Tag Archives: Biohacking

Toxin Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT)

TILT3

I first learned about Toxin Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) from Dr John Cline, Matthew’s Functional Medicine Doctor.

TILT made sense because it describes a tipping point: how toxins accumulate in our bodies until our tolerance is compromised and we tip from an equilibrium of health into an equilibrium of illness.

As Dr Cline explains, “when our bodies accumulate enough toxins, often in combination with stressful life events, a tilt occurs, and our health then deteriorates rapidly in many ways”.

The idea behind TILT is that many chronic illnesses, as well as environmental sensitivities, originate in an accumulation of toxins in our bodies over time. At some point in this accumulation, susceptible individuals tip over into poor health. Continue reading

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Biohacking Update: 28 months on the AIP

28 months on the Autoimune ProtocolMatthew returned to work this week.

When he took disability leave at the end of 2013 we thought he’d never work again.

At that time, he was taking 6-8 hydromorphone painkillers a day, as well as a high dose of Methotrexate by injection weekly.

He had developed severe and disabling nausea that no one could diagnose.

Now, the pain and nausea are manageable and he is medication-free, except for a few Tylenol Arthritis a week.

That sounds dramatic, and it is, but there were many times during the past 28 months when his health didn’t seem to be improving at all. And times when it was definitely getting worse rather than better.

But all of his autoimmune symptoms have gradually improved, and he is now in better health than he has been in eight years.

Back to Work

We honestly weren’t sure how the back-to-work experiment would go.

When he initiated it, he was partially bluffing. Continue reading

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Why Measure your Recovery?

Why MeasureMatthew and I started measuring because we didn’t know what else to do.

We didn’t know we were measuring his recovery, because his health hadn’t started to improve yet.

Research and evaluation are part of my trade, and Matthew has a background in Continuous Quality Improvement, so when we’re in doubt: we measure!

And we were in a lot of doubt.

Why Measure Health?

Measurement can seem superfluous when you are really close to your experience.

Especially if the numbers don’t change from day to day.

Or if they swing around wildly for no obvious reason.

But if you stick with it, measurement can be incredibly useful as a way to discern trends and track progress over time. In fact, measurement can be a way to begin the process of recovery. Continue reading

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Risk Management for Health

Risk Management 2Risk is part of life.

And we manage it all the time.

Consciously or unconsciously.

Systematically or erratically.

When you take responsibility for your health, you start making your own risk management decisions. Whether you are aware of it or not.

If you let a doctor take the lead on your health decisions, they assess risk for you.

Doctors are always weighing the potential benefits of a particular treatment against the potential risks. That is part of what we ask them to do, as medical experts.

You don’t need to be a medical expert to know how to manage risks relating to the interventions you undertake to improve your health.

You just need to be systematic. I’ll tell you how!

Risk Management for Health

When we take responsibility for our health by engaging in nutritional and lifestyle interventions, we can manage risk for the actions we decide to take. And the actions we decide not to take.

Because there can be risk in inaction, too.

We can also consider risk when deciding whether to include (or exclude) pharmaceutical or other therapies as part of our health management strategy.

Start with Questions

Start the process by asking the following questions: Continue reading

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Coming Soon: A New Platform!

Home Page

There’s nothing like a serious chronic illness to help re-set priorities. And we’re clear: our priorities lie with supporting others in their efforts to heal.

Matthew and I are developing a new platform that will offer individualized support for people who are taking personal responsibility for their health.

We’ve been working on this platform since the summer and we’ll be launching it soon.

The new site will be based on the idea that when it comes to health and healing, we are all unique. It’s the variations in our health status, goals, environment and genetic expression that determine the individualized pattern of living that will best support our well-being.

Eventually, once all the phases are rolled out, the new site will support the process of figuring all that out.

Continue reading

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Biohacking Update: 3 months on a yeast & biofilm busting protocol (& 25 months on the AIP)

BiohackingIn August, Matthew started a three-month protocol designed to tackle biofilm-protected yeast colonies his gut.

Five months later we are feeling optimistic.

The Back Story

The symptom: debilitating nausea with no apparent cause.

The nausea first occurred in October 2013 after an autumn feast of chanterelle mushrooms I had picked.

It happened again when we ate chanterelles a second time that month.

And then just kept recurring. And getting worse. Until it gradually became Matthew’s most problematic symptom.

In fact, it was the severe nausea that finally prompted Matthew to take the leap and commit to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

The AIP

After a few test runs, we both committed to the AIP long-term in December of 2013. Almost immediately, Matthew moved to an even more restrictive low-FODMAP version of the protocol to reduce his nausea.

The AIP:

Before & After

Before & After

  • Improved all of Matthew’s other symptoms, including arthritis pain, psoriasis and severe brain fog;
  • Enabled him to get off Methotrexate, a toxic medication that he had been taking for 10 years that caused its own host of nasty side effects;
  • Helped him significantly reduce prescription and non-prescription pain medication; and
  • Caused me to feel younger and more vital than I had in my adult life.

