My Six Daily Practices For A Healthy Life
Your health really is in your hands, or, like one of the longevity investors, Dmitry Kaminskiy, says in his book, “You are the CEO of your own health”. The choices you make everyday play a huge role in what your body looks and feels like now and how your body will age. It all matters — including how you eat, how you sleep, how you move and how you treat your family, friends and colleagues.
Around me, I can see the health of my friends and family deteriorating day by day due to the effects of chronic diseases. Like nearly everyone, I have lost people because of diseases that could have been diagnosed earlier and then treated accordingly.
My mission is to reduce the time I might potentially spend ill near the end of my life, from years to months or even weeks. In other words, I want to expand my health span. I have developed a deep interest in a diet and lifestyle-based approach to health and longevity and about five years ago I started on my own path of early disease detection and preventive medicine.
I believe that the physical, the psychological and the spiritual make up the whole me. And I try to address all these dimensions in my daily life. As I learn more about the human body and aging, I imagine I will tweak my daily practices, but here is what I do today…
I eat real food, with as little processing as possible, and I practice restricted time eating. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy fats, fish, herbs and spices — relying on simple cooking practices. I add plants to every meal and eat a little or no dairy. I fast for 16–18 hours a day, therefore eating during a 6–8 hour window (a highly proteinated breakfast post morning workout, and my last meal of the day mid afternoon). There is plenty of literature out there on the benefits of intermittent fasting or of restricted time eating.
I build movement into my day. In addition to my weekly HIIT training sessions, yoga sessions and hikes and long nature walks, I make sure I move my body continuously throughout the day. This includes a fast walk in the morning, sitting as little as possible during the day by doing all my calls standing up or moving, listening to emails and articles while on the move and finishing off with an evening walk after an early dinner.
I use alternative therapies, especially extreme-temperature therapies. I use an ice bath at least three times a week (relying on a simple hack, I’ve converted a chest freezer filled with water into my ice bath tub!). I would like to use a sauna too but I don’t have access to one for now. Studies have shown that repetitive mild stress in the form of low and high temperatures has anti-aging effects on cellular and biochemical characteristics of the human body.
I prioritise my sleep — it is not the last activity or task that I squeeze into the end of my day. I cultivate healthy daily habits (get natural sunlight and have my last cup of coffee before 2pm), follow a nightly routine (reduced screen time, meditation and stretching) and optimise my environment (bluelight-blocking glasses and a red light lamp in my bedroom) to get quality sleep.
I turn inwards. I consciously reserve time to slow down, relax my body and quiet my mind — with my go-to practices including meditation and Wim Hof breathing techniques (I can recommend the Wim Hof app, WFM, as an easy guide for your breathing).
I consciously work on my mental presence. Making time for the things that make me happy outside of my day-to-day start-up work helps protect me against burning out and ultimately enables me to be more creative and innovative in what I do. Being actively present in my social interactions and disconnecting from work is something I want to improve. I am still far from perfect when it comes to properly switching off from work calls and emails during the time I spend with my family or time meant for recharging — but it is something that I actively try to work on, and which I need to constantly remind myself of. When I leave the house without my phone on me, I find myself recharging and disconnecting from work — and connecting with the person next to me — in an entirely different way. It’s also often the time I find myself getting the headspace needed to come up with new ideas and approaches.