I love reading– mostly been into non-fiction lately though I certainly have read my share of poetry/fiction/more creative works, as I have an MFA in Creative Writing as part of my background. I go through waves where I’ll be interested in all things fantastical for a few years then be completely turned off by the same and will only want to engage my left hemisphere.
Part of why I love the field of health/wellness is that it’s a mixture of the quantitative and the creative– I get to play/share/enjoy the pleasures of life in the kitchen as I develop recipes– all engaging my right hemisphere– while simultaneously geeking out on new factoids/research in books and blogs and podcasts.
If you’re like me and love learning, here are my top 5 health/wellness books that have inspired me to start my own blog/journey into biohacking:
Dave Aspery wrote this book using Paleo, Ketogenic, Autoimmune Protocol, and Candida Diet principles in response to his own journey where he lost 200 lbs while simultaneously gaining mental focus. He had gained that weight and brain fog as a result of toxic mold exposure and poor hormone regulation– and created his own diet that I pretty much subscribe to with very few exceptions.
Why? Because it works. I know I definitely come off as fanatical when I talk about the Bulletproof Diet with friends but I’m okay with that. I believe in this stuff because I myself have gone from a size 12 to 2 in a year’s time — and I’m still losing body fat. Just the other day, I noticed my size S shirt was getting too big on me. I also used to play Lumosity and have noticed that my percentile scores are in the 80-98th percentile range nowadays whereas before I used to score in the 40-60th percentile range for my age. Want to know how I did it? Keep reading this blog and start reading this book.
Dave also has an entire Bulletproof brand full of health products and gizmos that you can buy as well as a blog, podcast (which I listen to religiously), and coaching program. I also went to his Bulletproof conference this past year with Daniel– and will definitely be going again next year. He has another book coming out this year on mitochondria which I’m excited to read and will be seeing him read from as part of his SF stop for his book tour.
My one issue with Dave Aspery is that he is less of a person and more like a brand. I get the need to hustle in this world and I respect him as a marketer, but I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m part of a cult when I go to events that he runs. I reconcile that with the understanding that as long as you’re putting out great information that helps the world, what harm is done if you’re making money off of that in the meantime to pay your bills? And, not all of his content requires you handing over your money– I have used his free infographic with friends (pretty much summarizes everything from his seminal book).
Also, his blog and podcast are free.
Of 4-Hour Workweek fame, Tim Ferriss, like Dave Aspery, has made a name for himself via writing books on biohacking as well as keeping a blog, weekly email list (which I’m subscribed to), and podcast (which I’m also subscribed to). His latest book, Tools of Titans (of which, I attended one of the book promotion events), is basically a compendium of notes and excerpts from his podcast episodes where he interviews “titans” or people that have shown to excel in their given field or career. It’s organized in three sections: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. The Healthy and Wise categories were my preferred sections, as I believe that after you make a certain amount of money, namely $75K, the happiness that can be derived from money diminishes. I think success is often defined via income in our society but I care less about that and more about the life one chooses to lead.
When a friend asked me to share some things that I learned from the book, I found it hard to describe exactly what part of the book stood out– as it’s all experiential-based. For example, I could tell you that I learned about “stopping to smell the roses” but such aphorisms seem trite when there’s no context.
But when you read what his guest Derek Sivers shared about timing his bike ride when he pushed hard and timing his bike ride when he stopped to notice the ocean and look around him as he rode and learning that there was only a couple minutes of time added when doing that — and then he realized how important it was to not get caught up in the “objectives” of life but just have fun and enjoy the ride, as that will only cost you a negligible “delay” from your “mission”– that lesson is more tangible since there’s now a story/context.
Also, Ferriss’ interview with Charles Polinquin was full of biohacking tidbits that I found myself highlighting pretty much the entire chapter.
What I like about Tim Ferriss’ content is that it’s free– of course, you could buy the book and have it distilled and organized– but it’s not necessary, as the “titan” interviews are on his blog and podcast anyway.
This book inspired me to experiment with extended fasts (aka, beyond the intermittent fasting that I was already practicing). I know there are some out there that don’t believe in extended fasting for the non-obese but I still found it useful, not only for my skin appearance and general lipolysis but also just a great mental challenge in restraint– why not try it just to say that you did it? Anyway, Jimmy Moore, co-author, also has a podcast, Livin’ La Vida Low Carb, of which I’m a subscriber.
This book was the first biohacking book I had ever read and it jump-started my journey into the low carb lifestyle as well as inspired me to start weight lifting. What I like most about this book is that it has lots of theory but it also shares recipes that you can practically apply right away. Great for someone beginning their biohacking journey.
David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain (which talked about the problems with gluten– so even if you don’t have celiac or gluten sensitivity, you should choose to be gluten-free), wrote this book and I think it is even more compelling than his first in that he elucidates the brain-gut connection really well. If you don’t properly nourish your microbiome in your gut, there will be neural consequences. So, not only should we be avoiding gluten and sugar to avoid Type III diabetes (aka, Alzheimer’s), but we should also eat probiotic-rich foods. He includes some probiotic recipes at the end– it’s what got me interested in the world of pickling.
So, that’s my recommended reading list so far. Currently I’m reading Deep Nutrition and am having lots of fun geeking out– will post later about it when I’m done.
Also, here are some honorable mentions:
- Mark’s Daily Apple is another blog that I read which is put out by Mark Sisson, another biohacking thought leader who wrote Primal Blueprint and has a podcast of the same name. He also runs Primal Kitchen which offers a wide variety of non-vegetable-oil-based products that are Paleo-friendly. I didn’t include him on my list because I still need to read his book– will post my thoughts at another time 🙂
- I am subscribed to the Optimal Performance Podcast, put out by Natural Stacks, a brand that I believe in, as their products are sourced naturally and they ethically hold to that standard (see my MycoMind and MycoBoost review as well as my Serotonin Brain Food review). To quote Simon Sinek, I subscribe to their “why” as a consumer and will pretty much try anything that they make.
- The Power of When was a relatively quick read that helped me learn that optimal times for working out, eating, etc. are dependent on each individual’s “chronotype.” You can take Dr. Breus’ quiz here to see which type you are. So, for example, since I’m a “wolf” or night-owl type, it doesn’t make sense for me to work out early in the mornings, as my coritsol/melatonin regulation works differently than, say, a “lion” or early bird type.