10 Tips to Start Your Day

 

Being productive and generally awesome at your job requires a lot of energy and focus. Both of which are very dependent on how much attention you pay to nutrition and how well you know what works for your body.

It’s hard to be stuck at a desk all day, mostly because it’s draining and just plain bad for your health.
 

Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs I think how we manage our body is critical to our energy levels. It just makes sense to start on the foundation. The oldest parts of you from an evolutionary standpoint are parts of your brain and nervous system. Knowing this, a good starting point is looking at what we share with other animals, such as the need for sleep.

 

 

 

1. Sleep

Animals like it. Everybody needs it.

We really need REM cycles, in this state our brain is theorized as compartmentalizing and breaking down experiences, the hard data of your life is being defragged. Cycles typically last for about 90 minutes at a time. Waking up mid REM cycle will leave you feeling groggy. Devices exist that will monitor your brain waves to catalog when and how long you entered these states.

Hopefully you get a few REM cycles within 6-8 hours of deep sleep, you shouldn’t actually need coffee to get through the day, in fact try napping on the weekend instead of having more stimulants, and this will recharge you for the week ahead.  You should only need more sleep if your body is physically repairing and needs to build new tissue.

Circadian-rhythm-bodyTry to stay on the circadian rhythm, this is a system that is built into the very cells that make up your body, it is the “wireless sync” with the sun cycle. It’s the internal clock that tell us to fall asleep when it’s dark, and wakes us up at sunrise.  A typically ideal sleep cycle is 11pm to 7am.

There are all kinds of tips and tricks to falling asleep and having a good night’s rest but I found Onnit product New Mood to be particularly effective.

 

 

 

2. Mineralization

We often hear of a need for vitamins, but minerals are just as important if not more so because they can be harder to come by in our food supply.

The acid/alkaline balance of your body is “buffered” by trace elements, the more acidy foods you consume, the more your body uses up its elements to balance it out.
Your body tries to maintain a blood ph level that is slightly basic (alkaline) of 7.4. To put things in perspective, Tomato juice is about 4, beer is about 5.5, coffee is about 6, the ph scale is logarithmic meaning each number is 10 times more or less strong.
ph-scale

Himalayan or black salts, added to water will help buffer your system with trace minerals (small amounts of different elements ) over time, all you need is a pinch into a glass of water (shouldn’t taste salty).

il_fullxfull.322519814

Himalayan salts can be found locally at the Market on Yates, Lifestyles and tons of other grocery stores, look for the pink crystals. Online it can be found here

 

 

 

3. Hydration and Elimination

We’ve all heard how we should drink eight glasses of water a day.

I would dispute this, if I was to drink 8+ glasses of water after a tea or coffee (diuretics), I’m would start to deplete my minerals and electrolytes and as a consequence probably feel tired later. This could be because without adequate salts, I may lower the blood pressure resulting in feeling weak or light-headed.

water-bottle-glass-by-nkzs

A glass of water with a pinch of Himalayan salt crystals and a squeezed lemon wedge first thing in the morning  can also help kick-start hydration in your body and primes your system for digestion and elimination before having coffee or tea.  Really can’t stress the importance of a proper elimination to really put some spring in your step.

 

 

 

4. Body Mechanics & Mind Connection

“Starting the day with a measure of optimism and a clear intention of what you want to accomplish can give your day a boost.”

Most people feel like their body is extra heavy in the morning, like gravity got a whole lot stronger overnight. If you aren’t a jump out of bed by 5am be at the gym by 5:45am person, doing some breathing and gentle stretching is a great way to start.  I personally like this bio-energetic warm up routine from Elliot Hulse [youtube=http://youtu.be/zD-3j2g9w9U] 

Alex-Grey-Meditation

Doing some deep breathing oxygenates your system and gets blood moving which is good for bringing your brain online. I find it difficult to make it to a gym in the mornings because I’m simply not a morning person, but riding my bike to work in the summer is a great way to get blood moving. If that’s not possible, clearing some space to do some breathing, stretching, yoga or meditating is a great way to start the day.

All you really need is 5-15 minutes to feel a difference and add some clarity to your mornings.

 

 

 

5. Nutrition

Nothing beats local soil, open air, sun grown food. – Carolyn Herriot

(see her awesome ted x talk video here) http://youtu.be/9yFN8V7pWZs

Compost and grow some of your own food, even if all you can do is a parsley plant on a window sill, just do it.

