through you.
A short walk in the sunshine can make you feel more motivated and more positive about your life.
Do you need a high-intensity stress release? Try kickboxing or HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts to release the stresses of the day and feel more in control of your emotions.
Letting out the negative energies of the day through forceful body movements encourages a rush of adrenaline which empowers you to take on whatever comes next!
Biohacking is just a fancy word for figuring out what works best for you!
While some people take this to extremes, a simple holistic look at what you want to change can be very useful. Make use of a journal to track what is working and what isn’t working.
You won’t always remember how you achieved those subtle changes if you don’t write down what you are doing, thinking, and eating!
To make things easier, use a fitness tracker that will record everything from heart rate to sleep patterns and automatically keep the information on an app for you. Many online programs will help you track your nutrition for free!
Have fun biohacking your life!
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1. Barnosky, A. R., Hoddy, K. K., Unterman, T. G., & Varady, K. A. (2014). Intermittent fasting vs. daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Translational Research: The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, 164(4), 302–311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trsl.2014.05.013
2. Is When You Eat Just as Important as What You Eat? | National Center for Health Research. (2015, June 3). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from http://www.center4research.org/eat-just-important-eat/
3. Learning How to Relax | Sleep.org. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.sleep.org/articles/learning-relax/
4. 10 High-Fat Foods That Are Super Healthy. (2017, June 4). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-super-healthy-high-fat-foods
5. The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide to Keto. (2018, July 30). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101
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