I have launched a new platform and I’d love it if you’d join me there.
New blog posts and a (free!) comprehensive health assessment.
I first learned about Toxin Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) from Dr John Cline, Matthew’s Functional Medicine Doctor.
TILT made sense because it describes a tipping point: how toxins accumulate in our bodies until our tolerance is compromised and we tip from an equilibrium of health into an equilibrium of illness.
As Dr Cline explains, “when our bodies accumulate enough toxins, often in combination with stressful life events, a tilt occurs, and our health then deteriorates rapidly in many ways”.
The idea behind TILT is that many chronic illnesses, as well as environmental sensitivities, originate in an accumulation of toxins in our bodies over time. At some point in this accumulation, susceptible individuals tip over into poor health. Continue reading
When he took disability leave at the end of 2013 we thought he’d never work again.
At that time, he was taking 6-8 hydromorphone painkillers a day, as well as a high dose of Methotrexate by injection weekly.
He had developed severe and disabling nausea that no one could diagnose.
Now, the pain and nausea are manageable and he is medication-free, except for a few Tylenol Arthritis a week.
That sounds dramatic, and it is, but there were many times during the past 28 months when his health didn’t seem to be improving at all. And times when it was definitely getting worse rather than better.
But all of his autoimmune symptoms have gradually improved, and he is now in better health than he has been in eight years.
We honestly weren’t sure how the back-to-work experiment would go.
When he initiated it, he was partially bluffing. Continue reading
We didn’t know we were measuring his recovery, because his health hadn’t started to improve yet.
Research and evaluation are part of my trade, and Matthew has a background in Continuous Quality Improvement, so when we’re in doubt: we measure!
And we were in a lot of doubt.
Measurement can seem superfluous when you are really close to your experience.
Especially if the numbers don’t change from day to day.
Or if they swing around wildly for no obvious reason.
But if you stick with it, measurement can be incredibly useful as a way to discern trends and track progress over time. In fact, measurement can be a way to begin the process of recovery. Continue reading
And we manage it all the time.
Consciously or unconsciously.
Systematically or erratically.
When you take responsibility for your health, you start making your own risk management decisions. Whether you are aware of it or not.
If you let a doctor take the lead on your health decisions, they assess risk for you.
Doctors are always weighing the potential benefits of a particular treatment against the potential risks. That is part of what we ask them to do, as medical experts.
You don’t need to be a medical expert to know how to manage risks relating to the interventions you undertake to improve your health.
You just need to be systematic. I’ll tell you how!
When we take responsibility for our health by engaging in nutritional and lifestyle interventions, we can manage risk for the actions we decide to take. And the actions we decide not to take.
Because there can be risk in inaction, too.
We can also consider risk when deciding whether to include (or exclude) pharmaceutical or other therapies as part of our health management strategy.
Start the process by asking the following questions: Continue reading
There’s nothing like a serious chronic illness to help re-set priorities. And we’re clear: our priorities lie with supporting others in their efforts to heal.
Matthew and I are developing a new platform that will offer individualized support for people who are taking personal responsibility for their health.
We’ve been working on this platform since the summer and we’ll be launching it soon.
The new site will be based on the idea that when it comes to health and healing, we are all unique. It’s the variations in our health status, goals, environment and genetic expression that determine the individualized pattern of living that will best support our well-being.
Eventually, once all the phases are rolled out, the new site will support the process of figuring all that out.
Five months later we are feeling optimistic.
The symptom: debilitating nausea with no apparent cause.
The nausea first occurred in October 2013 after an autumn feast of chanterelle mushrooms I had picked.
It happened again when we ate chanterelles a second time that month.
And then just kept recurring. And getting worse. Until it gradually became Matthew’s most problematic symptom.
In fact, it was the severe nausea that finally prompted Matthew to take the leap and commit to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).
After a few test runs, we both committed to the AIP long-term in December of 2013. Almost immediately, Matthew moved to an even more restrictive low-FODMAP version of the protocol to reduce his nausea.
But Matthew’s nausea kept getting worse. Continue reading
That tell you if you’re on track.
Or if you might want to adjust course.
They communicate about the status of something you care about.
Like your health.
The place you can step into.
Your zone of possibility.
Your zone of proximal development is the space just outside your current capacity that you can reach if you have the right support.
