Biohacking Your Health
I am always on the pursuit to enhancing my health! Too often we focus only on what we eat for enhancing our health, when in reality, it is what we put on our skin, how we sleep, how we get outside in nature and so many things that can effect our health and how efficient our mitochondria function.
Too often people wonder why they are not seeing the results they thought they would when they change their diet. Food is only one piece of the healing puzzle.
This may sound like biology class but everyone should know the term “Mitochondria” by now. I write a lot about mitochondria in my books and how many people have very damaged and poorly functioning mitochondria. The mitochondria is the POWERHOUSE of our cells! It is where energy comes from and where we oxidize fat! Mitochondria can be damaged by chemicals, alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs, lack of exercise, and other non-dietary things. Healing the mitochondria is essential to finding true health. You can enhance your mitochondria with intense weight lifting and long distance running. But for those of you who can’t do such strenuous exercise like my husband Craig, the things I list below can really help!
Other things can keep the unwanted pounds on, such as poor sleep. I’m always making new health goals and I like to bio-hack my health in many ways!
Here are a few things I do every single day to Biohack my Health!
Are you having trouble losing weight or are you having high morning blood sugar despite eating keto? Too often I see clients that are doing everything right for weight loss except they are ignoring the importance of quality sleep.
Many studies show a link between sleep and the hormones (leptin and grehlin) that manipulate our eating behavior. Have you ever experienced a sleepless night followed by a day when no matter what you ate you never felt satisfied? I hate that! This is the outcome when leptin and ghrelin get out of balance. Leptin and ghrelin work like a “checks and balances” that manage hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, produced in the stomach, increases appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a message to our brain when we are full. A lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to increase and your leptin levels to decrease. This imbalance causes us to intensely crave food and never feel full. The worst part is that we don’t crave broccoli, we crave high calorie sweets and starchy foods. Over time, this imbalance can easily lead to long-term weight gain.
I prioritize my sleep, I need about 9 1/2 hours a night and one thing that helps me get deep sleep is my ChiliPAD! I LOVE my ChiliPAD soooooo much that I have one at home and two at our Keto Condo in Maui!
I have GREAT news! Now you can get 25% OFF when you use the code: chilipad25 or just CLICK HERE to get it!
They also have a brand new product called “Oooler”. It is the latest technology and integrates with your phone so you can adjust fan speeds (including a quiet mode) and even schedule a time for it to start and stop each night. Use our exclusive coupon code to get 15% off: ooler15
CLICK HERE to get yours and start sleeping like a baby!
2. Cold Therapy
It may sound crazy but I have been in love with cold therapy for more than a decade. To be honest, cold therapy comes with the territory when living in Wisconsin! Especially when you are a runner and despise running on a treadmill. Getting cold just happen when you run in 20 below zero degrees!
Cold therapy has been used for some time to speed recovery in athletes, but being cold is important for everyone’s cellular health. Cooling your body shrinks your mitochondria, and smaller mitochondria are more efficient at making energy. The mitochondria are the powerhouse parts of your cells that burn fat.
Taking an ice cold bath before bed helps cools my body down for a nice long sleep! I’m not sure where the idea of taking a hot shower or bath came from. This sets me up for a restless night of being terribly hot. If you find yourself with sleep issues or a damaged mitochondria, yes, you can get your mitochondria tested, I highly suggest starting cold therapy. It doesn’t have to cost a single dollar! Especially if you live in an area like Wisconsin in the winter. Just go outside!
3. Red Light Therapy
I LOVE my Joovv Red Light! I know, another gadget BUT I’m hooked!
What I noticed right away after using the Joovv Red Light therapy was deeper sleep! I’m always on the quest for better sleep and this remarkable increase in my sleep was almost immediate! I love to travel and explore the World, but I miss my Joovv light when I am away from home!
What really got me interested in Red Light Therapy was all the benefits for healing that it claims to help with. I originally wanted one for Craig and healing his Lyme Disease. Then I heard it could help with collagen and wrinkles! I don’t like nor use chemicals on my skin and I never wear makeup but I would like to erase some wrinkles. Could this red light therapy really be the fountain of youth? Let’s look into the facts!