Kratomsupergreen

The benefits of live food, especially brightly colored fruit and vegetables are filled with swimming chlorophyll and phytonutrients that are the essence of life itself. In lieu of eating like that all the time for lack of time. I have decided, after getting frustrated at the litany of vitamins in my cabinet for the following reasons to switch to whole food powdered vitamins (greens style) because;

1)      Whole food vitamins take up less space and are kept refrigerated allowing for probiotics

2)      My body recognizes the vitamins because they are derived from real food not synthetically derived in a lab

3)      Allows me to hydrate while absorbing vitamins

 

http://products.mercola.com/whole-foods-multivitamin/

 
 

 

 

6. To Juice or to Blend

Homemade fresh juice can be great unlike canned or bottled juices which are far too sugary, acidic and pasteurized beyond the body’s ability to recognize nutritional value.

I have a juicer but don’t use it as much as I would like due to the mess it creates, as well as the drawbacks such as lack of fibre in the juice which is a huge benefit of having vegetables. I know I need a good better blender usually a vitamix or blendtec to liquefy the cellulose and get that fibre.

Tom-on-WIB-Set-Promo-Pics-Small-Jun14-12-2

Stay away from most fruits, they spike your blood sugar and lead you to a crash later, dark leafy green veges like kale, parsley and celery will give you an incredible boost and help keep you system in the alkaline for most of the day. You can try adding a small piece of ginger and a slice of pear or apple or beet to make it more palatable.

Figure out what works for you, try different combinations of food, note how you feel, specifically how clear your mind is and how easy it is to focus on your tasks. In my opinion, nothing beats the long lasting energy boost of a homemade green shake.

Smoothies-015edited

Check out Joe Rogan making a huge green shake: http://youtu.be/gmmPSBRu6wg

Get the Blentec Blender here

 

 

 

 

 

7. The First meal of the day

You will still want to eat some solid foods, for a lot of people we skip breakfast or think a muffin and a coffee will get us through the morning, and it usually will but it isn’t preferable.

A better breakfast includes high amount of protein/choline for brain function (eggs , the higher quality the better, yolks should be bright orange), animals fats from local and naturally cured meats like the bacon you can pick up at (cook st ) help digest sugars slower leaving us less likely to crash, even if we go for a cup of coffee with this meal we will probably feel a lot sharper and happier as dopamine is released into the system from a pleasurable meal while the animal fats and salts buffer your body from a spike in blood sugar or caffeine.

Eggs Benedict-3

Have some carbs for energy if you are biking to work in the form of some quinoa with nuts (unroasted raw, unpasteurized if possible). I’m not fully against breads but I have definitely cut back. Squash and even yams have become more prevalent in my diet as I keep shifting further into the spectrum of the Paleo diet.

As far as I know most Fruits aren’t great for you, unless they’re local and in season which has immune system benefits. If you have weight loss goals I hear good things about grapefruits in the morning. Kiwis are great if you want your vitamin c with less acidity and papaya has beneficial enzymes for digestion.

paleo-pyramid

Here’s a video of Robb Wolf, one of the Paleo diets key advocates http://youtu.be/7HkqBxpPBeI

And here’s a food guide for you based on the Paleo Diet: http://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-complete-illustrated-one-page-bulletproof-diet/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Tonics

I usually start my day with a tea, I haven’t kicked the caffeine habit yet but I do take breaks from it from time to time.  I might also want a coffee by mid-day, it’s easier on the body to ramp up caffeine slowly and spread it out over time to avoid a crash, if you eat a meal with protein and animal fats (or coconut oil), and you may also notice a cognitive advantage.

If you need an extra edge to focus and help you feel like your neural system is more jacked in then a character from a William Gibson novel, allow me to introduce you to the world of Nootropics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic

Now I’m not for the stimulant variety, but as with the theme of this article, I’m all about the supplements and making sure your body has what it needs. As it turns out the brains needs are very specific.

neuromancer-poster

Products like Onnit’s ‘Alpha Brain’ are engineered to provide the brain with everything it needs to fire up neurons at full capacity. If you feel like picking and choosing supplements one at time, ginkgo biloba is a great vaso dilator which means it can help increase blood flow to the brain and ginseng is an adaptogen which means it plugs holes in your body’s endocrine and immune system.

To learn more about Onnit products click this link.

 

 

 

9. Avoid too much Caffeine

“Nothing is for free, even the boost you get from coffee”

coffee-art

Unlike vitamins, minerals which generally replenish and allows your system to function at full tilt, stimulants and depressants burn up the body’s vital reserves.

