My "Why" - The reason why I have this lifestyle, as I understand things today: Monday, November 6, 2016 - By Austin Einhorn

This is a story of simple cause and effect. Though, I must warn you, not all things that are simple are easy. If you drink coffee or tea you will only burn yourself a handful of times before you learn to let it cool off. When you lose something you value or fail at something you care about, typically one’s response is then to take the necessary steps to prevent that action again. 

Recently, I purged my apartment of anything unnecessary or did not spark joy within me (courtesy of The life-changing magic of tidying up.) I then reorganized each thing that was left. Two months later I was looking for my passport the night before an international flight. It was nowhere in sight. I started to fabricate a story how I must have thrown it out accidentally during the purge. Not good. I was supposed to get on this flight in 12 hours. I ended up finding my passport only after slowing down and looking more deeply. I returned from my trip and created a secure location for it to live. Cause and effect. At age 15 I experienced loss on a much grander scale. I lost my only parent. My mother. 

This was the equivalent of the tidal wave created by the asteroid that hit earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. Now, at twenty-eight I am nearing the mark of living more without her than with her and that wave has finally come to rest on shore. I now understand many of my prior actions that have transported me to today. More on this later. 

My mother died ultimately of a stroke, but battled cancer and its effects for several years. I remember it being from about 10 years old to 15. One memory is when she had a 6-10 week stint in the hospital. I then was living out of a suitcase at friend’s houses for 2 weeks at a time. Little did I know she was giving me try outs with potential families that I might want to live with if anything happened. 

I have a friend who is a cancer researcher. He and the entire field seem to be so deep into the thought of finding a cure that they are missing the point entirely. My friend is continually is focused on the effects while I am solely focused on the causes. Our conversations get heated and always ends in stalemate.

Robert Pirsig, world renowned author of “Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” clarifies the subject of cause and effect succinctly, “to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government, or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effect only, no change is possible.” My mother let me eat whatever I wanted, and to an extent let me do whatever I wanted. Some of my choices were good, some were not. She let me learn, whether it was her intention or not. As you may be able to empathize with my younger self, I wanted to eat donuts, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, chicken McNuggets, and macaroni and cheese. I think, therefore I am. I want yummy food, therefore I eat. Since I was extremely active, maybe that rationalized those dietary allowances. Despite having donuts for breakfast all of seventh and eight grades, I was still extremely skinny. Recollecting my childhood gives me reminders to her lifestyle. She would not indulge in the same fine dining experience I always had. However, there were many pizza and pasta nights that we shared with the occasional Caesar salad that I was reluctant to eat. Albeit, she was still quite petite despite these choices. Her job also kept her indoors under artificial lighting. 

See, to attack cancer with the thought of a cure is to attack effects, not causes. As our society continues to deviate from the environment that produced our species, disease rates skyrocket.  Pirsig continues, “If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system [read: cures]. And so little understanding.”

No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.
— Ernest Hemingway

I want to now paint a picture of a moment in time that accelerated my journey. Approximately six months ago I took the next logical step in increasing my responsibility of my own health. I learned something quite alarming. It was if I had put together 999 of 1000 puzzle pieces together, yet I still did not see the entire picture. The last puzzle piece appeared to me on my computer screen. It was like one of those moments in movies where the entire background fades out and just the main character is in focus. Or when Wiley Coyote runs off the cliff and hovers there for a second until gravity plays her duplicitous role and sucks him down to the valley at 9.8m/s^2. I had been sprinting without having any direction. I was the conductor of the train running through all the box-cars ensuring everything was in place, while the train barreled away at full steam with no direction. 

Through some genetic testing, I discovered that I carry two alleles of the APOE-4 gene. These markers are associated with much higher chances of Alzheimer’s disease. Just like that, the last chapter of the book titled, “Austin’s big adventure into qualitative living” had been written. After much research and talking with a couple of phenomenal doctors, I have learned that my genetics are not my destiny. I now understand and believe that the proverbial nature is a product of nurture. Nurture primarily being the environment the organism is surrounded by. Simple. General Adaptation Syndrome. The emerging science of epigenetics also taught me that I have much more control than I may have previously understood. One doctor even thinks that the APoE-4 has beneficial qualities and a true purpose. Its role is just not yet fully understood. 

These two events separated by 13 years of other minor events have made me determined to forge a path of radical change to achieve radical results. For one, I want to stick around long enough to whoop my grandchildren in volleyball, or any sport for that matter. That requires a hefty health-span, as well as me retaining the quality of my brain. Secondly, I do not want to pass on these alleles to my future children. Thirdly, I want to perpetually better myself for my future wife. Lastly, I want to do this for myself. What are our experiences for if not for ourselves and our memories? I don’t want to pass any of my genes to my kids, I want to provide them with even better ones. There is no greater influence in nature than that of a parent on a child, regardless of the timeline.  