But Matthew’s nausea kept getting worse. Continue reading

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Biohacking Tip #7: Choosing Your Own Indicators of Well-Being

Your Own Indicators of Well-BeingIndicators are friendly signals.

That tell you if you’re on track.

Or if you might want to adjust course.

They communicate about the status of something you care about.

Like your health.

  • An outcome is a result.
  • An indicator gives you information about where you are in relation to achieving that result.

Choosing Your Own Indicators

Continue reading

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Your Zone of Proximal Development

Zone of Proximal DevelopmentYour edge.

The place you can step into.

Grow into.

Your zone of possibility.

Your zone of proximal development is the space just outside your current capacity that you can reach if you have the right support.

Last year I suggested that biohacking is the ultimate new years resolution.

Because as long as you stick to biohacking principles, you can’t fail. If you fall off your program, you can turn your attention to that and start hacking your will-power, or adjusting your goals, or fine-tuning the strategies you are using to achieve them.

But why do we fail when we set self-improvement goals?

Zone of Proximal Development 5The Zone of Proximal Development

Zone of proximal development theory suggests there are 2 reasons:

  1. The goal is outside the zone of possibility; or
  2. The goal is inside the zone, but the strategy didn’t include the necessary scaffolding to achieve it.

To find your goal-achievement sweet spot you need to:

  1. Determine the boundaries of your zone of proximal development;
  2. Set a goal that’s inside your zone; and
  3. Determine what supports you need to achieve that goal.

If your supports are adequate, you should be good to go!

By moving into your zone, chances are you’re expanding it, thereby increasing the likelihood that more ambitious goals will eventually end up inside your zone, too.

Let’s geek out ZPD theory a little more

The zone of proximal development, or ZPD, is my #2 parenting strategy of all time.

I’ve been a parent for 60% of my life and in that time I’ve tried a lot of things. Consistently, ZPD enables me to do my best work as a parent.

My top parenting strategies 4ZPD is also my #2 life strategy.

Developed by Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky in the 1920s & 30s, ZPD was lost for decades before it resurfaced near the end of the 20th century.

Vygotsky hypothesized that humans are hard-wired to learn certain things.

Like language.

Put any child in a environment full of speech and affection, and barring a significant cognitive disability, they will learn to speak fluently.

Nobody has to create a structure for that to occur.

But if we want to learn things that we aren’t necessarily hard-wired for, we need appropriate supports.

Vygotsky suggested that to help develop certain skills and capacities, we need to first determine the scope of an individual’s zone of proximal development and then create customized supports to help them to grow into that potential.

Later theorists referred to these supports as scaffolding.

Both the ZPD and the required scaffolding are unique to each of us.

So, in the biohacking context, not only are we taking bioindividuality into consideration, which includes our particular health status and our environment, but also our ZPD and the supports that are effective for each of us as individuals. Those are the dimensions of n=1 experimentation.

Lev Vygotsky. Image from http://isdgo.com/portfolio/vygotsky

Lev Vygotsky. Image from http://isdgo.com/portfolio/vygotsky

Sound like a lot to sort out?

It is, but each of these elements can be simplified considerably by approaching the n=1 project in a systematic way. And if you put your energy into discerning what these dimensions are for you, rather than copying what someone else is doing or pursuing goals in a haphazard way, you’ll find yourself way ahead.

In fact, taking time to plan using ZPD is an excellent way to successfully move through the contemplative stage of change.

According to ZPD theory, part of designing the appropriate scaffolding to support the development of an individual involves:

  • their receptivity to particular types of support;
  • the sequence that the supports are offered in; and
  • how willing and adaptive a person is.

These factors not only effect the design of effective scaffolding to support change, but also effect the size of the ZPD.

Zone of Proximal Development biggerYou can make your zone bigger.

Vygotsky also believed that the ZPD of many people was larger when they were in a supportive social context than when they were alone, and that social networks can act as scaffolding for growth.

SAD to AIP in 6

All of this is one reason why I endorse Angie Alt’s SAD to AIP in 6 every time she offers it.

SAD to AIP in 6 provides appropriate scaffolding in a supported and social context to make the transition to the AIP possible.

Learn more about the SAD to AIP in 6 program here.

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N=1 Nation

n=1Okay, this is an anthem.

Seriously.

It’s not a song. It’s just full of the same zeal that some people feel for their country. Or for hockey.

I get it from a sense of kinship & unity with all the people who are expanding our collective conception of health and well-being through personal inquiry.

Biohackers~.

My tribe.

Here’s my anthem:

N=1 Nation

We are n=1 nation.

We know that bioindividuality is the frontier of health and well-being.

And that the outer reaches of human capacity have barely been explored~.

We are aware that each of us has to fine-tune our own pattern of living through individualized experimentation.

And that by doing so we can influence how our genes are expressed.

We are n=1 nation.

We revere the teachings of the ancients. And the patterns of living codified over millennia by our ancestors.

Two of my favourite biohackers: Joanna Frankham & Rory Linehan

Two of my favourite members of n=1 Nation: Joanna Frankham & Rory Linehan

And we respect the quantum.

