Nutritional Biohacking for Peak Experience

happy faceAfter 2 years of refining my pattern of paleo living, I now seem to be in a state of peak experience ~of connectedness, energy & good humoured devotion~ much of the time.

Peak experiences are mini enlightenment occurrences that happen infrequently for most of us. But many people can identify one or two, if not as adults, then from childhood.

Before social conditioning & crappy food interfered.

Few of us reach enlightenment, but we get an occasional taste (or perhaps it’s a reminder) of an enlightened state, through fleeting peak experiences.

Peak experiences often happen during seemingly inconsequential moments:

  • Suddenly noticing sunlight shining through leaves and being overcome by a transcendent moment of affiliation and awe;Maslow
  • Playing soccer and being wholly and completely at one with everything, including the ball, the grass and the opposing team;
  • Listening to music while driving and suddenly, profoundly, understanding forever ~ or just for that moment, and what’s the difference between the two, anyway~ the perfection of everything.

Peak experiences are ephemeral. They briefly bring us out of ourselves and at the same time illuminate our true nature.

In Buddhist philosophy, achieving a state of frequent or ongoing peak experience might be called Satori, an early step on the path toward nirvana.

Peak experiences have also been linked to self-actualization in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:Maslows Hierarchy 2

I seem to have biohacked my way in to a state of frequent, sometimes almost continual, peak experience. Honestly, I almost want to print up some inspirational pamphlets & start going door to door, because I have not only seen the light, but I’m now living in it most of the time.

The funny thing is that Buddhists suggest that it takes years of devoted mediation to reach such a state. My sassy paleolithic response: maybe only if you insist on vegetarianism!

Along with an experience of Satori, in which I am in peak experience for prolonged periods daily, I am also regularly experiencing what Csikszentmihaly calls ‘flow’.

Flow is the state in which one becomes fully immersed in an endeavour. Self-consciousness fades and is supplanted by an experience of unity with that activity. When in flow, time flies, or becomes bendable, and capacities, including focus, are honed.

It’s a state of perfection.

Nutritional Biohacking for Peak Experience

Accessing Peak Experiences through nutrition makes sense from a Maslow’s Hierarchy point of view.

According to Maslow’s model, you need solid nutrition in order to access the higher levels of actualization, so why not, for efficiencies sake, use nutrition and other foundational levels (water, sleep, sex) in the hierarchy to leverage peak experiences?

Eileen at Phoenix Helix reminds us that nutritional experiments are ultimately n=1, meaning that each one of us is unique and we each need to experiment to find what will work for us.

After 2 years of experimenting, here’s my current regime:

As I’m an introvert, you needn’t worry, I will never knock on your door with an inspirational pamphlet.

But I will keep experimenting. And I will keep writing about my experiments and my experiences.

So consider yourself pamphleted.

30 thoughts on “Nutritional Biohacking for Peak Experience

  1. Awesome! I always enjoy reading your posts Petra. I’m with you and Maslow and strongly believe food is essential to achieve “peak experience”. It’s amazing how much happier, generous and ambitious I feel when my diet is dialled in. It’s totally worth forgoing the processed food that is so pervasive throughout society to feel consistently so good!

    • I know! Increased generosity & ambition: just think of the implications of those two states for individuals & communities. I want to write a post at some point about what being the state flow is doing for my career. It’s fascinating that feeling this way is possible but that people remain determine to eat SAD food…

  2. Hey Petra, always enjoy reading your latest and trying whatever new recipes you post. Curious, what enzymes do you fancy? I’ve been on a variety my whole life and have just experienced freedom when I’m on a low fodmap anti nightshade Paleo.

    • I vary my digestive enzymes, but ‘Udo’s Choice’ brand is my go-to because it works well for me & isn’t prohibitively expensive. The FODMAPs are interesting, hey? But hard to get nutrient density in the long-term while keeping them out. Matthew does better without them, too, but is currently including them for nutrient density.

  3. Thank you Petra, you inspire me. I’m aiming for peak experience, the main link in the pyramid missing for me is ‘health’. I have been following your Wahls PP posts and experimenting with which formula works for me. I’m hoping that over time I can reach a space where my autoimmune symptoms and I can live in harmony!! Your posts keep me motivated, thank you.

    • Thank you for your comment, Zoe. I stated with a tremendous advantage, as my body was not in autoimmune response. Way back at the beginning I had a fair bit of inflammation but that simmered down pretty quick (6 months). My husband has tenacious autoimmune stuff going on and I know that it’s way more complex for him. I appreciate your goal of finding a way that your autoimmune symptoms and you can live in harmony. I’d love to hear about your progress.

  4. Thanks for a very encouraging post. I’ve had glimpses of peak experiences and they are so beautiful. I’ve felt lured by those fleeting glimpses into examining my life style and diet. I have RRMS and although I don’t present outwardly, it’s been 13 years since my diagnosis and I feel it now every day. I’ve been low carb for 12 years and I’m currently reading Dr. Wahl’s Protocol. It’s baby steps for me, starting with adding more coconut oil and introducing offal meats. I’ve had organic beef liver twice in the last month which was not as easy as I thought it would be. Thanks again for posting this.

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  6. Unfortunately, I’m an extrovert and it’s all I can do to shut up about how fabulous a truly ideal diet etc. can make a person feel. Imagine a world where people are in hum mode all the time. I hope it happens in my lifetime. Love your posts!

  7. I love this post and I’m really happy for you. I wonder if Ig and Gesell’s ( I think they were the tones, but this is trying to remember something from 40-odd years ago!) theory of phases of phases of equilibrium and dis-equilibrium (in kids but I think it applies to adults as well) may play into it as well. If so, you should be in for a nice long period of peak life. Hope so . Actually, I hope you just stay there!

  8. Hey Petra – another great post! So happy you have found your flow! I’m (finally) back on track with the AIP down here but – have to say – the elusive flow has yet to happen here. Will keep experimenting and looking here for motivation!

    • It’s super elusive! Part of me was all superstitious thinking ‘if I write about this in a post, will it disappear?’ But it didn’t. Or it hasn’t so far. Glad to hear you are back on the AIP!

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  11. Petra, Would you mind sharing which digestive enzymes you take before meals. I am going from strength to strength on WPP (finally a reduction in fatigue!!!) but I really feel like my digestion is sluggish. I eat homemade sauerkraut every day and drink a good amount of water, lightly steam the tougher veg (broccoli, kale) etc. but food sits like a stone in my stomach. Even small amounts. This is definitely the next step to address in my own nutritional experiment!

    • I’m happy that you are experiencing some improvement! I take Udo’s Choice brand digestive enzymes. They seem to work for me & aren’t too expensive. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been taking them with a small glass of water with a glug of Apple Cider Vinegar in it before each meal.

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