Morning Mineral Cocktail 12 ounces filtered water 3 grams sea salt 1/4 lemon, squeezed
Keep your water close, and sip often.
harmful chemicals like BPA that can throw your hormone balance out of whack and set you up for a host of associated issues.
Spring water has the right balance of what you want (useful minerals), with little to none of what you don’t (chlorine, heavy metals, contaminants).
electrolytes that are present in spring water
the next best thing is filtered water—either through a Brita pitcher you fill and stick in the refrigerator, a Pur filter you attach straight to your kitchen faucet, or whatever high-quality filter is available near you.
Sea salt contains upward of sixty trace minerals above and beyond the sodium, chloride, and iodine in regular table salt, including phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bromine, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, and copper.
Roman soldiers of antiquity were “paid” with an allotment of salt. The words salt and salary are derived from the same Latin root word: sal.
The strongest synchronizing agent for the circadian system? You guessed it: light. Specifically, blue light. Even more specifically, environmental light, aka sunlight, which is the most natural and abundant source of blue light.
He got into the light every time he woke up—from sleep or from a nap.
There is real science behind adding a few minutes of playful activity in the morning. Even light exercise boosts circulation and improves cognitive performance. It releases endorphins and, most important of all, helps entrain that fickle bastard, our circadian rhythm.
The morning prescription comes in three parts: hydrate, get lit, and move it.
the water should be room temperature.
the salt needs to dissolve or stay off the bottom of the glass when you drink it.
The best way to avoid that problem is to simply mix the cocktail in a shaker or a water bottle.
Get lit. Upon waking, either from sleep or a nap, blast yourself with five to ten minutes of direct blue-light exposure.
SLOW AND SEXY: 5–10 MINUTES This is a little yoga flow I developed for the morning. I hold each position for two full intentional breaths, allowing up to one breath for the transition. Start standing with your palms open and facing outwards. Then forward fold. Walk your hands forward into down dog. Bring your left leg up parallel to your hands, into lizard lunge. Take your left hand and open it up to the sky for spinal twist. Put your hand back down. Take your leg back to high plank. Do a pushup (drop to knees if necessary). Repeat on the right side. When you complete the pushup, walk your hands back to forward fold. Roll up one vertebra at a time. Raise your arms, into a gentle backbend, then bring your hands down and your arms to center prayer pose. Repeat as many times as you like. Pro
This is not breakfast. This is bullshit. It’s a blood sugar bomb.
Blood sugar is supposed to rise slowly after you eat a balanced meal full of fats, complex carbohydrates like fiber (the best kind of carbs), and protein, allowing time for the body to release just the right amount of a hormone called insulin to drop the blood sugar and help store the sugar as fuel. But when refined sugar or other simple carbohydrates push blood sugar up quickly, it is toxic to the cells and the body hurriedly floods the bloodstream with insulin, which craters our blood sugar levels, leaving us tired and irritable in the short term and at risk for a variety of health conditions in the long term.
The fast, sugary foods making us fat and sick are perfectly engineered to trigger biological responses that are incredibly hard to resist. High-sugar foods release a massive hit of dopamine.
Thus, the first step in your nutrition plan is simple: no sugary stuff for breakfast. Period. Instead, we need to add fats back into our diet in sugar’s place.
Make this simple substitution—fat for sugar—and you will have the sustained, balanced energy to power you all the way up to lunch.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.
And slower is always better, since it gives your body a longer and more accurate window of time to respond to the glucose, or glycogen, that all sugars eventually metabolize into for the purpose of providing fuel to every living cell, including the brain.
Deep Dive—Sugar Metabolism and Insulin Resistance When the blood contains moderate amounts of sugar, and the body has ample time between releases of insulin, things work pretty well. However, when there is a constant level of sugar in the blood, or consistent spikes of blood sugar, not only does the liver convert sugar to fat, but the body has to release a commensurate level of insulin to keep up. Naturally, if there is a fast increase in blood glucose, there will be a fast increase in insulin. Often this leads to an overcorrection, as the body is in a hurry to drop blood sugar levels. This rapid increase then causes a swift drop in blood glucose concentrations, resulting in the “crash” we dread so much and, when you have too much often enough, a tolerance to insulin called insulin resistance. When the cells become insulin-resistant, they aren’t able to shuttle the sugar from the blood into the cells as efficiently, and so you aren’t able to remove it from the blood. At a certain point this becomes type 2 diabetes, and the injection of additional insulin becomes necessary to reduce blood sugar.
