Habits: A Random Tuesday Morning, and Coffee Routine

Hey there, hi there, ho there. I’m feeling quite chipper this morning and it’s mainly because of caffeine. Thanks coffee!

But it’s not just because of caffeine. It’s also because I’ve been pretty great about taking care of my pre-caffeine morning self.

When I wake up, I have three things in mind: (1) get natural light exposure while avoiding electronic device-generated blue light (2) hydrate and (3) move.

I’ve stolen this routine from Aubrey Marcus. He details a great morning routine in his book “Own the Day” and ever since I’ve adopted his approach, my mornings have been much smoother and I’m much less reactive when under the influence of caffeine.

Why all this talk about coffee? Well, “coffee” is pretty much synonymous with “morning” here on Planet Earth, and you need to be able to healthily harness the power of coffee in order to have a successful work life.

This means instituting a type of pre-coffee ritual that supports a healthy relationship with coffee.

Coffee energizes, which is great, but it also dehydrates and depletes minerals. This is the balance that we have to be most aware of, I think, when crafting a pre-coffee ritual.

In order stay fluid, alert, and non-reactive under the influence of caffeine, try this protocol:

Daily, in the Morning:

(1) Hydrate (water with a sprinkle of sea-salt and a dash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar) and move your body (jumping jacks, push-ups, yoga, pull-ups, etc.)

(2) Breathe deeply in a box pattern for a count of 6 reps.

(3) Expose your eyes and skin to sunlight



(1) Supplement with a bio-available mineral compound like shilajit

(2) Epsom salt soaks for feet or whole-body to restore magnesium levels

Habits: Wednesday Morning Before Work

I wake up at 7:30. It’s dreary in San Francisco and I haven’t seen the sun for some time. I’d like to share the sunrise with the sun but the clouds and drear make it impossible.

I don’t eat. I drink a glass of water out of a pint glass, a vessel that I’m too familiar with. Coffee calls and I grab my books and pack and walk down Folsom and then to 4th Street and on to Peets Coffee Shop where I want nothing but the Medium Roast. Medium to avoid to burnt, dark oils of a dark roast. My brain seems to enjoy the caffeine more.

I’m reading Desert Solitaire this morning before diving into the day. A brief and pleasurable respite that’s sure to draw me back each morning. A pleasure offered to my body as payment for earlier and earlier mornings. A game we, I mean “I”, play.


Effective Methods of Expectorating Congestion without Drugs

I’ve had allergies and asthma issues my whole life, and with those health issues comes some practical problems that a person needs to solve. One of those is expectorating phlegm / mucus / gunk from the lungs.

Just by stumbling around and experimenting for years, I’ve managed to come up with a few methods of clearing phlegm. These don’t require over the counter medication or drugs.

Caveat: these work for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean these exercises/ideas are right for you.

  • Deep breathing sets a la the Wim Hoff Method with periods of breath holding with full lungs and with empty lungs
  • A good long run followed by water with cayenne pepper, lemon juice and cane sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • Peppermint tea with deep breaths and long breath holds, followed my forceful coughing
  • Take a hot, steamy shower, and plug the tub so that water doesn’t get out. Drop essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint into the tub and breath deeply. Don’t do breath-holds near water without supervision.
  • Sprints. Practice holding your breath afterwards.
  • Honeyed red wine (my favorite red wine is Montes Alpha Pinot Noir 2015) with cayenne pepper. Practice deep breaths and breath holding.
  • Smoke some good clean marijuana and practice deep breaths and breath holds. For whatever reason, I tend to practice these breath holds more when I smoke. I’m not sure why. This is highly anecdotal, of course, but I tend to do a better job cleaning out my lungs when I smoke marijuana. Or maybe I’m just creating easy-to-expectorate phlegm with the smoking. Either way, I feel productive at my goal.

Combine any or all of these methods together for a potentially effective expectoration session and get that nasty phlegm out of your lungs so that you can breath in more good gas and generate more power.

