Ok let’s start at the beginning: what the heck is biohacking?
“Biohacking refers to the incorporation of small consistent changes that change the performance of the human body or mind in measurable ways,” explains Dr. Meghan Walker, a naturopathic doctor and expert biohacker.
Simple enough right? That’s because as science-y as it sounds, biohacking is actually really easy to incorporate into your daily life. Which is why in 2018 we expect it to go from cult lifestyle movement to mainstream practice.
“The easiest and most impactful biohacks come from the modification of things you do or take on a daily basis,” explains Walker. Think: ending your shower on a cold rinse to help increase energy, focus, and immune health. Or curbing eating by 7pm to optimize your body’s fat-burning potential.
Some of the most popular biohacking is focused on two main goals: improving brain function and boosting gut health.
For brain function, we’re seeing more people regularly spiking their java with MCT oil and butter to create the popular Bulletproof coffee that’s said to improve your energy as well (you can also find it made-to-order at spots like Impact Kitchen and the aptly named Extra Butter Coffee).
Then there are the nootropics – brain-boosting substances that increase cognitive function. We’re loving the everyday accessible one from Toronto’s own Beekeeper’s Naturals, B.LXR Brain Fuel shots, which contain a simple combo of royal jelly, ginkgo biloba, and bacopa monnieri (an ayurvedic herb). Taking a look at the stronger nootropics? Walker recommends talking to a medical practitioner before you dabble.
When it comes to gut health, we’re looking at – you guessed it – probiotics and fermented foods. With all the franken-foods we’re eating and our tendency to scarf down a meal while stressed or on the run, it’s no wonder we’re suffering from poor gut health. Brands like Toronto’s own Genuine Health have been longtime supporters of our gut health, but have stepped up their game recently with new probiotics and a line of gut superfood powders.
Also big with the cool kids of bio-hacking? The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting (hack your fat-burning potential), boosting your water with chlorophyll (supports daily liver and skin health), and blue-blocking shades to help prepare your body for sleep.
We’re even able to hack our meditation thanks to an invention by a local tech company called the MUSE, a brain-sensing headband that gives you real-time feedback on your practice and a full report on your session.
Still not sure about how to start biohacking? There’s an app for that! Here are a few of Dr. Walker’s faves:
- Sleep Cycle – “Sleep Cycle monitors your sleep based on the sound of your breathing. It is pretty accurate compared to wi-fi enabled biofeedback recorders. The advantage is that it keeps the wi-fi signals away from your head.”
- Clue – “Clue is a periods tracking app. So much of biohacking is about keeping track of important metrics. Understanding the cyclicity and symptoms related to your period is an important set of data.”
- Oura ring – “The app that accompanies the Oura ring (a heart-rate variability, sleep tracking tool) is also pretty cool if you want to go all out.”
“Biohacking is equal parts quantification and action,” says Walker. “In other words, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. All of the fancy hacks are fun, but part of the power, and frankly fun, of biohacking, comes from measuring data points related to your health. Heart rate variability, blood sugar and more advanced testing such stool analysis and advanced hormonal assessments are all within the biohacking arsenal.”