To put it another way: if you don’t eat fat, you’re probably fat.
In reality, there is only one type of cholesterol, and it is unequivocally good for you—it is the cargo on the boat. There are, however, different types of lipoproteins—different size boats—that deliver it into the cells. There are the “bad” small boats (VLDL, or very-low-density lipoproteins) and the “good” big boats (high-density lipoproteins and large low-density lipoproteins).
with great heart health. The small boats don’t carry as much cargo, so you need more of them, and they can get jammed up in the shipping channels
There are bad fats. Fried oils, refined fats, and trans fats—like you find in potato chips or margarine—drive inflammation and make you feel sluggish, and should be limited or avoided.
The good fats—saturated fats, cholesterol, triglycerides, and omegas of all sorts—are the ones found in unprocessed meats, dairy, fish, butter, egg yolks, olives, avocados, coconuts, and raw nuts, and should be sought out for breakfast.
There are a few coconut yogurt brands, including the one from New Earth Superfoods, which I mentioned above, but the coconut cream under the Coconut Cult brand name will ship nationwide in cold packs, so you can yogurt like a baller.
It contains no sugar and is one of the easiest foods to digest, making it the go-to for anyone trying to correct gut-related issues.
As long as your bacon has not been pumped full of hormones or antibiotics or cured with artificial preservatives, those delicious slices of hog tummy are a fun way to get some fat and some protein on the plate.
Universal Nutrition Principle #3: Skipping Is Better Than Cheating
You’re going to be far better off skipping breakfast altogether and waiting until you can get a good lunch or a snack with actual nutrients involved, rather than eating a bunch of sugar.
Choco-Maca Magic Shake SERVES 1 Time to prep: 5 minutes 20 grams chocolate protein powder (no sugar added) 6 ounces unsweetened organic almond milk 6 ounces spring water 1 tablespoon almond butter (or your favorite nut butter) 1 teaspoon chia seeds 1/2 cup organic blackberries 1 tablespoon MCT oil Ice as desired In a large blender, combine the protein powder, almond milk, and spring water. Pulse quickly to incorporate—this will help reduce clumping and pasting of the protein powder up the sides of the blender. Add the almond butter, chia seeds, blackberries, and MCT oil. Top with ice to the fill line. Blend and serve.
First: our stresses are more in number and different in kind from what our ancestors faced. We’ve talked about it earlier, but it’s worth repeating: we deal with more chronic stressors than our ancestors did, most of which our bodies are not designed to thwart—and it shows.
The final reason to take supplements is that even if you have a perfect diet, there are nutrients available that you can’t find in the produce section of your grocery store.
Don’t have any illusions: you can’t just take a pill and own the day if you eat like a sloth and move like one too.
A good greens blend is going to be nutrient-dense and should have a good mixture of freeze-dried foods containing small amounts of many vitamins and minerals, as well as enzymes, antioxidants, and other beneficial stuff you’d probably never put in a salad—herbs, fruits, grasses, leaves, and maybe even a flower or two.
even improving blood sugar regulation through diminishing insulin resistance.
It’s probably why the most popular magnesium supplement in the world is simply called Calm.
KRILL OIL: SUPPLEMENT OMEGA-3
5-gram range. I took it at night, and it felt like the oil’s essential omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), along with its intrinsic antioxidant astaxanthin and its brain-healthy nutrient phosphatidylcholine, were running through my bloodstream like a fire hose, just blasting out all the inflammation in my body.
Why krill oil and not fish oil? Studies show that with krill oil you get the same metabolic effects at lower doses. Translation: it’s just more potent.
SUPPLEMENT VITAMIN D
more often than not we are significantly deficient in this critical vitamin that is important for over two hundred bodily processes, concerning everything from optimal mood to bone health. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown in clinical research to help reduce body fat mass, maintain muscle mass and reduce fractures, and correct mood-related issues.
5,000 micrograms of D a day
is a yeast-based strain called Saccharomyces boulardii.
The studies back it up: whether it’s Crohn’s disease, or irritable bowel, S. boulardii is the shit for problems with your shit.
ACTIVE B VITAMINS
I personally take products from several other places besides Onnit, including Sunwarrior, Healthforce Superfoods, NuMedica, and LivOn.
Avoid supplements that make medical claims.
