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5 Powerful Mind and Body Hacks for a Limitless Brain

5 Powerful Mind and Body Hacks for a Limitless Brain

Elite men and women perform at a high level.  Similar to a highly skilled computer expert, mind and body hackers are looking for programs to accelerate their life. They seek out ways to hack their brain and further separate themselves from everyone else.

In 3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, the human race develops a brain enhancement device called the BrainCap.  This cap is similar to the NZT pill in the hit movie Limitless, based on Alan Glynn’s best-selling novel The Dark Fields.  Although these are fictional brain augmentations, I have no doubt they will one day become reality allowing us the ability to maximize the use of our brain.

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With that said, we do have enhancements available similar to NZT.  We have a superpower available through an internal spark in our brain, one that will literally increase our brain cells. This awesome superpower is neurogenesis. You can achieve a higher level of mind and body superiority, one that is similar to some of our greatest fictional novels. You can learn to become a brain engineer and hack your mind and body by using these five powerful hacks.

1. Use Nootropics to Hack Your Neurotransmitters

Cells that fire together, wire together. Simply put, our brain learns when new information connects to something it already knows. So the more you know, the more you are actually capable of knowing. Our brain cell includes a neuron (cell body), axon (transmits impulse), dendrites (carries impulse), and synapse (communication between neurons). Chemical substances known as neurotransmitters (voltage) are released and transported when neurons fire. Nootropics (smart drugs) are cognitive enhancing supplements that improve memory, motivation, creativity, and performance. Originally designed to treat disorders such as ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease – these potent drugs have demonstrated the capability to hack our mind and body. Use the following with caution.

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  • Dopamine: Increases motivation, concentration, and produces intense focus. Adrafinil is highly recommended.  Adderall and Modafinil are effective for those with a diagnosis of ADHD or narcolepsy. Adderall should only be taken by those with ADHD and will greatly improve attention, focus, learning capacity, and motivation.
  • Acetylcholine: Low levels have been linked to brain fog, difficulty in learning, and low memory retention. You can improve your memory by increasing acetylcholine levels in the body. I recommend Alpha-GPC and Huperzine for this.
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): Linked to anxiety, sleep, and other relaxation functions in the body. It is important to improve levels of GABA in treatment for people suffering from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and OCD. Aniracetam is recommended as it will enhance the growth of neurons and synapses, improve memory, increase attention and focus, and improve learning capacity.

2. Hack Neurogenesis and Grow Your Brain Cells

There is one magical substance involved in mind and body hacking. This substance is a nerve growth factor that impacts the development, function, and growth of brain cells. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses through axon and dendrite sprouting.  BDNF is the most powerful and active substance stimulating neurogenesis.  Dr. John Ratey proclaimed in his best-selling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain that BDNF is “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

Use the following neurogenesis hacks.

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  • Exercise: Aerobic exercise is the optimal vehicle for the production of BDNF. Our brain produces BDNF during exercise, which leads to stimulation of new brain cells.
  • Audiobooks: Since running increases BDNF production, which increases neuron growth, you must then use your brain in order to keep your wiring strong. Audiobooks are similar to plugging yourself into a computer and directly downloading information. I read over 100 books per year and listen to audiobooks while running.

3. Hack Learning and Become a Super Learner

I mentioned reading in the previous hack, however, I wanted to dive deeper into this one. I attribute exercise and reading to my success in life. Most people stop actively learning when they exit a formal education curriculum. Reading is the optimal approach to improving overall learning capacity. I recommend the following.

  • Become a Ferocious Reader: The absolute best way to improve our intelligence is to read.
  • YouTube: This is the future of learning, and for the most part is free. There are some great online lectures on YouTube and you can listen while exercising, while driving (just don’t try to watch the video!), and just about anywhere. I recommend ‘Khan Academy’ if you are interested in improving your math skills.
  • Time Hacking.  Roger Hamilton highlights the importance of time in his thought-provoking book Wink and Grow Rich.  He remarked, “Show me how a man spends and invests his time, and I will show you his future.” There is nothing more important than managing your time wisely. As discussed by Hamilton, if we do not use our time wisely – once spent, that time is gone forever and will never come back.

4. Hack Your Senses and Become a Synesthete

I promise I am not on LSD and I highly recommend you stay clear of it (although it has been proven to increase neurogenesis). Definitely a crazy concept, but you can hack your senses in order to hear, taste, feel, and see colors.  Synesthesia is a union of our senses to do just that. Synesthetes are people who use this ability to improve memory and cognition. This could be extremely beneficial when attempting to pick out a few numbers from a large set, as each number is associated with a specific color in your mind. Use the following hack.