Red light creates a biochemical affect in our cells that serves to increase mitochondrial function. This improves ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production in the body! Red light therapy “feeds” your cells to increase energy.
Red light therapy = More ATP = more energy!
I wanted to get a red light after researching all the benefits and I found Joovv red light which also has infrared light therapy! This was a win win for me because I do not care for getting really hot in an infrared sauna.
On this Joovv light, you can choose to use only the red light therapy, or the infrared therapy OR BOTH! I always have it on both red and infrared when I use it. Why not get both benefits right?
Red Light Therapy isn’t a new concept; in 1903 Niels Finsen won the Nobel Prize in Medicine when he used red light to treat lupus and smallpox! In Russia, they use red light therapy in their standard medical care. The FDA has approved red light therapy for wrinkles, hair loss, enhancing the thyroid, acne, joint pain, immune function and slow wound healing.
Once we found out Craig had Lyme Disease, we needed to take action! He went undiagnosed for 5 years and he was suffering terribly!
I personally didn’t want to get a sauna, but Craig convinced me it would help him and he showed me all the research on why I should be doing it too!
1. Fat Loss and Muscle Gains
Infrared Saunas help promote fat loss and muscle growth by improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing muscle protein catabolism. Intermittent hyperthermia has been shown to reduce insulin resistance in obese mice. The results were a 31% decrease in insulin levels and a reduction in blood glucose levels, both of which can contribute to an increase in fat loss as well as muscle growth. It has also been shown that a 30-minute intermittent hyperthermic treatment can cause a significant expression of something called ‘heat shock proteins’ in muscle, which is correlated with 30% more muscle regrowth after a week of immobilization. Even if you don’t exercise yet you take saunas, you can still maintain muscle!
2. Helps Immune System
Studies show that after saunas, there is an increased number of white blood cells, lymphocyte, and basophil counts. These studies are proving that saunas help to stimulate the immune system. Additional research also found that saunas are able to significantly reduce the incidences of colds and flu. Taking regular saunas lead to a 30% less chance of getting a cold or influenza.
There is another interesting study (source) showing that cold exposure or cold therapy, followed by heat like a sauna can increase our “natural killer cells”. Natural killer cells are cells that consume pieces of virus and also release cytokines which aide in the immune response. It has been shown that people who end up needing intensive care due to COVID-19 are very low in these natural killer cells (NK).
There is significant increase with heat, then cold and then exercise (incrementally more natural killer cells with each done after each other). So cold therapy with sauna and exercise is a great combo for building immune health.
3. Skin Health
Saunas cause deep sweating and help remove bacteria out of the epidermal layer of the skin. This increases the rate at which dead skin cells are replaced can be increased. This deep sweating helps the movement of fluid to the skin which helps deliver mineral-rich nutrients and also helps to fill spaces around the cells, increasing firmness and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It also causes increased capillary circulation, which can give the skin a softer-looking, younger appearance.
4. Increases Growth Hormone
Growth hormone is essential for repair and recovery of muscles, and studies show that two 20-minute sauna sessions elevated growth hormone levels two-fold over baseline. If you increase the temperature even more and do two 15-minute sauna sessions there is a five-fold increase in growth hormone. And two one-hour sauna sessions for 7 days has been shown to increase growth hormone 16-fold!
5. Detoxes Chemicals and Heavy Metals
This was the main reason Craig wanted the sauna. He had very high heavy metal levels and mold issues. The skin is a major detox organ, but most people do not sweat enough to get the chemicals out. Infrared saunas help purify the body by eliminating unwanted chemicals such as heavy metals, PCB’s, toxins that are stored in fat cells, which release these unwanted chemicals when exposed to heat.
We did A LOT of research before buying a sauna and we found that the best sauna is Clearlight. Only Clearlight offers ALL the following:
- It shields from both EMF and ELF electric fields (the only far infrared sauna company to do this).
- A true Lifetime Warranty on the entire sauna and all its components.