Avoid companies that don’t perform randomized clinical trials on their own products.
The author Robert Greene has a useful, simple way of thinking about all time: it’s either alive or dead.
What Greene says, and what I agree with, is that any time can be made into alive time, because alive time is a choice, just as dead time is a choice.
Mindfulness is simply being aware and conscious in the present moment. That’s it.
mindfulness is a type of nothingness: it’s not your bank account, it’s not your hopes, it’s not your fears, it’s not any kind of coulda, woulda, shoulda. In that same way, mindfulness is a kind of everythingness: it’s you. All of you. Right now. This second, because the only thing that exists is this second.
But that’s why mindfulness as a practice can be so powerful. It can help bring you back to the present moment, and in doing so expand and prepare your mind for what lies ahead of you for the rest of your day. This is the essence of Zen philosophy.
The goal was the process itself.
The point was about life. Instead of rushing from one thing to another, always focused on the past and the future, why not just be here now (nod to Ram Dass).
That’s what the Zen masters realized, and what Native American–trained tracker turned author Tom Brown realized. You need mindfulness you can take with you, on the road. Literally. So he developed a practice that I call the wide peripheral gaze.
THE WIDE PERIPHERAL GAZE Open your eyes as wide as they go without engaging any muscles of the face. Keep your focus relaxed in the center of your vision. With your mind only, become aware of everything happening at the periphery of your vision. Up, down, left, right. Things might be a little fuzzy, that’s fine. Then, still without focusing on anything at all, become aware of everything.
Every moment something will be different, always changing, just like life. It is life. Breathe with your belly. Become aware of all things happening at all times. Become the observer of every detail in the environment, ignoring nothing, yet focusing on nothing.
Mindfillness Mindfulness brings the dead time to life, but what I call mindfillness is what animates that time and makes it productive. It fills the mind that you’ve just focused and opened. This is a practical choice as much as a purposeful one, because if your commute resembles that of the average American, thirty minutes is way too long to do breath work and drive and try to stare out the sides of your head like a gecko.
I’ll tell you what I’m not listening to: the news or talk radio.
I’m not interested in making myself miserable by plugging into the 24/7 news cycle of endless outrage and conflict.
The point is to learn something, not gorge on nonsense.
I built the entire Onnit empire on the back of podcasts, and you can use them to help you build whatever life you want too.
An average book takes about eight hours of listen time, and if your mind is sharp you can speed that up to six hours by moving to 1.5x speed. For most of us, that is going to be a new book every two weeks. Talk about leveling up!
STEP 1: WOOSAH MOTHAFUCKA As soon as you get in your car take six deep breaths. Expand your lungs as much as possible, and focus your breath into your belly—that same place where the dragon hatches and tells you to melt the traffic in front of you like you were Khaleesi on a bad moon day.
STEP 2: WIDE PERIPHERAL GAZE The bane of driving is distraction. The opposite of mindfulness. First practice the wide peripheral gaze when you are stopped. But some of us might be inclined to explore it while driving.
STEP 3: LEARN SOME SHIT
The Joe Rogan Experience, Tim Ferriss is essential listening, and Lewis Howes’s School of Greatness podcast seldom disappoints. If you need a true kick in the ass, check out Jocko Willink.
Daniele Bolelli’s History on Fire, or Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.
recommending adding fats like butter, cacao butter, or MCT as supplements to your morning coffee.
In a pinch, full-fat dairy like whole cream will do, but better than that is to whip out a blender and add a serving of grass-fed butter, coconut oil, or cacao butter to make a frothy fatty latte, and get those fat macronutrients into your life! Perhaps the best fat source for your caffeine, though, is MCT oil.
some 5-HTP for serotonin, some Mucuna pruriens for dopamine (did I really need more dopamine?), some L-theanine for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) modulation, and then this stuff that sounded like the name of an Argentinian soccer player, called Huperzia serrata, targeted toward acetylcholine.
I’m a firm believer that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who need to find purpose and meaning in what they do for a living, and those who find purpose and meaning elsewhere and use work as a means to those ends.
work, you should look at your profession as the minimum effective way to gain the resources necessary to work toward your mission. Neither path is better or more valid than the other.
Humans are happiest when they are working toward something.
Essential oils have been used therapeutically for more than six thousand years.
Daniel Cormier, a dominant light heavyweight UFC champion, has a saying: “Embrace the grind.”
