All posts by joe

Stay Healthy Cape Town

Don’t eat bats!

I made a few notes to help you prepare for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Probably most useful for people in and around Cape Town. tl;dr stay healthy, keep your immune system strong, sleep well.

I’d strongly suggest you don’t have the attitude of “let’s just get the disease and get it over with”. You will probably still end up with lung damage. Watch this video. Covid19 seems to destroy the cells that make Surfactant in the lungs. Surfactant is a lipoprotein molecule that reduces the force of surface tension from water molecules on the lung tissue and helps the lungs inflate and deflate properly without the possibility of collapse from surface tension.

Let’s all agree it’s a very bad idea to go to hospital at this point in time if you don’t have to. Stay healthy.


  • Health supplements: Listen to this podcast. Then get: Allicin (garlic extract), Astragalus, Mushroom cocktail (Shiitake, Reishi etc), VitD3 (5000iu), VitC, Zinc. None of these will work magic, but you want your immune system to be in good shape. You can find these at places like Wellness Warehouse. See photo above.
  • Vitamin D3: As people will be spending more time indoors they may not be making as much vitamin D in their skin from sun exposure. “A meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials found conducted in 14 countries found that vitamin D supplementation cut the risk of infection with respiratory illnesses by 50% in people that were vitamin D deficient and by 10% in people with normal vitamin D levels.” Make sure you get the 5000iu one – often not in the usual shelf area – have to ask for it. You want to take around 4000iu per day.
  • Also stock up on things like ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper shots
  • FFP2 masks, very close to N95 (more like N94 as in 94%)
  • Goggles / glasses to remind you not to touch your eyes
  • Thermometer
  • Sleep well
  • Scrub your hands well with soap, after touching anything outside your home
  • Keep a daily routine, stretch / mobility routine, walk, get some sun
  • Limit alcohol consumption

Lastly, seek medical advice if you feel short of breath and lose your sense of smell.

Cholesterol Hacking

Some notes on cholesterol hacking.

I did a last minute Vitality test last week. Cholesterol score under 5 again.

Total: 4.9
DHL: 1.51 (last test 1.21)
Tri: 1.48
LDL 2.2 mmol/L (last test 2.95) Under 2.6 is considered good it seems.

I did a one week hack of: macadamia oil, brazil nuts, high dose vit-c + lysine, niacin (the real deal, not that no-flush bs), aspirin and some collagen. I don’t claim to understand the science or which of these really have the most impact. I suspect a diet high in mono-unsaturated fat causes the liver to down regulate LDL.

If you have the time, go nerd out here:

This guy seems to 1/2 his score in 5 days – which proves diet is a major part of the story.

Peter Attia podcasts on this topic are also great (if you can follow half of what’s going on).

Obviously a one week hack is not a healthy lifestyle. This is just a collection of things I’ve found which improve the test results. These hacks seem to move HDL up and LDL down.

I should probably buy myself one of those small testing devices to experiment more.

Fasting for Fat Loss

A guide to losing 5kg of fat in ten days, using fasting and some basic gym, walking and swimming. I include a few hacks to make it easier than water fasting.

My previous fasting plan was optimised for health and cancer prevention, see: 5 Day Stoic Water Fast.

Recently I’ve tweaked my fasting for an annual fat loss programme / reboot. Here are my latest ideas and routines.

What you will need

You can find these things at pretty much any health shop and/or chemist.

  • 10 days of fasting time where you are free from social events that force you to eat or drink anything other than rooibos / mint tea
  • Coffee
  • Green tea
  • MCT oil, mostly C8 fats, a tablespoon per day max
  • Coconut oil, a teaspoon per day max
  • Collagen protein powder, two teaspoons per day
  • Cinnamon powder, add to taste
  • Potassium supplement, 2g 2x per day
  • Magnesium Glycinate supplement, 400mg 2x per day
  • Sodium (sea salt), 2g x2 per day, about three teaspoons
  • BCAA (optional – early in fasting transition), dose on the bottle
  • 5HTP (very optional – take before bedtime to help you sleep well), 100mg per day

The Basics

Make sure you read this post to understand the basics and learn about keto adaptation. I’m not a doctor. Make sure you are fairly healthy before you try this.

Fasting Routine

You should do at least 10 days of fasting. You can do 10 days in one go (advanced mode), or two 5 day fasts.

Make sure you eat zero carbs the day before you start fasting. Get into ketosis overnight.