- Powerful 500 watt Full Spectrum heaters emitting near, mid and far infrared heat.
- No nasty chemicals that can be emitted by cheaper saunas.
5. Control Your Cortisol Levels
You may know the hormone cortisol as the “belly fat” hormone. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol should be highest in the morning and fall throughout the day. Cortisol peaks in the morning which is called the cortisol awakening response. Cortisol has a large impact on metabolic rates, immune health and brain function.
There are a few ways you can biohack your cortisol levels!
For one, expose yourself to natural light in the morning. Natural light helps wake up the body and prepares us for any environmental stress we encounter. In the evening, limit your exposure to artificial light. Artificial light has been proven to keep cortisol levels high to the point where it shunts melatonin from being produced for a healthy night of sleep. I wear my BluBlox glasses every evening starting around 5pm. Click HERE to find BluBlox glasses.
Another way to biohack your cortisol levels is to workout in the mornings and never do hard workouts after 12. Too often I have clients workout after their jobs. Exercise is a stressor and increases cortisol. I once trained for a marathon and ended up gaining weight! Why is that? I was training so hard in the afternoons that my cortisol levels were too high. I slept terribly and the impact that cortisol had on my blood sugar levels kept me from losing weight despite eating extremely healthy and running 15 miles a day!
Caffeine will also increase cortisol. I cut caffeine years ago and it helped me control not only my cortisol hormones but it also lowered my blood sugar which helped stop cravings and helped with weight loss.
There are certain supplements that can help lower stress and cortisol. See below on number 7 for more information on supplements.
“There are some stressors in life that will raise cortisol that we can’t control; however, just like the way you choose the clothes you put onto your body daily, you have the control to choose your thoughts. Take time to be positive, grateful and meditate.” Maria Emmerich
Touch the Earth with your feet!
The other morning I had a client who had breast cancer and her doctor wanted her to take a supplement that made her blood more alkaline. I gently told her to not waste her money and that food and supplements do not influence your body’s pH balance. BUT that she could change her pH with other ways that most people do not do and are FREE!
I wanted to elaborate on how we can change our pH so Craig and I included a fantastic science article on our website Keto-Adapted.com, where we have personalized one-on-one help with macros, personalized meal planning and shopping lists, exclusive recipes and cooking videos, workout videos and yoga videos, as well as a science section where we help you comprehend the leading science in easy-to-understand articles. But since we have so many people mistakenly believe you can change your pH with food, I knew this article must be shared with all of you!
Effects of Food on Body pH
A common question we get is can you change your bodies pH with food? The theory behind this (the alkaline diet) says that we leave behind an ‘ash’ from what we eat after it is metabolized and this ash can be acidic or alkaline. More alkaline means for basic on the pH scale. More acidic means more acidic on the pH scale. They recommend to use urine pH strips to test your bodies pH.
The reasoning for this they say is that a slightly alkaline body is beneficial for health especially for lower cancer risk (link), osteoporosis and other diseases. But it has been shown that the cancer creates an acidic environment around itself (link). So it isn’t the body creating this condition. The pH of the blood no longer determines the pH of the cancer.
Can Food Influence Your Body pH levels?
The proponents of the ‘Alkaline Diet’ say that you can change your bodies pH through food. The theory is that foods leave behind an acidic or alkaline ash. The type of ‘ash’ is determined by the context of acid forming components such as phosphate and sulfur and alkalis such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. This means that animal products and grains are acid forming and fruits and vegetables are alkali forming.
While it is true that these foods will make you urine more alkaline or more acidic, making the blood more alkaline or acidic is a completely different thing. So your urine pH strip may change but that has no relation to your blood pH.
Food does not influence your blood pH. The body tightly regulates the pH of your blood and body fluids and diet cannot influence these levels (link, link). So what does regulate our blood pH? Our kidneys tightly regulate our bodies pH levels. They kidneys are very good at dealing with ‘acid ash’ and when we eat things like proteins the acids produced are quickly buffered by bicarbonate ions in the blood. This creates carbon dioxide which you exhale through the lungs. It also creates salts that are excreted by the kidneys. During secretion the kidney create new bicarbonate ions which returns to the blood to replace those used to buffer the acid.
