So, we live in a world where Holiness Pope Francis recently did a powerful TED talk from Vatican City, discussing hope for the future. And, of course, my music mind connected the dots to hip-hop artist Del the Funky Homosapien.
Connect the dots withe me. First, to quote the pope: “In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage, and we need creativity. Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude.” And then recall that DtheFH says: “Upgrade your gray matter. One day it may matter.”
I bring this up because, for me, the ability to show up as an intentional, healthy human relates directly to my diet and nutrition. Eating healthfully is a form of self-respect, but how can we separate the “you deserve whole foods” impulse from the “you deserve a double-chocolate sundae with extra sprinkles” impulse?
It feels like having healthy brains and active bodies matters a helluva lot right now.
Contemplating the DtheFH/Pope Francis synchronicity (how had I not seen it before?) I naturally discovered Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey’s newest book, “Headstrong.” Spoiler alert: Asprey believes that we can eat for stronger, resilient brains.
The idea is that our brains are the first part of the body to suffer when we are chronically inflamed. The amount of inflammation in our bodies directly impacts our brain’s ability to think, learn, and remember. An inflamed brain can make us unreasonably angry, cause severe and distracting food cravings, and even rob us of our own memories.
That’s terrifying given what we learned about the president’s diet last year: “On the campaign trail, the “three staples” of Trump’s diet were Domino’s, KFC, and McDonald’s (Big Macs on silver platters), an aide told Axios.”
You’ve heard our guts referred to as our second brains, right?
The Bulletproof diet claims there is hope, mainly found in butyrate-rich grass-fed butter and polyphenol sources like dark leafy greens and coffee. I’m over-simplifying here (because you’re gonna Google it anyway), but by decreasing your intake of grains, dairy, sugar, and carbs while increasing your intake of saturated fat and Omega-3s, we can operate on higher cylinders.
Before anyone told me it was “bad” to eat so much fat in one sitting, I remember as a little girl going straight for the butter tray at Thanksgiving; I would be happily gnawing on my fat stick when an aunt would discover me under the fancy linen and demand I come out and clean up. I craved butter more than ice cream and as much as dog food.
So I was thrilled to have permission to return to my long-lost love with my new experiment: Bulletproof coffee.
It’s a combination of organic coffee, distilled coconut oil known as MCT oil, and grass-fed butter, all blended up into a delicious frothy latte. The theory behind the mixture is that the fat helps the body metabolize the caffeine at a more sustainable rate so you don’t have the afternoon energy plunge. Asprey claims that it cuts cravings and encourages weight loss; he suggests drinking it alone, without food, until you’re ready to eat your first meal at lunch.
Remember, I’m a faddist (meaning be skeptical, but try it for yourself), but I can say that after a month of daily butter joe, I do notice that my afternoon slumps are not as intense. My joints even feel more lubricated, like maybe they’re smothered in butter.
Diets like Bulletproof, Paleo, and Keto all claim to work from the inside out, healing the gut lining and upgrading the brain. I’ve come across another “hack” that affects your outermost layer – skin – and tunnels inward to reduce inflammation: Cryotherapy.
Unofficially, I was introduced to Cryotherapy as a Colorado kid who tried to be courageous by jumping through Cascade Creek every summer. There are more civilized ways to reap the benefits of this age-old therapy that I discovered at CryoMedSpa here in town. You enter a 12-foot cylinder that looks exactly like Austin Powers’ Orgasmatron for up to three minutes in negative 270-degree nitrogen gas. It’s not as shocking as jumping in the river; in fact, I came out with a subtle, yet blissful head rush.
Cryotherapy is known to stimulate the collagen synthesis in your skin (fewer wrinkles) and increase overall blood circulation, which has been said to help autoimmune disorders, depression, fatigue, and fibromyalgia, to name a few.
I read that you can reap the benefits of cold therapy by simply turning the facet to cold in your shower for 30 seconds before you hop out. But spoil a perfect hot shower? Oh hell no. I’d rather use the Animas as my therapy pool.
I braved the river again this weekend. After holding myself under for five seconds, I exited quicker than a hip-hop artist at a Pope rally. My skin felt taut; my brain, a bit more glistening. I contemplated Skyping the Vatican to rap about revolution or at least resistance. Maybe all it took to get my heart in the right place was this freezing spring current – and those steamy butter lattes.
Katie Clancy is the co-owner of Studio Soma, a therapeutic movement and bodywork sanctuary in Durango. She is also a freelance writer and dances with 20Moons Dance Theatre.