I happen to really like coffee, especially a good locally roasted blend, usually from Café Fantastico, 2% Jazz or Discovery here in Victoria. Coffee that is locally roasted is dated this is good for a number of reasons which I will get into in a follow-up post.

The effect of coffee or caffeine that increase your productive capacity and mental focus come from a complex bio-chemical reaction happening in the body. Notably adrenal glands (endocrine system) ramps up your nervous system which trigger an elevate heart rate and can put you on the edge of fight or flight. On the upper end of the spectrum, usually this is experienced as anxiety and can actually cause productive to decline.

On the opposite spectrum, to reduce anxiety, Tulsi Tea (holy basil) or lemon balm can relax the body and nervous system which is awesome for feeling calm, clear and rested.

 

 

 

10. Keeping it all in Balance

Management of your energy levels is an integral part of self-management. Knowing what works for you can set you up for a more productive day.

Remember all of this is just advice, there is no ONE SIZE fits all approach, find what works for you and do it!

Stay tuned for the midday recharge tips and more about coffee

Oversensed – A Sci-fi short story

Forward

I wrote this for a creative writing class back in 2009. It’s been sitting on my computer and in the back of my mind since then. When I was writing it, the idea of mining asteroids wasn’t yet in the public eye and I don’t believe I had seen Avatar yet despite some of the themes and language now being considered a bit James Cameronish.  I was more inspired by William Gibson’s vision of the world of cyberpunk and combining it with something we use everyday like the internet and evolving it with time into a future that isn’t dystopian or perfect either. We still see a need for money, we still have a societal structure much like ours today, but we have explored our own solar system and we now are harvesting it, creating new jobs and new human problems in the future. Enjoy.

Alexander Kline

Oversensed

The surreal landscape unfolded in front of my eyes like a pop up story book. Mountains erected themselves in a linear, two dimensional manner, before becoming fleshed out in the Z axis. My eyes shifted focus as I began to feel a wave of stimulus overload the nerves in my body as the landscape reeled forward in all directions and filled itself out several more times.

A bright blue sky appeared overhead, clouds randomly popping in and out as the servers loaded and synced. It was always the larger objects, then the smaller more subtle ones. Layers of sight, smell and sounds cascading upon one another. Then their textures.  I can smell the flowers now and the tall grass, I can hear a bubbling brook and birds call.

This was supposed to be an alpine location. We’re going to need snow-capped mountains, I thought. Where is she?

We met on a vintage movie review site and decided to create a virtual world fashioned after the scenery from the Sound Of Music. The internet’s different than it used to be; well the old print and pulp site’s still exist as a foundational layer of contextual searchable information, but now the newer layers actually involves your avatar going to virtual locations on the SenseNet. With your avatar goes your consciousness. Sometimes it feels like doesn’t fully make it back. Like you leave a piece of yourself out there, floating in the qubits.

The ship’s doctor looked at me inquisitively, he reminded me of an owl with those horn rimmed glasses on. Not many people wore glasses since perfect vision was a laser beam away. He must be recording me.

“Go on,” he urged.

I still remember picking up a blade of grass had a sort of an unconnected feeling. Not like the definitive and tactile “snap” of a real blade plucked by one’s own hand. More of a “pop” really, like you just opened a retro glass cola bottle.

“I remember running and jumping through a field of poppies and daffodils,” I said.

“You enjoy this sense of freedom, no?” The therapist asked with a hint of an old world Middle Eastern accent

“Yes I do, very much, running is the most fun, a different sensation than the real thing altogether. “

Very different, our avatars are only a rough estimation of physical ability or dimensions.  Built from scanning our memory, the system builds this approximation from our own glimpses in the mirror.

“They certainly don’t mirror our physical truth always, do they?” The therapist asked with a hint of sarcasm, he crimped the pen tip with his lips awaiting my response. For a second I imagined it exploding black ink all over his mouth.

“No they don’t, clearly they don’t”

“So tell me Derrick, how does your avatar look, compared to your self-identity”

“I’ve changed my appearance because in real life I’m a little overweight”

“Yes Derrick, and this morphism is a result of your online courtship with, let’s see, ahh yes Jenxzgirl32?”

“Just Jen now, but yes….. of course it is”

And if she did not look like her avatar, how would that make you feel Derrick?”

It wasn’t like I hadn’t thought of this before, but she had sent me holo-pictures… Perhaps only clear from the chest up, shit, I don’t’ want to think about this, we get along great and I’ll see her when I get back to Earth.