Our bodies have a very tight control of the pH based on food eaten. Your body controls your pH to a slightly alkaline level of 7.4. So food does not effect the bodies pH level.
What else can create more electrons or charge on the body? The earth is negatively charged. So by Grounding to the earth you gain electrons and also create a more alkaline environment in your cells. So the prescription is pretty simple. Get outside in the sun with you shoes off and enjoy nature! This will slightly change your cells charge and thus pH level.
Now are these things going to give you a sudden burst of energy or feeling of change? No. But they are little things that don’t cost any money and can incrementally improve your health just by walking around barefoot.
You may be wondering why we need to supplement if our ancestors never did and do supplements actually work?
I had a client contact me after she asked her doctor if she could add in the supplements I suggested to her (such as zinc, magnesium, a probiotic) and he laughed and said that she was wasting her money. Guess what? She was on 2 blood pressure medications and 2 acid blockers! Seriously? I wish doctors wouldn’t be so disrespectful to the power of food and supplements rather than push prescription drugs! In only one month, I had her completely off the prescription drugs with the help with supplements.
Is food important? YES! You are not going to heal anything by eating Cheetos and taking supplements. Food comes first. But with proper diet, the addition of certain nutrients can help you heal faster, as well as get off medications. Do not be fooled by magazine articles and medical professionals that claim supplements are a waste of money. True, quality supplements matter, but if you add in the proper ones, I promise you, healing happens faster! I have hundreds of testimonies from clients who have had amazing results using supplements (and of course diet) to heal their bodies. Here is just one of the many.
“I started Keto as a way to heal. Basically as a last straw to my Hashimotos (low thyroid) and all the autoimmune and other things this dis-ease has done to my body, including weight gain which caused high blood pressure and brain fog, ADD, continual exhaustion, etc. A little over 5 weeks ago I had a one hour phone consultation with Maria Emmerich and a few days later I had a doctor’s appointment. My feelings was if I was going to pull this last straw I was going pull it right. So with personalized advice from Maria and my doctor on board, I started this journey 7/30/16.
Today, I had my 5 week check-up with my doctor. I’ve lost 15 pounds, been removed from my Pristiq (for my ADD), and although I’m on the lowest dose of Valsartan (for high BP) the doctor did not want to totally take me off, so he has asked me to cut the pills in half, and the biggest change is the energy that I have that can be documented by any doctor. Keto lifestyle is life-changing!!!” – Julie
There are many supplements that can enhance your mitochondria! My personal favorite is CoQ10. I recommend 400mg of CoQ10 with the first meal of the day since it is both fat and water soluble. Click HERE to find CoQ10.
There are supplements that can help shuttle triglycerides to the mitochondria which increases fat burning. My personal favorite is L-carnitine. I suggest 3 grams of l-carnitine as soon as you wake up. Click HERE to find L-carnitine.
8. Take time to HAVE FUN!
Take time to make each day a little special! It doesn’t have to cost a thing!
I save time by having food like Butcherbox delivered to my door so I don’t have to waste time driving to the store and waiting in line. I also stopped my gym membership because I would rather lift weights outside and be in nature. This saved a lot of time and money.
Since I have extra time by cutting things I didn’t enjoy, I have the opportunity to have FUN! What I like to do each evening in the summer is take my boys fishing. Even if it is just for an hour. I love to fish (and swim afterwards) and the fun conversations with my boys are priceless!
TESTIMONY OF THE DAY
“Hi Maria! I’m on Day 12 of your carnivore meal plans. I am thrilled that I’ve committed to doing this for myself.
I am sleeping better, my weight is steadily moving down. I am able to work all day while fasting. My sinus issues are mostly gone (thanks in part to giving up stevia). For months my skin was chronically dry and flakey in the T zone. My complexion is near perfect now. Acid reflux? What acid reflux? Gone! The right food is the best medicine!
Looking forward to what a full month of carnivore brings.” – Susan
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