A Backpacker’s Guide to Biohacking

Why Biohacking? I’m a health nerd and love discovering new ways to improve my body and life. The world of health and science has discovered so many tools we can implement for living longer, healthier and happier lives - so why not make a few small changes to your daily routine and become a better person, both in mind and body? Biohacking on the road can be tough especially when traveling in developing countries, sleeping in hostels, and crossing the date line. Here are a few simple hacks I use when I’m backpacking.

1. Eat low carb/high fat. I’m a huge advocate for a low carb/high fat lifestyle. There is so much research proving the health benefits that come with keeping our blood sugar stable. Personally, I’ve been following the Ketogenic Diet for almost 3 years and love it. If that seems too extreme, simply lowering your carb intake and upping your fat is awesome! In Asia, I skip the rice, high-sugar fruits and baked goods, opting for fatty meats and whole coconuts instead. In Europe, I stick with charcuterie (minus the bread). In Mexico? Skip the rice and tortilla! This being said, once in a while it’s great to indulge: after all, you are there to experience the culture. It’s all about balance and listening to your body!

2. Intermittent Fasting (dry and wet). If you’ve never fasted before, I recommend starting slow with a 12 hour fasting period (water, tea, black coffee is allowed), and a 12 hour eating window. Intermittent fasting is much easier when you are following a ketogenic or low carb/high fat diet, because you general feel more satiated and don’t suffer from blood sugar spikes. At home, I practice a 10-12 hour dry fast (no liquids), extend the fast with water and coffee up to 16 hours, then consume a high-fat meal such as bacon and eggs or bulletproof bone broth. While traveling, my fasting periods vary a lot - I just listen to my body. My general rule of thumb when it comes to fasting (and life in general) is: If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not, don’t.

3. Hydrate! This goes without saying, but especially if you are traveling in hot places. If you’re practicing dry fasting, it’s really important to drink enough liquids during your non-fasting period.

4. Roll & Stretch. 10-15 minutes each morning of yoga, stretching and muscle rolling is incredibly beneficial for your muscles, fasciae and lymphatic system. I travel with a super thin yoga mat and a plastic Nalgene (for rolling). If you don’t have floor space, or the ground is too dirty, use the bed! It’s great for lunges, twists and hip openers.

5. Traveling in Asia? Get massaged! Not only are you helping the local economy, you are experiencing many benefits for your nervous, muscular, skeletal and lymphatic systems. Massages in Asia are incredibly inexpensive and leave you feeling relaxed and limber.

6. Take Berberine. Berberine is a powerful root used to control blood sugar levels. Although it’s not a substitute for avoiding sugar and carbs, it does allow for some wiggle room. It’s no fun being too anal about your diet when there are so many amazing local foods to try! Taking berberine with a higher-carb meal can significantly reduce an otherwise high spike in blood glucose levels.

7. Make Yourself Uncomfortable. Take cold showers, go bungee jumping, swim with whale sharks! Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone.

8. Explore Nature & Leave Your Phone At Home. Sometimes your brain is the only camera you need. :)

9. Get Enough Sleep. This can be a tough one as oftentimes hostels and guest-houses can be quite loud. Pack a few pairs of earplugs and an eye mask (or bandana) to ensure you’re getting the rest you need.

Happy Traveling!

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