Day 1, Morning: bulletproof coffee (with butter on Day 1), some BCAAs, magnesium, potassium, collagen protein powder, sea salt in your water. Go to gym, do squats and pull-ups, swim. Afternoon: Green tea and a teaspoon of coconut oil. Go for a lunchtime walk and an evening walk. Aim for 2 hours of walking per day. Evening: magnesium, potassium and sea salt.

Day 2, Morning: bulletproof coffee (without butter, use one tablespoon of MCT and cinnamon powder), magnesium, potassium, sea salt in your water. Go for a lunchtime walk and an evening walk. Afternoon: Green tea or black coffee with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Evening: magnesium, potassium, sea salt and 5HTP (optional).

Day 3, Morning: bulletproof coffee (without butter, just MCT and cinnamon), collagen protein powder, magnesium, potassium, sea salt in your water. Gym, do squats and pull-ups, swim. Afternoon: Green tea and a teaspoon of coconut oil. Go for a lunchtime walk and an evening walk. Evening: magnesium, potassium and sea salt.

Day 4 onwards: repeat Day 2.

The collagen protein powder contains glutamine, so you want to only use than on the gym days early on. You want to have zero glutamine for the rest of the fast – anti-cancer reasons.

Fat loss calculation

Depending on your lean muscle mass, you can lose around 400g of fat per day while fasting and doing 2 hours of walking per day.

7500 kcal per 1kg of body fat. 450 kcal per hour of walking. You’ll use about 1900 kcal per day by just being alive (depending on your lean muscle mass), and add about 1000 kcal with two hours of walking. This gives you about 3000 kcal per day, or 400g fat loss per day (3000/750=400g). About 2.5kg fat loss per week. Maybe 3kg if you are pretty big, probably 2kg if you have a smaller frame.

In my experiments I’ve lost around 500g of fat per day while fasting, around 4kg per week, or 5kg in 10 days.

Purist days

Try to have at least two consecutive water fasting days with no coffee, tea or supplements. A tablespoon of MCT is about 120 kcal. It should not have a big impact if that’s the only energy you take in for a day, but be aware of the extra energy in your calculations.

Muscle loss and re-feeding

Don’t stress about a small bit of muscle loss while you fast, it’s actually healthy to kill off some old cells, read about autophagy.

It’s important to eat healthy in the days after you finish your fasting. Rebuild your body with healthy foods.


Some of my stats. 5kg fat loss in 10 days. 500g muscle loss.

Stats, in kg

Happy health hacking, crazy kids. LLAP.

Health Sprint Feb 2017

We’re doing a 4 week health sprint in February.

Following the usual Health Guide.

Week 0: Warm up. Eat healthy. Get back to gym.
Week 1-3: Transformation challenge: fat lost + muscle gained.
Week 4: Fasting week.

At last count, we have 12 people in the group.


I’m aiming for a 10kg transformation: fat lost + muscle gained, which I think is a good target for 5 weeks.

8kg fat loss, 2kg muscle gain.

Starting data:

The Goal

The goal of this challenge is to see if a few friends can get into this diet – get keto/fat adapted – make their brains run without glucose as primary fuel – and see if they can lose a healthy dose of body fat in five weeks.

Key things:

  • Is this a simple enough recipe / protocol to follow?
  • Are people crazy enough to do this stuff?
  • Can they stick to it for more than one 3 month cycle?
  • Can they get through the glucose withdrawal phase?
  • How do males and female experiences differ?
  • Can they get really good body transformation results?
  • …and get feedback, to improve the guide / protocol.

Remember to book your Vitality health assessment for early March.

Happy health hacking, crazy kids.

5 Day Stoic Water Fast

Here are my notes after not eating for a week.

The idea is to fast for 5 days every 3 months of the year. Eat nothing and drink only water.

It’s a cellular cull, a sugar withdrawal game, an immune system reboot and a journey in dematerialisation.

A stoic quest! (-:

“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight … / done a 5 day fast?”


  • Well… it’s a challenge.
  • You want to reboot your immune system – or at least wake it up. Make your body generate some new white blood cells which are sharp enough to identify cancer cells and kill them.
  • You want to give your body a break from running on glucose.
  • You want to starve any (pre) cancer cells in your body. Cancer cells run on glucose.
  • Detox included. No alcohol or any other bad stuff for a week.
  • Reset hormone levels / reset insulin resistance.
  • Lowers bad cholesterol.
  • Fasting stimulates the release of growth hormones.
  • Fat loss.
  • Food tastes amazing afterwards.


