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              Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans

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Posted by nootrope , 14 February 2012 · 1,475 views

nootropics sleep paleo
I've had a couple of birthdays since I last posted here. 44 years in to my hoped for long life, and still experimenting with "nootropic" improvements to my ways of thinking and feeling.

The basics of my life now: I'm employed as a tenure-track professor. It's a small university and not one as prestigious as those I'd taught at temporarily earlier. Yet it's not only good to be on the track towards job security in these precarious times, but I'm also in a position to make a difference to my students. I feel more of a whole person when I survey my field and interact daily with people instead of research only a narrow specialty. Wish I had more time for my own projects though!

In terms of my health: my schedule and new geography have made it harder to keep going to the gym regularly. I'm not in nearly as good shape I was in before. I'm still muscular but I've gained a modest amount of weight (about 10 pounds). I get nervous when swamped by exams to grade, lectures to prepare, and long-distance research collaborations, and then it's harder to get to sleep.

I'm still on the adaptogens. Ashwagandha, either from Banyan Botanicals, or as sensoril. (I had a Relora (magnolia bark extract) and L-theonine supplement I picked up cheap for a while). Still the usual cordyceps, reishi, schisandra, sometimes ginseng, sometimes ginkgo, sometimes bacopa, etc. Mostly I have in my mind "good stuff that's helped me" and I cycle a large fraction of this into use at any one time. I also try not to get too carried away. I added Royal Jelly at some point to that list of good stuff, following some positive articles in ergo-log.com.

I have a doctor's appointment in a week. Been a while since I had a physical. There are a couple of health issues I have: last summer I nearly choked on a bay leaf (what kind of restaurant puts those in a burrito where you can't see them?) and now, perhaps as a consequence, I have digestion problems (I self-diagnose as GERD). I aso wonder whether I have sleep apnea. Last vacation, I kept falling asleep during the day and then my parents or brother would tell me I was snoring really loudly.

I'm thinking of swinging back a bit towards pisco-vegetarianism and away from the paleo approaches. Instead of supplementing with fish oil, I eat a huge amount of fish: sushi, mussels (cheap, environmentally ok, nutritious), sometimes burritos of packaged salmon nuked with a little parmesean cheese and some leftover greens. While I've drifted from low-fat vegan approaches (not enough B12, amino acids like carnitine and carnosine), I have these problems with paleo (even based on grass-fed beef):
  • Why don't more anthropologists and archaeologists support paleo diets? Most of them who blog on the internet seem to hold the approach in disrepute.
  • In support of paleo, it's said that when hunter-gatherers became agriculturalists, markers of health and lifespan worsened. But some of this was from the repetitive unhealthy means of securing grains (grinding, inhaling flour dust, etc.) in contrast to the cardio exercise of hunting. Some of it was not just from the foods of agriculturalists but from the lack of variety, and often in generations after people adopted a grain-based diet, the health markers improved again, as through trade and wider cultivation a better diet was achieved.
  • Maybe our direct ancestors came out of Africa, but now we're finding near-relative hominids lived throughout Europe and Asia too. Neanderthals didn't just eat meat either: they had both variants for the gene for bitter taste perception of vegetables.
  • I think some "paleo" enthusiasts have a narrow idea of how evolution "optimizes" organisms.

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