“I think we’re done for the day, Doc”

“We’ve actually got 15 minutes left in our session”

“No I think that’s enough time for today, just really tired”

“Before you go, I’d like you to take a diary of your day to day events, summarize them, including any Sense Over’s you have”

He handed me a flat black leather bound booklet. It had a small electric pen sheathed underneath its faux coils. Piezoelectric notepads haven’t changed much since I was in school.

“Yea Doc, sure thing, but I’m calling it a journal, diaries are for ladies”

With that I turned and left his metallic oak patterned office. I didn’t mind the Doc but if I could choose between SenseNet and seeing him, SenseNet would always win.

I needed an outlet from being bored half to death on this asteroid mining rig in the middle of our solar system. It would be another two years before this contract would be over and I would return to earth.

The doc asked me to create a journal of events after I enter into SenseNet to log my time and experiences. He says I’m developing a serious need for it and that it could become an addiction.  I know he’s right, eventually streams will cross in my brain at the wrong time like while I’m working.

Sense Overs are dangerous but only a small portion of the population is susceptible to them he tells me.  Can’t have a SenseNet flashback flooding into me while I’m operating these xenon carbide laser drills or I’ll be stuck here another ten years paying for damages.

Xterra 361 is a mining station in orbit just between the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter, specifically, we orbit a partially habitable moon named Europa where we can draw upon is hydrogen supply to make water. We take smaller ships on tethers called Badgers closer to the asteroid belts and rings and scoop up the material necessary for harvesting. I’m an operator for one of the Badgers main laser drills.

My living quarters are a lot smaller than what classic flat shows like Star Trek had envisioned for the future, a lot grimier too, but hey its home and I can relax here.  Time to hit the SenseNet.

Next time, before I login I’ve got to get that poppy density up; Jen was mentioning how much she liked them.

The trodes of the neural visor massage their way onto my temples as I log in. I close my eyes and the familiar rush begins, as my mind is plucked out of my body and flown into an empty grid that expands infinitely in all directions. I focus my attention on the address of our favourite personal server, orbiting Mars. It’s a fairly neutral location for us so the lag is minimal on both ends. The mountains springboard out of the ether below, as pastel colours merge and become more intense. The familiar cool breeze begins, loaded out of sequence so that I feel it before I hear it. It’s a strange thing to experience senses out of order. The tall grass almost sprouts then multiplies without taking into account the wind until each blade is loaded. I look to my left, where are those flowers?  They begin to emerge in radiant red, almost overpowering the grass until opacity and shading are sorted out by the quantum processor my conduit.

No sign of Jen, I guess I’ll walk around and explore this modded out environment. Some of the mountains looked smudged with a god sized finger-tip. She must have been tweaking things.

SenseNet allow me to visit places back on earth and imagined, virtually lag free through solar internet. High frequencies of the sun proved to be the perfect carrier of huge amounts of information, in conjunction with multiple relay satellites spread throughout the solar system, the SenseNet layer of the internet was now virtually lag free.

My interface visor taps into my central nervous system and parts of my brain, including vision, sight, smell and touch. This technology is still relatively new but the boffins back at home have been playing with these for years without many problems; of course, they have a lot more contact with society then I do out here.  Billions of users from all over our colonies can meet and interact, including home, Earth.

I wait and wait, two hours have gone by, no sign of her, got tired of wondering around the Alps alone, logging off…

June 16th, 2216

I want so badly to have the warmth of a companion with me here. While I can’t, I focus on earning my credit bills, the monetary struggle continues. Our history books say this almost came to an end over a dozen times on earth in the past two centuries, ever since the Federal Reserve first tanked in the early two thousands.

June 17, 2216

I don’t want to have to care about credits, most people back on earth live well because of what we do out here. Pollution has been almost eliminated, but we still require resources. Mining and other polluting practices have been banned on earth since 2101. We finally realized we needed to preserve the few natural species left, or the ecosystems that sustained us would collapse entirely. When I get back to earth, I’m going to take Jen for an underwater cruise on one of those giant new luxury submarines. They say its nonstop entertainment and all the food you could want. Not to mention a great way to appreciate the ocean giants.

June 18, 2216

Another day another dollar, I didn’t have time to login to SN last night, but I craved it all day at work, the Badger hit a deep deposit of plutonium which could have had dire consequences if my co-operator didn’t snap me out of my SenseNet day dream… maybe Sense Overs could happen to me…

June19, 2216

Got my room setup for relaxation, most knowledge is available now and easily uploaded into our brain via the SN technology. I’ve been practicing my Shakespeare, I have at least 90% of the quatrains from Romeo and Juliet uploaded without much of a hitch…

June 20, 2216

Takes courage to be out here, far away from home, it’s what separates the men from the boys. My back hurts, time to get into the rejuvenation chamber. See ya tomorrow, journal.