“Beer” is never just “Beer”, and “Marijuana” is never just “Marijuana”

I was talking with my Mom and Dad late one evening, watching the sun go down over the mountains as we enjoyed our final night together at the cabin they had rented in Clayton, GA. We were talking about marijuana.

Now you should know that I appreciate marijuana. I love marijuana like I love food. It’s been a tool that’s allowed me to become much more empathetic and self-conscious of the way I impact other people.  I’ve used it as a nootropic to expand my understanding of the things going on around me.

So you know what side of the argument I’m on. But my Mother…

My mother has had uncomfortable experiences with the drug. The very few times she’s tried it (college) made her feel anxious. So she takes an anti-marijuana approach, and I – very, very respectfully – think she’s wrong.

I think she is wrong because she’s making a snap judgement on a small personal sample size, influenced by mass media. I – on the other hand – am blessed with an experimental disposition (thanks Mom and Dad!), and a more informed perspective. My perspective is informed by my experience in the craft beer industry, where I understand that “beer” is never just “beer”, and “alcohol” is never just “alcohol”.

For example, I know how it is to feel horrendous after drinking two month old imperial IPAs from Florida, but also how it is to feel amazing after a couple of pale ales imported fresh from California. Within the category of “craft beer”, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of differences between products.

Would you take an anti-alcohol stance on alcohol if you don’t like tequila? Maybe tequila doesn’t treat you well, but you like wine, or beer, or vodka, or Mike’s Hard Lemonade. “Alcohol” is not just “alcohol”. Alcohol is beer, wine, spirits, mead, saki, etc. Alcohol is a HUGE umbrella term for many, many products.

Now within each of those groups of beer, wine, spirits, mead, and saki there is a even more differentiation… Let’s just look at beer.

Beer can be divided into (1) ales and (2) lagers and then again into pale ales, IPAs, stouts, porters, pilsners, golden lagers, etc. etc. Each of these things are a biologically active and unique alcoholic product. They can affect each human differently.

Even within each style there is differences in quality. Some brewers are better than others. Sometimes there are production mistakes. Sometimes the beer sits on the shelf too long and when you drink it it tastes terrible so you say “this style of beer sucks” but maybe you didn’t know that you shouldn’t drink an IPA if it’s 4 months old but the proprietor of the bottle shop left the beer on the shelf anyways.

Do you see what I mean? “Alcohol” is not just alcohol. There is an insane amount of differentiation that exists under the “alcohol” umbrella.

This is the essence of what people don’t understand about marijuana. “Marijuana” is not just marijuana.

FIRST you have the classic separation of indica and sativa.

THEN, within each of those classifications, you have a huge variety of different genotypes, pure strains, hybridized strains, etc, etc.

THEN you have to think about the quality of the supply chain when the commodity is mostly illegal and unregulated. When was that marijuana processed? How clean was the processing? Who grew it? Did they use pesticides? How old is the weed? Is there market competition that allows better quality producers to rise to the top of the food chain like in beer and wine?

THEN you have to think about your method of consumption, because they can be wildley different highs: bowl, joint, bong, vaporizer, edible… the list goes on.

You see, like craft beer, Marijuana is pretty complicated. “Marijuana” is not simply marijuana. There’s a ton of differentiation and with each of those differences comes a different physiological affect on the human body. You might get the giggles and laugh all night with your friend because you guys scored a fresh hybrid, OR you might huddle into a corner and bite your finger nails because you smoked an old, moldy strain of indica. You might go give a hug to all your friends because you found a strain that makes you incredibly empathetic, OR you might build a tin-foil hat to keep the government out of your head because you’re getting ultra-anxious-high off of a strain that was genetically modified to be far. too. strong.

So before you make a snap-judgement about a burgeoning industry that could save our government loads of money, keep people out of jail, and cut the legs out from under illegal cartels, think about this: Marijuana is not marijuana. You’re scared of it because you don’t understand it. And you don’t understand it because it’s ILLEGAL, and you’ve had no chance to understand it, and the market has had no chance to educate it’s customers.

In summation, I respectfully request that you reconsider your position. Examine the facts, and let go of the emotional reaction. Let go of the heard mentality and think for yourself.

