4 min|Rhiannon Lytle
6 Simple Ways to Biohack Your NutritonWellness, Nutrition, Health
Does the word “biohack” scare you? It doesn’t have to! At its core, biohacking looks at the individual and finding out what works for them to feel their best for the long-run, just like how holistic nutritionists know that one diet doesn’t fit all!
Although it’s all about the individual, there are some key nutritional elements that nearly anyone can add in each day to help on their biohacking journey:
1. Skip the processed foods.
This one seems simple, but everyone has a different definition of “processed”. I’m not just talking about hot dogs and bags of chips. Processed foods include: breads, deli meats, canned soups, canned vegetables (with other ingredients), juices from concentrate.
Aim to consume minimally processed as often as possible, including vegetables, quality animal protein, legumes and grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat. This can help reduce inflammation in our body, maintain a healthy gut microbiome and keep our blood sugar regulated, which means better sleep, more energy and vitality!
2. Eat more non-starchy vegetables.
Fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables, which are nutrient dense and help to fill us up without the energy dip later in the day!
This doesn’t mean forgo things like sweet potatoes, parsnips or butternut squash altogether, but they shouldn’t be the only vegetable component in the meal.
3. Don’t avoid fat!
For too long we’ve been told to avoid fat: “fat makes you fat” was a phrase used over and over. But it’s 2021, and we now know that fat actually helps reduce cravings, balance your hormones, keep your brain sharp, and give your skin a slight suppleness
Some of my favourite fats come from plants, including: avocado and avocado oil, olive oil, nuts and nut butters, and seeds. I’m also a big fan of essential omega-3 fats coming from wild-caught, fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines and mackerel, along with grass-fed and grass-finished meat.
4. Try a mini-fast.
No, you don’t need a daily fast of 18 hours to reap some of the benefits of intermittent fasting! At minimum, try a 12-hour nightly (i.e. 7pm to 7am) fast to experience benefits for your digestive system, reducing inflammation and revving up metabolism.
While there are many benefits to fasting, how long you fast for many need a more individualized approach. The best way to know for yourself? Experiment!
For some, 12 hours is enough to start feeling the effects like more energy during the day, and a more restful sleep. Others may wish to fast for longer periods or trial the best times of day to fast – studies suggest starting your fast earlier in the evening can have wonderful effects.
5. Drink more water.
Aim for 2 to 3 litres of pure water (or herbal tea) daily! Bonus points if you can get it filtered, but it's okay if that's not within your reach.
We need water to survive and we feel best when we're consuming adequate amounts: our skin looks healthier, our lips aren't chapped, we have more energy and better focus, we crave less sweets...
If you don't like the taste of water, try brewing a large batch of herbal tea and drinking hot or letting it cool in the fridge.
6. Know your genes.
Like I said, we’re all built differently and biohacking largely plays on the fact that we all need individualized nutrition, especially beyond the basics.
Knowing your genetics can help us to plan a nutrition guide that’s suited specifically for you:
- How well can you tolerate animal protein?
- Are there certain vegetable families that don’t suit your body?
- How DO you do with extended fasting?
- How do you gain weight?
All of these questions can be answered with testing, especially those available in our new Integrative Biohacking Program, which includes an in-depth look at how you can alter your nutrition to best suit you!
Rhiannon is the Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Integrative. She has a passion for making healthy eating easy, accessible and fun, loves getting outside, and enjoys spending time with her dog, Chloe!