7 Tips for a Bulletproof Holiday Season
By: Dave Asprey
December 20, 2012
Holidays are a source of stress for most people – between the aroma of mouth-watering (but junk-filled) desserts, trying to buy perfect gifts, and navigating the weird emotions your brain stem and mammalian brain have automatically associated with holidays.
The cool thing is that if you adopt the biohacker mentality, you can really enjoy the holidays without the stress. The holidays are a time to break free from your daily routine, but they are not an excuse to break your commitments to yourself. You don’t have to backslide on your hard work and start over due to holiday temptations.
If you spent time upgrading your life during 2012 – remember why you did it, and even write it down and keep it with you to read when you feel tempted to sabotage your health.
Here are 7 tips to Stay Bulletproof this Holiday season:
1. Stick to the green side of the Bulletproof Diet
Eating right is at the core of avoiding stress and extra pounds during the holiday season. Be conscious of the Bulletproof diet and set a goal(s) on what you are willing eat. Sometimes this means eating before an event. That gluten-based cheesecake won’t look so good if you’re full of Bulletproof coffee!
Three key ingredients to avoid this season include gluten, sugar, and omega 6 oils. Some of these foods include beer, wheat, vegetable oil, and fruit juice. By adhering to the major principles of the diet, your brain will function better, which in turn will help you make better choices and handle stress better. Family annoyances are much easier to deal with when your hardware is healthy and optimally functioning.
If you do stray into the red zone of the Bulletproof Diet, avoid the “what the hell” effect. The “what the hell” effect is the idea that one slip leads to an avalanche of giving up the goal. People may say to themselves “Oops, I screwed up, why bother trying, I may as well go out big,” then one cookie turns into 10 cookies and meal laden with gluten, omega 6 oils and other crap harms your performance and reduces resilience.
If, like me, you are at the point in your transformation where these types of food look as appetizing as rocks, and temptation is not an issue, great! Share in the comments below how you got there.
If you are like most people, you’re not there yet, so if you do slip into the red zone—be kind to yourself- acknowledge that you’d like to make better decisions about what you put in your body, and pay attention to how the food made you feel. Review your reasons as to why you want to stick to this commitment and think about what you could have done to avoid the craving or temptation in the first place. There is no need to beat yourself up, that may actually make you more likely to slip.
Let’s face it: you’re always on the Bulletproof Diet because it’s a spectrum. Every bite you take from now until when you die either helps your performance, is neutral, or harms your performance. Santa doesn’t change that.
Worst case scenario- get yourself back on track at the Bulletproof Conference, January 17-19, 2013, in San Francisco.
Other helpful tips are included below:
2. Hacking Desserts
Now this is a willpower challenge! With Grandma’s cookies, Mom’s apple pie, and other once a year favorites flooding your senses, desserts are hard to avoid. And they are doubly difficult if you’ve got emotional connections to toxic foods that you’ve been nibbling on since childhood.
If you’ve got an emotional connection to food, acknowledge what it meant to you, and provide yourself with alternatives to using that food to impact that emotion, and yes, some of them may be yummy alternatives! The best dessert hack is to bring your own:
Other Bulletproof desserts (or pre-dinner snacks) to include during the season are dark chocolate, nuts, and dark berries. Upgraded Vanilla and Chocolate Powder are great Bulletproof toppings if you do not make desserts this year.
It’s also shockingly easy to make your own eggnog using a blender, butter, like Kerrygold Unsalted, or canned coconut milk, water, XCT oil, eggs, nutmeg, and your sweetener of choice either Stevia or xylitol. There’s no way you’ll have room for apple pie after a tall glass of health-promoting eggnog.
3. Exercise with High Intensity
Exercise is great for many reasons during the holidays; it can burn off excess stress hormones, the right amount keeps you fit, and it makes it healthy to eat more of your favorite Bulletproof foods.
In an interview with Keifer, from Dangerously Hardcore, we discuss how after workouts your muscles have the ability to absorb sugar despite remaining insulin insensitive. Kiefer calls the dietary protocol that uses this “trick” “Carb Back loading.” That means if you workout hard, healthy carbs (rice, high-starch vegetables, berries) will be processed faster in your body and, according to Keifer, help build muscle.
If you want to maximize a heavier carb meal, be sure to complete a high intensity workout before eating. Exercise can also be helpful for blowing off some steam if you find you’ve got extra energy, or want a break from festivities.
4. Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is one of my favorite ways to battle stress during the holiday season (naps do wonders!). Getting quality and regular sleep will help you stay high performance, maintain emotional regulation, make more choices that are in alignment with your biohacking goals and commitments to yourself.
As biohackers, there are tons of tools to help us hack sleep.
Track your sleep with a Zeo, take vitamin D in the morning, and take magnesium before sleeping. We cover all aspects of sleep hacking in the articles below:
5. Avoid the Holiday Hangover!
Getting together with family or coworkers usually means the liquor cabinet is open for business, especially during the holidays. Below is your guide to biohacking your holiday booze intake:
For more information and to read about Bulletproof alcohol, see the post and check out the comments too.
6. No Calorie Counting
For many, counting calories, and trying to stay within a certain range at this time of year is extra stressful and can be demoralizing, lending to giving in to the “what the hell” effect. The good news is, that counting calories (unless you enjoy it like stamp collecting), is also a waste of time.
Remember, it is not the number of calories you eat. Calories are a measure of energy – hormones are what make you fat. The quality of the food you eat is what matters. Stack on the grass-fed butter and grass-fed beef during your holiday dinners and your scale will not disappoint you in the morning. Here are a couple of links to the myth of calories:
7. Bulletproof Gifts for Everyone!
Are you having trouble finding the perfect gift?
It is tough to find great gifts when it seems like our loved ones already have most of what they want. If being Bulletproof has helped change your life – why not pay it forward to someone you love and help them be healthier too? Participate in the fun of the gift of giving while minimizing the stress this Holiday season, or help people get a jump on their resolutions! Here are a few Bulletproof ideas:
Coffee is a holiday favorite. Do not forget the grass-fed butter and Upgraded XCT to make it Bulletproof. Vanilla does not only need to be used for food – it is also a great way to add a lovely aroma to any house. You may get all of these holiday treats at UpgradedSelf.com, including our newly launched kits to make it easy to be bulletproof. More ideas include:
Before the gifts, the food, the booze, and the biohacking this holiday season – take a step back and remember why we celebrate the holidays.
It is a time to enjoy the company of the loved ones in your life, and be thankful for what you have and don’t have (i.e. that extra baggage, disease, etc). If you want an extra challenge, see if there are any difficulties you have had that you can be grateful for too. For example, while it sucked at the time, I’m grateful for the time I was fat, as it helped motivate me to find a better way to live and become Bulletproof.
Here at The Bulletproof Executive, I am thankful for the ability to share and exchange ideas about how to upgrade your life through biohacking. This is a labor of love, and each time you share your experiences in the Forum, on Facebook or via Twitter – you are enhancing the Bulletproof community. When you share it with friends and loved ones outside the community, even if only through your example, you become an inspiration for someone else.
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to let me know how this work has helped you to lose weight, gain focus, or just be a better person. It keeps me motivated!
May you have a happy, safe & Bulletproof Holiday and New Year!