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One of the reasons I started my blog was to honour my Mum’s healthy lifestyle ethos. She was a big believer in holistic health, and I learned from an early age to eat well and to manage my own symptoms. Our bodies are magnificent and intelligent. They tell us when things are wrong and it’s up to us to recognise the signals and adjust things accordingly. Whether it is our diet, stress levels or quality of sleep, we all need to take more responsibility when it comes to our own health.
Biohacking is a concept that really appeals to me and I was excited to learn more about it from Tim Gray, one of the first Biohacking experts in the UK. Tim, who is starting to gain a huge following, discovered biohacking when became so ill that he couldn’t even hold an umbrella. His doctor told him there was nothing that he could do to help, so Tim took his health into his own hands and started researching his symptoms and ways that he could help heal himself. He soon discovered Dave Asprey and realised that he was not alone and there were many others like him who were sick of being sick and were looking at natural ways to heal themselves. So, I was delighted when Tim agreed to answer a few of my questions about the latest self-help health trend – Biohacking!
What is Biohacking?
‘In a nutshell, Biohacking uses a combination of nature and technology to optimise your health and performance. It’s a personalised healthcare system that optimises our inside environment (gut health, fuelling deficiencies, adjusting diet, supplementing to support specific things) and our outside world (minimising electric and magnetic field (EMF) exposure, reducing blue light late at night, purifying polluted air) and tracking (where possible) to prove how all these elements affects us. Biohacking (like functional medicine) also looks for ‘the why’ and focuses on that, instead of just trying to hide symptoms (which are critical messengers telling us there is something to resolve).’
‘Biohacking is using technology to mimic a natural environment in an unnatural world’.’
Why is Biohacking so important?
‘It’s important because I was chronically ill for 5 years, and traditional GPs couldn’t find anything wrong with me. They started to suggest that my illness was ‘psychological’ but they didn’t bother to ask if I exercised, ate natural food, drank clean mineralised water, or slept well. They also didn’t know what to test for, especially some of the more advanced tests like testing my genes for a ‘mutation’ in the Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid homocysteine and that is critical for detoxification and energy production. Nor did they check my gut microbiome balance or my toxic metal levels (I had toxic levels of mercury). The traditional system is amazing for emergency care but horrendous for chronic health conditions as it focuses primarily on the symptoms, not on the root cause.’
Why should we Biohack?
‘We should all be biohacking because it can prevent health issues. It helps to ensure that we give our bodies what they need to thrive, instead of starving it of the basic building blocks. We service our car once a year. Why? Because we don’t want it to break down. We fill it with the best quality of fuel and oil, and we respect it. How many of us say we only put the best fuel (food) or oil (water) into our bodies every day?
Biohacking is not only making ‘health’ fashionable, but it also advances healthcare by making it targeted, personalised, quantified and individualised. I realised how bad my performance was even when I was at my best (before getting ill), and now not only is it my passion, and my career, it’s also helping me to prevent future health issues (preventive versus curative).’
Are there any risks?
‘Some extreme practices can be risky, some practitioners are inserting technology under their skin, but more importantly, it can be overwhelming too, which is why I focus on ‘the fundamentals’, the basic building blocks our bodies need to operate as they should. If we look at how our ancestors lived, we can get plenty of clues as to what worked well for them for millennia.’
Fast Track your Health Optimisation with Tim’s 5 fundamentals
1. Optimising our sleep
By tracking it with an Oura Ring, or an Apple Watch we can see how our sleep improves by changing one thing at a time. Like using Blue Light blocking glasses. Does that increase our deep sleep by 20%? Or eating before sunset. Does that help to reduce our heart rate when we sleep? To find out more, I recommend reading The Circadian Code by Dr Satchin Panda or Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
2. Drinking natural, clean mineral water
Our ancestors would have drunk from a stream, so how can we mimic that? Investing in a reverse osmosis filter and adding some Celtic minerals for instance. Read Quench by Dana Cohen to find out more.