Last year I suggested that biohacking is the ultimate new years resolution.
Because as long as you stick to biohacking principles, you can’t fail. If you fall off your program, you can turn your attention to that and start hacking your will-power, or adjusting your goals, or fine-tuning the strategies you are using to achieve them.
But why do we fail when we set self-improvement goals?
Zone of proximal development theory suggests there are 2 reasons:
To find your goal-achievement sweet spot you need to:
If your supports are adequate, you should be good to go!
By moving into your zone, chances are you’re expanding it, thereby increasing the likelihood that more ambitious goals will eventually end up inside your zone, too.
The zone of proximal development, or ZPD, is my #2 parenting strategy of all time.
I’ve been a parent for 60% of my life and in that time I’ve tried a lot of things. Consistently, ZPD enables me to do my best work as a parent.
Developed by Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky in the 1920s & 30s, ZPD was lost for decades before it resurfaced near the end of the 20th century.
Vygotsky hypothesized that humans are hard-wired to learn certain things.
Put any child in a environment full of speech and affection, and barring a significant cognitive disability, they will learn to speak fluently.
Nobody has to create a structure for that to occur.
But if we want to learn things that we aren’t necessarily hard-wired for, we need appropriate supports.
Vygotsky suggested that to help develop certain skills and capacities, we need to first determine the scope of an individual’s zone of proximal development and then create customized supports to help them to grow into that potential.
Later theorists referred to these supports as scaffolding.
Both the ZPD and the required scaffolding are unique to each of us.
So, in the biohacking context, not only are we taking bioindividuality into consideration, which includes our particular health status and our environment, but also our ZPD and the supports that are effective for each of us as individuals. Those are the dimensions of n=1 experimentation.
Sound like a lot to sort out?
It is, but each of these elements can be simplified considerably by approaching the n=1 project in a systematic way. And if you put your energy into discerning what these dimensions are for you, rather than copying what someone else is doing or pursuing goals in a haphazard way, you’ll find yourself way ahead.
In fact, taking time to plan using ZPD is an excellent way to successfully move through the contemplative stage of change.
According to ZPD theory, part of designing the appropriate scaffolding to support the development of an individual involves:
These factors not only effect the design of effective scaffolding to support change, but also effect the size of the ZPD.
Vygotsky also believed that the ZPD of many people was larger when they were in a supportive social context than when they were alone, and that social networks can act as scaffolding for growth.
All of this is one reason why I endorse Angie Alt’s SAD to AIP in 6 every time she offers it.
SAD to AIP in 6 provides appropriate scaffolding in a supported and social context to make the transition to the AIP possible.
It’s not a song. It’s just full of the same zeal that some people feel for their country. Or for hockey.
I get it from a sense of kinship & unity with all the people who are expanding our collective conception of health and well-being through personal inquiry.
Here’s my anthem:
We are n=1 nation.
We know that bioindividuality is the frontier of health and well-being.
And that the outer reaches of human capacity have barely been explored~.
We are aware that each of us has to fine-tune our own pattern of living through individualized experimentation.
And that by doing so we can influence how our genes are expressed.
We are n=1 nation.
We revere the teachings of the ancients. And the patterns of living codified over millennia by our ancestors.
And we respect the quantum.
We believe in using the latest technology to measure results. And in using that information to inform personalized adaptation.
We accept that mainstream medicine is based on dated science and 20th century strategies.
But we don’t assume that one path is right for everyone.
Instead, we believe in gathering data. And sharing what we find with each other.
We assume that everyone can improve the quality of their life through using evidence from their own n=1 experiments.
We are biohackers~.
We are exploring new ways to reverse ‘uncurable’ illnesses. To reach states of peak experience and peak performance that in previous generations were only available to the elite.
We are ordinary people. Doing extraordinary things.
That humans were designed to do~.
We are n=1 nation.
We are reprogramming our brains. To reduce the limitations of trauma. And mitigate (and even invert) the effects of aging.
We are spreading the healing (because healing spreads) from each of us to others. From us to the planet. Because we are all connected.
As people have done since the beginning of time, we are finding out what it really means to be human. Accelerated~.
To meet the challenges that lie ahead.
To express our genetic destiny.
To evolve ~fully~ as a species.
We are n=1 nation.
And you are welcome here~
Everyone is welcome here.