Invention: Understanding Beer Keg Density via Vibration Motor

I used to work for a start-up called BREWPUBLIK. The company primarily manages kegerators and delivers kegs for enterprise clients in San Francisco, Charlotte NC, Raleigh NC, and Charleston SC.

One of the biggest problems the company dealt with is understanding keg levels. We needed to know how fast kegs were being consumed so that we could put in orders so that we could get fresh kegs in a kegerator without any interruption in service.

There are two main methods out there for measuring velocity of keg consumption: (1) you can attach a flow meter and have the flow meter transmit the volume of liquid flowing out of the keg or (2) you can put the keg on a wireless scale.

#1 is inconsistent and frequently breaks (or so I’m told ) and costs about $55-70 per unit, #2 is prohibitively expensive at $100 – $200 per unit.

Inspired by the old fashioned method for knocking on a hard surface and listening, I’ve devised a keg density measurement tool that would theoretical run off of a $1.50 vibration motor. With the expense of the rest of the parts, I’m hoping this device can hit the $25-35 price range:

The vibration motor vibrates every hour in an insulated rubber cone sealed on to the metal keg, a recording device “listens” to the tone, passes the audio data through the electronics board (I’m imagining a raspberry pi or an arduino board) and then transmits the data wirelessly to a simple algorithm that matches tone to keg density.

Seems to me to be a viable option. Do you think it would work? Why or why not?

Acupuncture and it’s Dependence on Circadian Biology, Grounding, and Morning Sun Exposure

Eastern Medicine Traditions –  like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda – offer Western Doctors and Researchers a useful template for understanding detailed Western Research in the context of the whole body.

Acupuncture is one of the most well-known Eastern Medicine Practices used in the Western World. I have deep respect for acupuncture, and I think it offers modern patients some useful tools for fixing modern ailments. But I do believe that acupuncture without the X factor is worthless. I’ll explain why I think this, and what the “X” factor is, but first let me introduce you to Dr. Jack Kruse…

Dr. Jack Kruse is becoming notorious for his I-give-no-fucks attitude and propagation of circadian biology as the leading link in health. He is leading the circadian charge in the face of the popularized Paleo food gurus, vegans, and other food gurus who have helped spread the idea that food matters. The food gurus brought their online communities to the understanding that food matters – and it does – but Jack Kruse is shaking the trees with his proposal that food details do not matter as much as we think they do, as long as your biology is properly coupled with the natural light cycles of the planet.

What does this have to do with Acupuncture? Everything!

Dr. Kruse speaks about a DC electric current created in the body when (1) DHA intake from seafood is high, (2) the body views the sunrise regularly (3) the body is connected to the earth and (4) when the body occasionally endures coldness. “The Body Electric” is a great place to start if you are not caught up on the idea of an electrical body.

Acupuncture functions on a similar electrical plane in the management of an electric life force called “qi.” I believe this “qi” to be the DC electric current that Dr. Jack Kruse speaks of. This current is a type of magnetic energy received through the earth in cooperation with the sun that – above all – supports the production of ATP from the mitochondria

Therefore, I believe Acupuncture to be completely dependent on properly function circadian rhythm. This is the “X” factor. The math looks like this, measured on a scale of No Success -> Success!!!

Acupuncture = No success

Acupuncture + Morning Sun Exposure = Success

Acupuncture + Morning Sun Exposure + Grounding = Success!

Acupuncture + Morning Sun Exposure + Seafood = Success!

Acupuncture + Morning Sun Exposure + Grounding + Seafood + = Success!!

Acupuncture + Morning Sun Exposure + Grounding + Seafood + Cold Exposure = Success!!!

For acupuncture to work effectively, you must have a biological, electric current for the practice to manipulate.

To create the current, you need the connection to the electrical sources in our environment: the earth and sun. I think you must live your mornings waking up when the sun rises, and your evenings turning out the blue lights when the sun goes down. I think you need to eat seafood and go barefoot near the ocean, in the park or in your backyard. Do these things, let these things change your life, and then if you still deal with chronic illness, I believe you may receive incredible results from acupuncture.

