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Adam I. Gerard
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Some Health Habits

Some personal habits that I've found helpful (for me).

I Drink Water to Reduce Morning Fatigue

I've long suffered from drowsiness in the morning.

This was not the case when I was younger - I was usually up at 5 or 6 AM most mornings with almost no apparent side effects from sleep deprivation. In fact, I was fairly athletic (but not that skilled at most sports) and would routinely swim 8-15KM most mornings after lifting weights, practice piano and cello in the evenings after school, hang out with friends, and read until Midnight. Something like that schedule was fairly common for me through college.

Somewhere along the way that schedule changed quite a bit: I went from being an early morning person to being more of a mid-morning one. Still a night owl. I think I've gained in productivity and get more done (by cutting out a lot of waste, maximizing valuable efforts and time, focus, practice) but have found myself feeling more tired (especially early in the morning). After learning that dehydration is a surprising cause of fatigue, grogginess, or drowsiness I started chugging water right after I wake up.

This helps quite a bit although it doesn't completely eliminate my feelings of drowsiness (I'd put it at 85%, maybe 90% reduction).

I presently use an under-sink filter, tea kettle, and UV water bottle to reduce bacteria, pharmaceutical run-off, and lead in my drinking water. I also try to use a shower or under-sink filter anywhere I consume or make contact with water in my home: utility sinks, bathroom, shower, brushing my teeth, etc.

I Take Herbal Supplements (Nootropics)

It's been intriguing to see how herbal supplements have gained quite a bit more scientific backing / medical legitimacy over the last decade or so. I for one, was quite dismissive of most natural remedies, herbal supplements, or organic compounds when I was younger.

I hope to have adopted a more enlightened disposition where I remain skeptical about the purported benefits of some substance until I find multiple credible scientific and medical sources to determinately rule on the subject matter.

I take the words nootropics and herbal supplements to overlap quite a bit in meaning. One shade of difference seems to be that synthetic compounds or extracts (laboratory-induced, processed, or made) tend to be called nootropics whereas herbal supplements tend to be naturally occurring (removed or extracted from plants and animals directly). As a result, I tend to stick to herbal supplements since their effects are more widely documented. While claims about vastly amplifying one's intelligence are appealing, I'd rather not consume some untested chemical compound that's been baked up in an unknown lab.

That being said, here's my current "nootropic stack" (really just an herbal supplement list here):

Supplement Why Note
Omega 3 (Vegan) Mood Slightly improves cognition, mood, reduces neurodegeneration.
Caffeine Focus Positive effects are well-known. Lacks side-effects found in similar substances like Nicotine. I prefer pill form since I can more precisely measure the amount I consume.
Esomeprazole Magnesium Acid Reflux Compound I've found to be most effective at reducing symptoms of Acid Reflux.
Turmeric (Curcumin) Brain Spawns a tiny amount of neurons over time, slightly improves neuron growth in the brain.
Tart Cherry Extract Brain Slightly improved brain functioning. Reduces neurodegeneration.
PS100 (Phosphatidylserine) Brain Slightly improved brain functioning.
B12 Brain Spawns a small number of neurons.
Folic Acid Brain Slightly improves neurogenesis.
Cranberry Extract Diet Balances PH levels in one's body reducing infection in waste tracts.

I also regularly take adult vitamin supplements (or eat optimally balanced foods) to cover the basics (but haven't included these here since they are consumed à la carte).

I Limit Other Liquids

I enjoy a good whiskey or scotch from time to time and have no prohibition against beer or alcohol.

However, I find myself gradually decreasing my total alcohol consumption. In fact, I'm effectively alcohol-free at this point in my life.

I also try to cut out most sugary drinks.

I think this is a lot easier to do these days given the many great alternatives out there:

  1. Bravus - really incredible, full, thick, beers with little to no alcohol content. I enjoy a good craft beer (for the flavor) and would recommend these to anyone looking for the same.
  2. Tea - one advantage of drinking tea is that you're typically boiling your water before consumption. People who regularly drink tea have already incorporated better water purity habits into their daily ritual.
  3. Seedlip - a subtle elixir akin to a more flavorful kind of non-carbonated tonic water. Non-alcoholic.
  4. Ritual - incredible full-flavored whiskey substitute. A thick, spiced, elixir that matches whiskey maybe 85% in terms of flavor and kick.

Some of the above claim to combine various helpful herbal supplements into their concoctions to give a slight boost to mood or brain functioning. I've generally found this to be true but only to a small extent.

I Quit Smoking

I was a heavy smoker for almost a decade of my life. I'd strongly advise anyone to stop or refrain from smoking cigarettes (or any other common alternative: pipe tobacco, tea - yes people smoke this, etc.) for the following reasons:

  1. Inhaling smoke of any variety is carcinogenic: it causes cancer.
  2. Inhaling smoke of any variety increases the CO2 content of your blood which reduces oxygen uptake into the brain. While you may feel more or less stimulated based on other chemicals present in the smoke, your brain is being starved of air.
  3. Carcinogenic chemicals are often added to the already harmful smoke you're inhaling.
  4. It's super expensive over many years. Smoking two packs of cigarettes a day is probably between $12K to $20K over a decade.

Smoking cigarettes made me less intelligent, poorer, and more cancer-prone.

I Wear Masks

Wearing a mask is great for many reasons:

  1. Masks prevent disease transmission (not just of COVID-19).
  2. Masks filter out air pollution.
  3. Masks filter out carcinogenic compounds in your air (air pollution or not).
  4. Masks block odors and smells.
  5. Masks are useful for hobbies that involve painting, gluing, etc. If you're into these hobbies, you probably feel quite comfortable wearing a mask anyway.

Vegetarian

I stopped eating meat several years ago for several reasons:

  1. Ecological: to reduce my carbon footprint.
  2. Ethical: I started to feel bad about eating adorable animals just because they were tasty.
  3. Logistical: by contributing to more efficient food growing and delivery systems, I help reduce costs for other customers and myself. For example, one Angus beef burger takes 600 gallons of water to make. One Beyond burger takes a fraction of that.
  4. Cost: going vegetarian costs less month on month.
  5. Health: eating less red meat is healthier. I also don't consume as many random chemicals or hormones.

This has proven to be quite difficult since most of my very favorite meals involve steak: Galbi, Bulgogi, etc.

I think the impact has been largely positive. Not sure what the exact health effects have been but seems to have resulted in much greater clarity in thinking (in tandem with the other major life changes above). I've also lost a healthy amount of weight (10-15 pounds without any exercise).

Vegetarians rejoice: next-generation lab-grown meats are a definite game-changer. They aren't GMO products (just cell tissue cultures), cost a fraction to grow (in terms of land acreage, food, water, time, transportation, etc.), don't kill or harm any animals, and don't require pesticides or other chemicals that are commonly injected into livestock. Even for pets!

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