Woke up in the middle of the night, terrible dream, was in the Alps scenario when I saw a girl in the distance, I kept running towards her but got no closer, I ran until my feet were bloody stumps and the grass turned crimson red.

June 21, 2216

I feel good physically. I stopped using gyms about the time I decided I could come out here. Instead of torturing yourself for hours while listening to up-tempo music and tearing muscle tissue, we can now bathe in an electrified gel, much like our mothers amniotic fluid I’m told, which completely rejuvenates skin, nerve and muscle tissue, it helps the body to feel healthy again and don’t need to sweat my balls off, so of course I friggen love it. We still got machines to build mass and slim ya down, but what’s the point when you don’t gotta see anyone you’re attracted to in RL.

*Logged onto SN again, no Jen, starting to get worried so I sent her an old fashioned message.

June 22, 2216

Hernandez from g-sector engineering says I spend too much time on SN.  Says the drill bit on the Badger showed signs of stress fracturing. Looks like SN daydreams are affecting my work, negligence induced broken drill bit equals partial lifetimes of being out here to repay it. Mental note, stay the fuck awake.

June 23, 2216

Got a reply back tonight, says she needs to see me tomorrow at the Alps on our favourite Mars server.

I need a real beer; this sythenol garbage tastes like club soda. My day dreams are getting clearer every day, experiencing withdrawal from SN, big-time.

June 24th, 2216

Powering on neural implants in a moment, the solar strength is high. This is it, like a junkie my body is screaming in anticipation for its next hit of SenseNet. No sign of Jen.

June 25th, 2216

She came to me in drab clothes, said she wasn’t going to be able to meet me here anymore, and says she found someone else, back on Earth, a flesh date. I shouldn’t be sad or angry, but I’m crushed. Is this a bad dream?

Woke up to the alpines being swallowed by fire, felt the world caving in on me. Time to see the Doc.

“Hey Doc. “I entered the familiar office; the metallic overtones of the room accentuated the dark wood of the Doc’s horn rimmed bio metric glasses. No doubt reading and recording my stress levels for later analysis. Any erratic readings and he would hit a button that would signal security forces to bum rush me and be grappled to the ground within ten seconds or less. But I was more deflated then violent.

“Hi Derrick, It’s good to see you. I’ve been reviewing the journal notes and I’ve been rather concerned by these day dreams you seem to be having.

“Yes Doc, I can’t be out here paying for equipment”

“Derrick, your notes leave me with two options, either place you on temporary suspension or begin a new and experimental treatment I have devised. “ He looked like a man about to eat a steak.

My heart sunk, then began to beat fast, I sure as hell can’t afford to lose any time on the drills.

“I’ll take option two, what have you got for me Doc?”

He bent forward with his eyebrows furled and his eyes focused measurably.
“We need to purge your Sense Overs by cleaning your mind of the association of the Alps scenario being a healthy escape for it. Let’s try reprogramming the world of the Alps, which symbolizes your old relationship, and to purging the land with fire. Your dream was a representation of this, but now I would like to program the computer to cleanse the Alps via your SenseNet neural trodes.”

A part of me felt sad, ruining something which Jen and I had put so much time into perfecting. My vision felt blurry, I hadn’t slept properly for days. Maybe I would slip up at work in a matter of days, maybe it was only a few minutes away from happening. Then I would be stuck here for years or out of a job and living like a subhuman back on earth, I wouldn’t have the money to pay for my implants and upgrades that kept my place in society. Then I couldn’t think of a reason why I should preserve the Alps. Fuck the Alps.

“Let’s do it Doc”

Once it began, I wasn’t the least bit nervous about watching this world burn in SenseNet, maybe it would stop actually the Sense Overs I was having. Maybe I would sleep well again.  I watched from above as the mountains split and the grass became torched and spread up the mountainside, somehow not as scary as the dream, but decidedly therapeutic in many ways.

June 26th, 2216

Not touching SN for a while, I’ll stick to the standard Hollywood holographic films, maybe even some 2d vintage ones, can’t get my heart hurt and my head stuck that way again. Maybe I’ll workout using the mass builder/leaner. Two more years on this floating rig, I wonder what Jen actually looks like?