Easy. Don’t eat anything and just drink water, for at least 4 full days, ideally 5 days.

Prepare. Do some intermittent fasting (IF) in the weeks before. Keto adaptation usually takes about three weeks. Your body can get 50% more efficient at running on fat after a few weeks of fasting. Do a few 24 and 48 hour fasts while you prepare.

I would NOT suggest you just switch from a high carb diet to fasting in a day. This is a 4 week project not an overnight thing. If you are already used to IF and keto adopted, then jump right in.

Plan your week. You probably don’t want to do this on a very stressful or travelling week.

You want to get into a mild ketosis state before the fast. Do some low carb / keto eating in the day(s) before.

Try and keep to 1-5 millimolar/l ketone levels.

How A Fasting Week Might Go

Saturday: I’d suggest you eat zero carbs from after lunch.

Sunday: Maybe some eggs for breakfast, zero carbs. Eat your last keto meal at lunch time, maybe a salad with some protein. This is when the fast starts.

Monday: You should be in mild ketosis. 1mmol/l ketones. Have a small amount of coconut oil in your green tea if you like. Monday night might be a bit uncomfortable. Just go to bed early.

Tuesday and Wednesday should have a nice productive buzz.

Thursday night might be a bit uncomfortable again. Your ketone levels will probably be high. Keep going.

Friday: Eat again at lunch. Have a healthy smoothie or a salad. Make this a small meal. Eat a nice protein meal for supper on Friday.

Saturday: Healthy breakfast, eggs etc.

Hacks to make it easier

Be sure you are in ketosis before you stop eating. Take some BCAAs and/or MCT oil on the day you transition into ketosis.

Drink enough water.

Have a bit of green tea if you get bored.

Add a tiny bit of coconut oil to your green tea on the first day of the fast.

Add some sea salt to your water.

Take some 5HTP at night to help you sleep well. Also take some Magnesium and Potassium. I find that I sometimes get mild calve cramps when swimming if I don’t take some Magnesium and Potassium and salt.

Notes and Tips

Ketones are anti-catabolic and your body releases growth hormones when you are in ketosis.

It’s a pretty productive time. You will realise how much time food and eating consumes. You might need to go on a few lunchtime walks, not to get too bored.

There can be some negative things for some people: brain fog, back pain, heart racing, bad sleep. A lot of this is probably your brain going through sugar withdrawal. I did not experience this stuff – I’ve been experimenting with fasting for at least 12 months now.

Your underwater breath hold time will increase. Try it. Very cool how you can spend more time underwater.

It’s cheap. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are free.

You might feel a bit of a high on day two/three, this is the ketones.

Some people will react a bit weirdly when you tell them you are not eating for a week. Just don’t tell some people.

Don’t go to gym. You probably want to take it easy with the exercise. I went to gym in my fast – just to see what weights I could lift. Pretty similar, but maybe 80% of the regular weight. If you are not eating protein it does not make sense to go to gym. Your body does not have anything to repair your muscles with after weight training.

A few chilled walks or swims are probably enough exercise. I usually swim 1km on most days I’m fasting.


Start eating at a slow pace after the fast – maybe start with a smoothie or something easy to digest. Take care eating healthy food after the fast ends. The period of re-feeding after a fast is very important to regenerate cells in your body.

Does fasting really kill cancer cells? Nope it’s not that simple, but it gives them a hard time. It radically slows their growth. The real kicker is that you reboot your immune system, and your new white blood cells identify and kill the weakened cancer cells. That’s the theory.

“Fasting for four days causes stem cells to awake from their normal dormant state, and start regenerating. Researchers discovered this practice destroyed damaged and older cells, and caused new cells to be born, effectively renewing the immune system. This is the first time any natural intervention has ever been shown to trigger this self-renewal.” — from this article


  • Is this safe?
    Yeah, you can probably go 30 days without food. Don’t stress… but, I’m not a doctor – make sure you are in good health before trying this. A 27-year-old male patient fasted for 382 days. “Prolonged fasting in this patient had no ill-effects”.
  • Can I take MCT oil while fasting?
    Yeah, if you must. Not needed.
  • Can I take BCAAs while fasting?
    No, BCAAs will help prevent muscle loss, but the glutamine in most BCCA mixes is a bad idea. Cancer cells like glutamine.
  • How often should I do this?
    Four times a year. Every 12th week. Add it to your calendar.
  • How much fat will I lose?
    Depending on your base metabolic rate, probably about 2-3kg. Not as much as you might think. A kilogram of fat contains 7700 calories. If your base metabolic rate is 2000 calories, you can lose about 260g of fat per day – a bit more if you are more active. Take a few long walks.
  • What do I do when I get hungry?
    Drinks some green tea or go for a walk.
  • Will this work the same for females? From some general reading, females seem to find fasting more stressful. You’ll have to do your own research on this topic.