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  • Ideasthesia: This is an experience where senses are brought about by perception, where colors can be malleably connected to words, letters, or numbers. The key here is to determine if any number or letter has a direct association with a color in your mind. If you can associate each letter and number to a color, then you might just be able to hack synesthesia. Use this hack every time you read and see if the association works.

5. Hack Your Memory

Think back to your days in school. What types of techniques did you use to remember lists of important historical figures or geographic areas? Just as in math, where we were forced to memorize the entire multiplication table, we tried to force everything into our brain by the insane approach of repetition. Do you remember anything you shoved into your brain using that technique? Building a memory palace is a far superior technique utilized by all memory champions. It is a mnemonic device used to remember words, cards, faces, numbers, and more. Use these three steps as a quick guide in constructing your palace.

  • Determine your memory palace. Use a familiar setting (such as your childhood home).
  • Determine your route in your palace and assign landmarks (an old furnace in a basement you may have feared as a child).
  • Assign symbols and be creative. Use things you would never reveal to your mother (this will help it stick). Use people you despise, people you love, humiliating memories, and even nudity.  One memory champion used an image of a nude model swimming in cottage cheese at a landmark in his childhood home.

More by this author

Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills for a Sharper Mind 10 Brain Training Hacks to Increase Your IQ, Focus and Creativity How to Be a Maverick and Develop a Maverick Mindset Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

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8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

Vegetarianism has been around for a long time, finding favor with many people, including Pythagoras clear back around 580 B.C. It’s been presented as one of the most healthy diets around, including being touted by the Egyptians to the point of abstaining from meat and animal clothing due to karmic beliefs. The vegetarian society (vegsoc.org) defines vegetarianism as:

“Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

While it’s pretty obvious that there are multiple benefits to following a vegetarian diet, it’s always good to be informed about the cons of this dietary choice as well.

Outlined below are several things you might want to be aware of before you say good-bye to meat forever. Whether you are a current vegetarian, or contemplating making a shift, keep in mind these 8 things to keep yourself healthy.

1. You could suffer from B12 vitamin deficiency

The B vitamins are especially important for stress management, adrenal health, and brain function. Vegetarians in particularly are at risk for B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is attached to the protein in animal products and without enough B12 you can suffer from depression, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.

Due to its attachment to animal proteins, B12 is the hardest for vegetarians to obtain when they don’t eat dairy or eggs in their diet. This essential little vitamin can be found in some algae and has been added to some yeast, but research doesn’t currently provide enough information to say whether or not these forms of B12 are of good quality and can provide adequate supplementation.

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The body is unable to make this vitamin, meaning it has to be taken in through food or supplementation. Essential for making red blood cells, DNA, nerves and various other function in the body, a Harvard Health Medical report in January of 2013 found symptoms of a B12 deficiency can present in sneaky ways including depression, paranoia, delusion, and loss of taste and smell.

2.  You could suffer from higher states of anxiety/depression, lower sense of well-being

According to a CBS Atlanta report, vegetarians suffered from a higher rate of anxiety and depression than their counterparts. Read the full report here. Depression and/or anxiety can be a result of many possible deficiencies including essential vitamins and amino acids you can find only in meat products, including Omega-3s from wild caught salmon.

Without the correct supplementation and proper understanding of diet, including the importance of micro and macro nutrients, depression and anxiety can become a serious problem, bringing down the overall health and well-being of vegetarians.

Even though reports on health and lifestyle show vegetarians have a lower BMI and lower consumption of alcohol and drugs, it also shows they suffer from more chronic illnesses and more visits to the doctor than their meat eating counterparts.

3. You could suffer from excess weight

When you go vegetarian it opens up a lot of food, but just because there isn’t any meat in front of you, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary healthy. Though pizza and beer technically fall under the vegetarian diet, it’s not a healthy choice for your waist line.

Just because being a vegetarian is associated with a healthier lifestyle in many cases, doesn’t mean it’s always true. Making bread and pasta your staples and not understanding where your protein sources should be coming from, can pack on body fat, which increases your chances of health issues such as diabetes and chronic inflammation.

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If the choice to go vegetarian happens on a whim without the proper understanding of food control, portion, and nutritionally dense alternatives you can find yourself reaching for vegetarian foods, which could cause serious problems down the road. Nuts are a good example, but just because something is touted as healthy, it doesn’t mean, your should eat it in excess.

Eating too many calories in fat will still cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in carbs will cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in protein will cause you to gain weight. See a pattern here? Not to mention you’ll miss out on important nutrients the body needs by over-eating in one area and under-eating in another. Re-read number 2.