Zinc and It’s Role in Stomach Acidity & Digestion

Low stomach acid? Wondering why people keep recommending zinc supplements? I think I understand the mechanism by which zinc increases stomach acid levels, but it’s not as simple as “supplement zinc, increase stomach acid levels.” Here is my proposed mechanism:

Abstract: Low Zinc correlates with low levels of stomach acid and poor nutrient assimilation because of this low stomach acid level. I believe Zinc is the primary catalyst that pumps protons via the release of hydrogen from chloride in a reaction with hydrochloric acid .

Preface: Acid is the presence of protons in the absence of a neutralizing base. For the purpose of digesting and assimilating nutrients, an acidic environment is desired in the stomach. It is commonly accepted medical knowledge that this acidic environment is created by hydrochloric acid, or H-Cl, when a hydrogen proton is released from it’s unstable bond with Chloride.

Proposal: Zinc functions as a catalyst for this H-Cl reaction in the stomach. In the presence of zinc, hydrogen will be quickly released from it’s bond with Chloride, releasing protons into the stomach environment and helping to breakdown nutrients. See this youtube video demonstrating the reaction of Zinc with hydrochloric acid. I believe that there are proton-pumping sites in the stomach, occurring in the stomach lining in specific points where a protein matrix holds zinc ions in the fabric of the stomach for the purpose of reacting with hydrochloric acid, also secreted from the stomach lining.

Or perhaps the pancreas is responsible for the pumping of a zinc-containing enzyme into the stomach for the purpose of reacting with the hydrochloric acid pumped from the stomach lining.

Either way, the acidic environment is created from the mixing of zinc enzymes with hydrochloric acid, creating a very acidic solution for the digestion of nutrients.

Drinking and Hangovers, the Original n=1 Experiment

I’ve been drinking craft beer for the better part of 4 years (it’s part of my day-job, afterall) and it’s taken me up to this point to really understand the why’s and how’s behind craft beer hangovers. Through these 4 years of experimentation, I’ve learned that it’s not as simple as “hydrate,” “drink less alcohol,” and “take your b-vitamins.”

So in an altruistic effort to help my fellow man drink craft and avoid hangovers, I’ve decided to put on paper and share my operating system for craft beer, and how I optimized my craft beer drinking for minimum hangovers and maximum fun.


Hangovers are, in my opinion, craft beer’s biggest problem. The inexperienced public is completely uneducated about craft beer alcohol content, ingredients, brewing methods and everything-that-can-go-wrong in making, transporting, selling, storing, and drinking beer.

Lack of knowledge about craft beer is forgivable. Craft beer as we drink it is very new. We’re used to watered down, low ABV (alcohol by volume) light beers that are often made with rice and corn instead of malt. We consume in those beers cheap hops rather than potent, fresh and expensive hops. And the yeast strains used are often weak, water-down yeast strains that are recycled over and over and over again to minimize brewing expense. The name of the game is “cheap” all while maintaining a specific flavor for years on end.

Craft beer, on the other hand, can pack both a drunk punch, and an unexpected dietary load of robust yeast strains, fresher and more potent hops, malt, and more exotic chemistry soups created by potent yeast and grain involved in fermentation. The average supermarket craft beer can range anywhere from 5% to 8%, vs. 3.5-5% for domestic lagers, and contain a much greater range of chemical features that will impact hangovers in a way a can of Miller Lite won’t.

There are a lot of variables to keep track of. Here are the high-level categories I keep in mind when selecting beer: BREWING, AGE, STORAGE & SUPPLY CHAIN. Or, BASS, for short.

  1. BREWING PROCESS – The location and water supply, brewing process, and ingredients (skill of brewer, quality of ingredients, brewing process, style of beer, etc.). You want good water supply, preferably fresh from a powerful natural filtration system (as example: mountain range-fed natural spring system).
  2. AGE – How old is the beer? Fresher is almost always better unless we are speaking of ageable beers like imperial stouts or sours. Was the beer brewed yesterday? One week ago? One month ago? Three months ago?
  3. STORAGE & SUPPLY CHAIN – Was the beer properly refrigerated and stored? Was it properly stored even before it came into your possession? Was it exposed to sunlight? Were there large temperature fluctuations in the storage area? Are you getting the beer close to the source? Are you getting the beer from a restaurant or bar that regularly cleans their lines?