3. Getting enough natural light.
Fake, ‘junk’ light from our devices doesn’t count as light. Light is energy and sunlight fuels us (as does our food). We need ‘good’ light in the same way that we need ‘good’ food. Getting as much natural light as possible (limiting direct sunlight where necessary). Health and Light by John Ott is an excellent source of information on the importance of light to our health and wellbeing.
4. Getting our shoes off and grounding.
We get free-electrons from the earth, which pair with free-radicals and reduces inflammation. It’s free and in abundance. It’s mother-nature’s most powerful antioxidant and it’s basic and simple. Read Earthing by Clint Ober to find out more.
5. Doing daily breathwork.
Using breathing techniques such as those taught by Wim Hof or the Buteyo Clinic can help to oxygenate your body, invigorate your mind and help us to be super productive. Oxygen is super-effective at helping us to heal, and most of us over breathe and under oxygenate. Daily breathwork helps reduce fatigue, brain fog, asthma and a whole host of health and performance issues. To find out more, invest in a copy of The Oxygen Advantage by Patric McGowen.
‘All these tips are perfectly safe and once you have grasped the fundamentals, nothing else you do will be as effective. I always recommend working with a functional medicine practitioner to ensure time and money isn’t wasted.
Find Tim’s full lecture on the 5 Fundamentals here.
10 Biohacking Tips for Women
While biohacking works for both men and women, there are specific hacks that will benefit women.
1. Ditch the toxic period products
2. Invest in blue light glasses
With most of us spending a lot of time online and on devices, these are a must! (As soon as I started wearing them, my sleep improved immediately, plus I no longer suffer from eye strain. The Sleep Doctor highly recommends them too!)
3. Lift heavy weights regularly
Lifting weights is my favourite exercise, apart from yoga. It helps me feel mentally and physically stronger and I always feel I can achieve anything after a good weightlifting session.
4. Swap toxic skincare to natural organic products
One of the main reasons I started my blog was to raise awareness of non-toxic living. Find my favourite organic skincare here – MV Skincare.
5. Drink natural water.
Both Tim and I are fans of The Berkey Water Filter. The Berkey Water filter is an absolute game changer. The Berkey Water Filter system is so powerful it is classed as a water purification system. Another bonus is, while it removes all the nasties, it leaves in all the goodness eg magnesium in the water. The initial outlay makes it an investment, but Berkey filters only need to be changed every 10 years, so think of the waste you are saving! Read my full review here.
6. Consider switching from artificial to natural birth control
Methods such as The Temperature Method are worth considering. The Pill not only plays havoc with our hormones, but it can also affect our gut health and has been linked to issues such as IBS and Crohn’s Disease.
7. Switch from black coffee to coffee with fat
Adding fat to coffee helps stop the diuretic effects plus it boosts your energy and focus. (I’m not such a fan of bulletproof coffees but I do add coconut oil and CBD to mine.)
8. Ditch negative relationships and cultivate new ones
I talked about this in my last post. If being around someone doesn’t make you feel good, swap them for someone who does! And this doesn’t mean not being there for someone going through a hard time. It just means ditch those negative nellies!
9. Remove amalgam dental fillings
Mercury is known to be extremely toxic. Negative effects from exposure to high levels include autoimmune, kidney and neurological problems. Tim had a toxic metal test before and after he had his mercury fillings removed and the results were incredible. Luckily, I had mine removed about 10 years ago when my yoga teacher told me about the side-effects of mercury fillings and haven’t looked back!
10. Practise Breathing Exercises
The Beginner’s Guide to Biohacking
If you would like to work with Tim, why not enroll in his 10-day course on the fundamentals of health to learn more of his Biohacking tips! ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Biohacking: where to start in your health optimisation journey’.
Tim has also organised an event in London in September: The Health Optimisation Summit with a line-up of internationally renowned guest speakers including:
- Dave Asprey, the father of biohacking
- Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley
- John Grey, author of Men are from Mars
The 2 day event includes 1500 people, with 40 keynote authors/speakers and 100 natural health and wellbeing brands. Buy Your ticket Here.
Follow Tim’s daily health tips on Instagram.
|Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness. If you enjoyed this article be sure to pin or share it!|