You can find binaural beats tracks for sale online or on YouTube, but to get you started I have hosted two of mine for free at aubreymarcus.com/beats.
If you like ice cream, for example, adding some unusual toppings is a good way to further slow down the absorption process and sometimes even add good nutrients. Everyone screams for ice cream. The first time is when you get it, the second time is after you go hypoglycemic from the insulin dump. That is, if you even have the energy to scream. The good thing about ice cream, though, is that it already has fat, which slows down the process. But if you are clever, you can slow that down even further. For instance, instead of sprinkling more sugar on your ice cream, try sprinkling on some psyllium, or chia seeds. One study showed that adding soluble fiber, like what is found in chia and psyllium, dramatically reduced the impact on blood glucose of high-carbohydrate foods. Psyllium has been shown to have a host of benefits on its own, including increased satiety (feeling full). Increased satiety when it comes to ice cream might be the difference between having a scoop and eating the whole pint.
A couple of other things can lower blood sugar after a meal, as well, through sheer witchcraft and sorcery. Those things are Ceylon cinnamon and apple cider vinegar.
As little as one ounce after a meal has shown benefits in blood sugar management, likely contributing to further studies showing mild weight loss. I use Bragg apple cider vinegar, which comes in convenient 128-ounce bulk bottles, but you can use whatever brand you like.
I call that concoction my “Cheater Shooter.” To make it, just mix one ounce of ACV and half a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon into three ounces of room-temperature water and send it down the hatch.
Say Grace Like a Scientist! In Island, Aldous Huxley’s last novel, about a utopian island called Pala, Huxley talks about saying grace as an act of gratitude to be done not with words but with your senses. It’s a concept I regularly borrow in my own life, and one that I want you to apply, since it encompasses the principles of modern nutrition science. Before you eat, prepare the very best bite on your fork. Take a moment to look deeply at all the food on your plate. Think about where it came from (a reinforcement to eat food sourced in a healthy manner). Think about the energy required to grow that food—the nutrients, the sunlight, the other plants and animals ingested by your food. Take time to bring yourself to a state of mindfulness and reduced stress. Think about how that energy will translate to energy in your own body and what you are going to need that energy for (a reminder about portion control . . . and that you’re about to bone down!). As you put the bite in your mouth, if the food is lacking in any of these categories, forgive it. You never want to think that what you’re about to eat is poison, or bad for you, or will ruin your diet. Instead, tell your body that what it is about to eat is nourishment. Then look at the food, smell the food, and savor it. When you taste it, chew it until there is nothing left, and your tastebuds have flirted with every ingredient in this orgy of flavor. That should be your first bite, and how you say grace: it’s a piece of mindfulness, a nutrition reinforcer, and a way through the placebo to ensure that your food will be digested and absorbed optimally.
The author Steven Pressfield has heard those same voices, too. He even gave them a name. He called them, collectively, Resistance. Resistance is that force that will oppose you every time you attempt to ascend, to improve, to achieve. Pressfield heard it all the way up until he was about forty years old and decided that he was finally going to fulfill his lifelong vocation and become a professional writer. He wrote four screenplays that were made into movies over the next ten years, and published his first book when he was fifty-two years old. It was called The Legend of Bagger Vance, and it went on to become a massive bestseller as well as a feature film five years later. His second book, Gates of Fire, was a piece of historical fiction about the three hundred Spartan men who made a stand at a place in Greece called the Hot Gates. They faced an army of 100,000 Persian fighters. They didn’t retreat. They didn’t surrender. They died fighting to the last man, because they were Spartans. How did they defeat Resistance? Silence those voices that told them they could never win, that there was no point, that it was hopeless? They had an ethos. Never give up, never surrender. Easier said than done. Ask anyone what the hardest thing is about doing something new or different or unheard of, and they’ll tell you it’s sticking with it. Well, the Spartans stuck with it. They always did. Not just for themselves, but for their loved ones. The best chance they had to keep their beloved safe was to let every enemy know that if they crossed the boundary into Sparta, they better be ready for a war to the last man. That simple, singular ethos was what helped the Spartans send their message not just to the world, but down through history. That is the beauty of singular focus, and the reason we are focusing on a single day. You are going to get results, the day you start. The moment you start. Forty minutes after you wake up, you are going to feel different than you have ever felt. That difference will compound like interest in the bank, and then the real transformation will begin.