All of these things can easily affect a beer and transform a beer from enjoyable and hang-over free to OUCH! ANGRY! HANGOVER! RAR!

Your personal biology plays a big role too! Some of you out there can crush Dogfish Head 120 Minute all day, no problem. Others are less lucky. There are TONS of considerations here and each person who wants to enjoy craft beer is responsible for figuring this mess out for their own biology.


Over time I’ve developed a beer-drinking formula to minimize hangovers and MAXIMIZE FUN. Here are some notes from my beer-drinking operating system:

  • I drink fresh beer. I always check canned/bottled-on dates. Young fresh beer, for the most part, is going to yield less hangover potential. Take away: Check dates, drink fresh beer.
  • When I drink draft beer, I ask when the keg was tapped and when the lines were cleaned. Dirty beer draft lines can contain gross accumulation of stuff that I don’t want to consume. Take away: be that guy at the bar. Ask when they cleaned their lines.
  • I only drink Ales. Lagers crush me for whatever reason. I’m not entirely sure why. It has something to do with the yeast used and the metabolites of ale yeast vs. lager yeast. Take away: you might respond differently to Ales vs. Lagers. Test it out.
  • I avoid malty, carbonated beers with low hops.  I consistently feel terrible when drinking amber ales and golden ales, but weirdly enough I do fine on very high ABV beers with low carbonation like Imperial Stouts and Imperial Porters, so I don’t think it’s necessarily the sugar content. I think it’s the sugar content without the preservative power of  hops and/or alcohol, and I also think there is a possibility that something funky is going on with my bodies reaction to carbonated beverages. Another data point: la croix gives me headaches. Take away: hops and alcohol preserve beer, so counterintuitively these ingredients may actually help you avoid hangovers brought on by spoiled beer, as long as you don’t consume too much alcohol. Test it out.
  • I avoid sours. Sour beers are ales fermented with bacteria, usually lactobacillus. Something about the bacteria and/or the metabolites of the bacteria mess my head up. Take away: Sours might be an issue. Test it out.
  • West-Coast style IPAs tend to have less malt and more citrusy hops. Whether it’s the water sources in California, the hops, the malt, the yeast… whatever it is, I tend to have less hangovers with West-Coast style Pale Ales and IPAs; beers that are brewed on the West Coast. BUT I spend time on the East Coast, so the supply chain has more opportunities to mess up the storage of these beers and lead to a tainted product. Take away: find some breweries and cities that you trust, and stick with them! Beer consistently comes from cities with good water supply. I’m a fan of San Francisco-brewed beer because I’ve found I can drink more of it without hangovers. Research your beer! Know where it’s coming from and the quality of the ingredients.

This all boils down to a couple of style preferences that guide all of my beer buying decisions in an effort to feel great and keep the good times rolling with friends:

  • Fresh, West Coast-style Pales and IPAs from Breweries with good fresh water supply
  • Imperial Stouts from Breweries with good fresh water supply
  • And when trying out new beers, I keep BASS in mind and ask questions until I’m ready to test. BREWING PROCESS, AGE, STORAGE & SUPPLY CHAIN!

What are your preferences? Do you have a craft beer drinking operating model? I’d love to know how you avoid hangovers.


Why Light Matters in Your Life, And How E=mc2 Works

Hi there. Thanks for taking a few minute to read some thoughts I’ve put together on light. It’s a hot-button topic in health these days with people on both sides of the aisle screaming at each other. I’m in the camp of “light really matters”, but I hope to provide a non-combative, scientifically-driven approach to this question: does light matter, and is blue light disrupting our biology? Thoughts, questions and comments are encouraged, but please keep an open mind while you read 🙂

(Inspired by Dr. Jack Kruse’s Nourish Vermont 2017 Speech)

Einstein’s theory of relativity: E=mc2. This statement means that energy is equal to mass. The only difference is the light environment. This same idea can also be restated as the Mass-Energy Equivalence. Wiki here.

“Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” On the most basic level, the equation says that energy and mass (matter) are interchangeable; they are different forms of the same thing. Under the right conditions, energy can become mass, and vice versa.” – pbs.org

Let’s consider the environment on Earth, this green and blue ball that we all hang out and make babies on. Here, light is bent and slowed down in a uniquely Earthy way that allows organic compounds to harvest the light energy. Light is bent and slowed down by the atmospheric gases and gravity, bent and slowed down by natural features – everything from mountains to water to sand – and bent and slowed down by the organic features of the planet such as plants and animals.


  • Plants and animals absorbing energy = “bent and slowed down”
  • Water absorbing sunlight energy, becoming warmer = “bent and slowed down”

Plants and animals both absorb light energy; we see examples of this in photosynthesis in plants and vitamin D production from cholesterol in humans (and some other mammals). That light energy slows down as it enters the organism and performs work; like a boat catching wind in it’s sales to propel the vessel.

Speaking specifically for humans, and to restate the idea, our biological system is evolved to perform biological processes, like producing energy from fat tissue, distilling glucose into storable energy like glycogen, and like growing muscle, bone, organ, hair, other tissue, and braincells. These processes are driven by an orchestra of functions like eating, breathing, walking, running, etc. The maestro of all these processes is the Sun. We wake up when the sun comes up, we eat while the sun is up, we go to sleep when the sun goes down, we repair tissue while sleeping and while the sun is down.

From an evolutionary perspective, humans have always operated with the sun. We’ve never had a need to “unconsider” any light source, because here has always only been the sun, moon and stars. But now there are computers, laptops, cellphones, LEDS and more. Now there are many small suns projecting a blue-light spectrum all while our Master Clock, Maestro, and Energy King, the Sun, filled with a rainbow of light spectrums, continues it’s path – sometimes completely ignored by our night shift jobs and indoor living – across the sky day-in and day-out.

Consider the human eye. Eyes see light. We can only see when there is light. No light, no sight.  Light is absorbed through the eyes, where the light is bent and refracted and distilled into a signal to pass to the brain via the optic nerve. The optic nerve is directly connected to the Suprachaismatic Nucleus (SCN), “a tiny region of the brain in the hypothalamus, situated directly above the optic chiasm. It is responsible for controlling circadian rhythms.” – wiki.

DISTILLATION: Eyes absorb light to create images that we “see” and signals to the hypothalamus the time of day so that the circadian rhythm can control biological processes like waking, growing, eating and sleeping.

So why all the fuss about blue light? Living and relying on a modern-day light environment is like going out into the ocean to surf a single wave, and then finding that there are small swells coming from shore, and from the left, and from the right, and from above and below, all while you are trying to surf the main swell coming perpendicularly towards the beach. It’s choppy water out there and it’s almost impossible to ride a decent wave.

But in our day-to-day we aren’t surfing, we are performing the biological processes of our life: the growth of muscle and bone, the production of energy from food, the transformation of fats into hormones, the creation of the very neurotransmitters that make us feel happy, sad or indifferent… these things are driven primarily, above all, by the Sun as the light is passed through the eye, to the Suprachiasmatic Nucleaus that controls circadian rhythm.

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM: “Circadian rhythms allow organisms to anticipate and prepare for precise and regular environmental changes. They thus enable organisms to best capitalize on environmental resources (e.g. light and food) compared to those that cannot predict such availability. It has therefore been suggested that circadian rhythms put organisms at a selective advantage in evolutionary terms. However, rhythmicity appears to be as important in regulating and coordinating internal metabolic processes, as in coordinating with the environment” – wiki

Yes, food matters, exercise matters, breathing matters, posture matters… but all of these things are members of a biological orchestra controlled  by the Sun

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity states that E=mc2. Energy and mass are the exact same thing, but for the light environment. Human’s are bundles of energy, but our energy takes shape as mass determined by the light environment we live in.

Has this changed your perspective of light in your daily life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!