We believe in using the latest technology to measure results. And in using that information to inform personalized adaptation.

We accept that mainstream medicine is based on dated science and 20th century strategies.

But we don’t assume that one path is right for everyone.

Instead, we believe in gathering data. And sharing what we find with each other.

We assume that everyone can improve the quality of their life through using evidence from their own n=1 experiments.

My favorite Healers & Optimizers, from the top, left to right: Angie, Alt, Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne, my husband Matthew~, Eileen Laird, Terry Wahls, Dave Asprey, Mickey Trescott, Mark Sisson

More members of n=1 Nation~ (from the top, left to right: Angie, Alt, Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne, Matthew Chambers-Sinclair, Eileen Laird, Terry Wahls, Dave Asprey, Mickey Trescott & Mark Sisson)

We are biohackers~.

We are exploring new ways to reverse ‘uncurable’ illnesses. To reach states of peak experience and peak performance that in previous generations were only available to the elite.

We are ordinary people. Doing extraordinary things.

That humans were designed to do~.

We are n=1 nation.

We are reprogramming our brains. To reduce the limitations of trauma. And mitigate (and even invert) the effects of aging.

We are spreading the healing (because healing spreads) from each of us to others. From us to the planet. Because we are all connected.

As people have done since the beginning of time, we are finding out what it really means to be human. Accelerated~.

To meet the challenges that lie ahead.

To express our genetic destiny.

To evolve ~fully~ as a species.

We are n=1 nation.

And you are welcome here~

Everyone is welcome here.

Image converted using ifftoany

 

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Biohacking 101: Clean your Laboratory

Carafe of clean and dirty water

You are the laboratory~

You are the laboratory~.

To generate useful data to improve your health and well-being, you first need to get your laboratory cleaned up!

Once you do, you’ll be able to develop your own protocol. You’ll know what foods are best for you, what forms exercise (& in what dosage) you need, and what other lifestyle factors support your health.

How you approach your laboratory clean-up project is entirely up to you. As long as it’s through an elimination diet.

An Elimination Diet

If you see a naturopath, you are (inevitably) going to be told to remove the basic inflammatory foods for 30 days & then reintroduce those foods, to see how they affect you.

A more extensive elimination diet is recommended by all my favourite healers & optimizers, including Chris Kresser in Your Personal Paleo Code, Sarah Ballantyne in The Paleo Approach, Terry Wahls in The Wahls Protocol, and Dave Asprey in The Bulletproof Diet.

Though these protocols vary slightly, they are based on the same science and are extremely compatible (if not largely identical).

They are all Paleo protocols.

But the timeframe for the recommended elimination phase varies.

The Bulletproof Diet

Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet focuses on optimization; helping people without complex health issues to significantly upgrade their lives.

His recommended elimination phase is brief: 2 weeks. But he suggests that once people experience the benefits, they might decide to stay on the Bulletproof Diet for life.

The Autoimmune Protocol

Sarah Ballantyne focuses on reversing autoimmune conditions.

For people with autoimmune disease, she notes that improvement in symptoms will depend on:

  • the degree of inflammation and intestinal permeability;
  • what type of antibodies are being mobilized;
  • which cells those antibodies are attacking;
  • how long the body has been in autoimmune response;
  • how gene expression responds to improved conditions; and
  • how strictly the protocol is implemented.

She suggests that most people should have experienced improvements within 2-4 months on the Autoimmune Protocol, but that significant healing often takes years.

Clean Your Laboratory (thoroughly~)

Matthew and I first learned about Paleo healing protocols from Diane Sanfilippo’s 2012 book Practical Paleo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt that time, Matthew was extremely disabled by several autoimmune conditions & I had been Paleo for a year.

Matthew had tried being Paleo for awhile, but found that a regular Paleo diet exacerbated his symptoms.

We decided to try the 30-day autoimmune elimination diet from Diane’s book & expected nothing less than miraculous results by month-end. So when Matthew experienced no improvement, he became tremendously discouraged and reverted back to eating all his SAD-old comfort foods.

It wasn’t until months later that we noticed that his psoriasis symptoms were better than they had been in years.

On reflection, we realized that the trend had started with the elimination diet. Which was enough to convince Matthew to (unenthusiastically) try it again. This time with the help of Eileen Laird & Sarah Ballantyne‘s blogs.

Festina Lente

~Make Haste Slowly

~Make Haste Slowly

‘Festina Lente’ is Latin & means ‘Make haste slowly’.

It’s an ancient concept, but one that isn’t often championed in our culture.

Festina Lente could be the maxim for cleaning your internal laboratory. It could also be the adage for healing through nutritional and lifestyle protocols.

The fantastic news is that by ‘making haste slowly’ with an elimination diet, you are not only cleaning your laboratory, which will enable you to know yourself better and gather data to improve your n=1 experiments, but you are also initiating the healing process.

Make Haste Slowly

To truly clean up your laboratory, 30 days is probably not enough. But it’s a beautiful beginning~.

You run the experiment, you get the data & you decide.

You are the laboratory.

 

 

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