4. You could have a higher risk of heart disease

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should be a goal we all strive for, but when you cut out meat, you also cut out what is known as complete protein, which you find in animal by-products. Complete means more than just the essential amino acids, it means those amino acids contain dietary sulfur. Without enough dietary sulfur, which is found almost exclusively in fish and pasture feed grass beef, the body will struggle with the biological activities of both protein and enzymes.

The effects cascade downward, effecting bones, joints, tissues, and even metabolic issues. In short, a low intake of sulfur associated with a vegetarian diet can result in high blood levels of homocysteine, which may lead to blood clots in your arteries, blood clots raise your risk of stroke and heart attack. To read the full report click here.

5. You could suffer from low cholesterol

I know, at first you’re thinking, wait, low cholesterol is a good thing. Yes, it is, when it’s LDL cholesterol, which you get from eating an unhealthy diet, but low HDL (good cholesterol) can cause serious health issues. HDL, according to the mayo clinic, is in every cell in our body and can help fend off heart disease, not enough of it though, and too much LDL can go the other way, will be building up plaque in the arteries and leading to heart disease.

Cholesterol, the good kind, is actually vitally important to the making of every steroid hormone in the body! There are six, and without cholesterol the body is unable to convert hormones, and it can cause damage in the endocrine system.

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A vegetarian without a balanced diet, meaning enough protein, enough veggies, and enough good fats, could disrupt his or her adrenals, which are directly connected to the endocrine system and the body’s ability to make and synthesize the hormones your body needs. The six major hormones in the body help do everything from metabolizing carbohydrates, to the electrolyte balance, to making sure if you’re a woman you can carry a healthy baby through pregnancy.

6. You could suffer from lower bone density and osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, the disease where the bones get thinner, weaker, and fractures become a high risk with day to day movements. It’s often associated with the older generation, but your risk for osteoporosis increases with a lower bone density. Bone density can be directly related to diet and lifestyle, along with many other factors.

When it comes to eating a vegetarian diet it’s possible to miss getting enough of the right nutrients, causing the bones to begin to break down. If your vegetarian diet isn’t balanced and providing you with the correct nutrients and the means to absorb the correct nutrients, your body could begin to break down.

Recently, Professor Tuan Nguyen of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research led a review of both Australian and Vietnamese research around the bone density of vegetarian versus their meat eating counterparts. Helping Professor Nguyen was Dr. Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from Pham Ngoc Thac University of Medicine in Vietnam. The review was designed to sort though years of research surrounded by discrepancies and inadequate clinical data.

At the end of the review, with vegetarianism rising to around 5% of the populace in the western continents, and with wide spread osteoporosis reports – 2 million in Australia and closer to 54 million in America – the decrease in bone density of vegetarians is a serious issue which needs to be addressed, if you’ve cut meat and animal by-products out of your life.

7. You could be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer

Cancer seems to be running rampant through America, and it’s within everyone’s best interest to do all they can to keep their body healthy and happy to prevent cancer from finding a place to grow. In most studies it’s been found vegetarians are at lower risk for cancer, but a European Oxford study with over 63 thousand men and women in the United Kingdom found the risk for colorectal cancer higher in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

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Extra care needs to be taken when establishing a diet to ensure the body is receiving and able to up take all the important nutritional benefits and requirements from food.

8. You could end up eating more processed food

Depending on how deep you choose to go as a vegetarian, it could create the need to substitute a lot of food and recipe ingredients in your diet, but what happens when you cut out meat, eggs, and dairy and your recipe calls for meat, eggs, and/or dairy? You have to end up using a “healthy” vegetarian alternative which include stabilizers, thickeners, and various other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Lauren from Empowered Substance puts it into a great perspective with her comparison of Earth Balance, a vegetarian approved butter replacement compared to butter. She points out the ingredients in Earth Balance consist of: Palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flax oil, olive oil, salt, natural flavor, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, annatto color. Meanwhile, the ingredient list in butter, is much shorter. It’s butter.

That’s only one example. To appeal to the vegetarian lifestyle food manufacturers have found alternatives which fall under vegetarian, but aren’t necessarily healthy for you. Consider baked goods, which though vegetarian can be filled with more sugars and binders than regular baked goods with diary products. It’s the same with vegetarian items like mac and cheese, without using real cheese you may just be getting oil and thickeners, without even the smallest amount of nutritional value.

The reality is, most vegetarian substitutes contain the same junky alternatives which even meat eaters should be avoiding to remain happy and healthy.

On one final note, whichever lifestyle you choose to work with, remember anything in excess – including protein and animal by products – isn’t healthy for the body. It takes a wide spectrum of food and nutrients to keep the beautiful body you travel around in all day running in prime condition.

 

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