My Results

Nov 2015: I went from 84kg to 80kg over the days I fasted. Probably some water loss there.

Nov 2016: I went from 90kg to 85kg.

Learn More

Happy health hacking, crazy kids. LLAP.

TRE in Cape Town

I recently attended a TRE – Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises session with Cath and Tom in Claremont.

“TRE is a series of exercises that assist the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma.”

I first read about TRE here and did some research on the topic last year. I managed to figure out the exercises you need to do for TRE, but I never got around to trying it, because I figured it’s a bit weird to do on your own.

The workshop / group format was a nice way to finally experience TRE.

The exercises were pretty easy. I found the tremors to be a bit of a strange feeling, but natural and very relaxing in the end.

The session took about an hour in total.

Check it out.

Thanks Lynne.


Text neck? Stiff shoulders? Too much time sitting in front of a computer?

Try these:

  • Go swimming
  • Go for long walks
  • Do morning stretches
  • Hang – like hang from a pull-up bar
  • Steam baths, saunas and cold showers
  • Do air squats
  • Get a good office chair
  • Work on hip mobility
  • Get up from your desk and stretch every now and again and take a walk over lunchtime
  • Get a foam roller
  • Get an electric back massager, remember to massage the base of your skull
  • Have a deep tissue Thai massage – ask for firm/deep pressure, it might hurt a bit
  • Do good old lower back extensions at the gym
  • Do dislocates and j-curls
  • Go for dry needling
  • Watch this: How you move defines how you live, and part two

Connective tissue takes 6 months to regenerate, so keep going with the above and form good habits.

Dry needling really worked well for a stiff neck.

Happy health hacking, crazy kids.

Health Sprint Nov 2016

I’m going on a 5 week health sprint from 31 October to 2 December. I’m also doing my Vitality Health test on that last Friday.

I’ve written a fairly short Health Guide that explains the protocol I’m following.

We have 8 people in the current testing group. Feel free to join in and help test, or suggest improvements.


I’m aiming for a 12kg transformation: fat lost + muscle gained, which I think is a good target for 5 weeks.

9kg fat loss, 3kg muscle gain.

Starting off at 90kg, 20.7% body fat, 18.8kg fat mass, 41.7kg muscle mass.

Aiming for 82kg, 9% body fat, 9.8kg fat mass, 44.7kg muscle mass.

Single digit body fat, in 5 weeks? Let’s see.

Testing the protocol

The goal of this experiment is to see if a few friends can get into this diet – get keto/fat adapted – make their brains run without glucose as primary fuel – and see if they can lose a healthy dose of body fat in five weeks.

Key things to test:

  • Is this a simple enough recipe / protocol to follow?
  • Are people crazy enough to do this stuff?
  • Can they stick to it for more than one 3 month cycle?
  • Can they get through the glucose withdrawal phase?
  • How do males and female experiences differ.
  • Can they get really good body transformation results?

Happy health hacking, crazy kids.

Shrek Tea

A morning tea for gym days…

Shrek Tea
Shrek Tea

You will need…

  • Green tea and/or Ginger tea – sugar free and/or Ginseng tea
  • Black tea: English Breakfast or Earl Grey
  • 1 Table Spoon of Butter, unsalted, grass fed – must be grass fed
  • 1 Table Spoon of Coconut oil, extra virgin, organic, I like the non-unscented one, the one that still tastes like coconut
  • 1 Table Spoon of MCT oil
  • 1 Tea Spoon of Matcha (green tea powder), this makes it nice and green
  • 1 Tea Spoon of Cinnamon, Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper, this makes it nice and yellow
  • A pinch of Sea salt

Make the tea. Put it all in a blender. Blend. You can add more, or less of each ingredient, as you like.

I find that it’s easier to take in the fats if the tea is a bit spicy – which is why I add the turmeric and cayenne pepper.

Read more here, I don’t bother with finding the exotic teas mentioned.

Happy health hacking, crazy kids.