It is easy to lose sight of this in 2016 as most experiences are had, captured, and dealt to the masses in exchange for dopamine hits in the form of vibrations and little red circles with numbers in them. Shortly after this transaction, the experience is completely forgotten about. It is the biggest drug deal in the world with the shortest high that very few are aware of. The side effects are running rampant and invisible to most of the world.

For these main reasons and several others of lesser magnitude is why I live the way I do. Every lifestyle change I make has an asymmetrical risk to reward ratio. Meaning, even if science ends up proving that it is more ineffective than hypothesized, I still win. I win because it all leaves me feeling better regardless of the outcome. Some other choices have slightly more risk, but the risk is there simply because society has brainwashed me into thinking so. The riskiest choice that I make is rejecting sunscreen completely. If the sun was bad for the human species, we would not have made it this far. The science and logic within this choice resonates deeply within me and keeps me confident that this is the right choice.

The other choices I have made, and began to share on social media may be better suited to bullet point format, rather than sentences. Here I will list those that I believe directly impact my health, this is not a complete list of my health decisions or lifestyle changes.

  1. Morning Routine

    1. Remove sleep mask and ear plugs
    2. Check my quality of sleep via “Sleep Cycle” app.
    3. Brush my teeth with fluoride free toothpaste
    4. Meditation - countless benefits
    5. Tea with unfluorinated water
    6. Upon sunrise, gaze without distraction into the general direction of the sun. 
    7. Coffee - Laird Superfood Coffee & Non-dairy creamer.
  2. Nutrition

    1. If I am hungry, I will typically make a breakfast with any combination of the following. Nearly every food has a purpose beyond basic nutrition, satiation, and deliciousness.
      1. Eggs (high in sulfur, which helps make my sun exposure more effective)
      2. Onions (High in sulfur)
      3. Sardines (High in DHA)
      4. Goat cheese (delicious fat)
      5. Avocado (delicious fat and fiber)
      6. Tomatoes (Lycopene and carotenoid, great for the skin and sun)
      7. I eat nearly a Ketogenic diet. If not in ketosis, I am minimizing carbohydrate intake. 
      8. Other meals follow a similar reasoning, with as much purpose behind each food item as possible. 
    2. I drink alcohol maybe 1-3 times per year.
    3. Fasting
      1. Once per week for 24 hours
      2. Once per month for 3 days
      3. Once per quarter for 5+ days. (I have yet to try this one, but am determined.)
  3. Exercise

    1. I play around with some of my methods and principles I understand in the gym. Utilizing various weights and impulses, seeing what things I can come up with. 
    2. Run long distance 1-2 times a week. Research I have read stated that long slow endurance (45+ min) created new neurons in the brain.
    3. Interval Sprints1-2 times a week. Research I have read stated that sprinting myelinates neural pathways. It is also one of the movements I think is innate in nature and largely ignored…when was the last time you sprinted? 
  4. Nature

    1. Sun
      1. Do my very best to get at least 30 minutes of direct sun exposure on as much as my body as possible. Even when it is cold out. 
    2. I am working to regularly schedule regular full immersion nature experiences into my schedule. As I write this I am planning a 4 day escape into Yosemite. 
    3. I Ice bath and sauna as much as I can make time for. This is categorized in “nature” because I do not live in a place with extreme temperature swings. 
      1. When I am in the snow, or a cold climate:
        1. I will purposely underdress to maintain a lower core body temperature.
        2. Expose myself to the elements in lieu of an ice bath.
    4. I built a desk to go over my railing on my deck so I can do my computer work outside as often as possible.
  5. Relationship with Technology

    1. iPhone has Nightshift mode and other settings permanently on to reduce blue light emission. iOS 10 has a feature that allows me to turn everything a dark red at night. (Settings - General - Accessibility - Display Accommodations - Color Filters--> switch to on and select red)
    2. When I’m looking at any screen for a prolonged period of time, I wear blue blocking glasses (Gamma Ray Optics)
    3. I sleep with my iPhone on airplane mode (why isn’t this more common?)
    4. I unplug my wireless router at night.
    5. UVEX orange glasses any light exposure after sunset. 
    6. F.lux is installed on my computer. 
    7. No chairs at my house. Yes, chairs are a form of technology. We just don’t consider it that today. 
    8. Record all TV so that I don’t have to watch any commercials. I don’t want to listen or see that garbage. This also reduces a ton of time watching TV. For every hour-long show, there are at least 20 minutes of commercials. That’s a 30% return or waste, depending on your TV strategy.
    9. Nearly every room in my home has a smart lightbulb that I turn to red upon sunset. 
    10. Clothes
      1. Yes, clothes are a form of technology. Nearly everything I wear has a stretchy waistband so I can always breathe efficiency into my stomach. Yes, I still own jeans and slacks but wear them as rarely as possible.
    11. Airport/Airplanes
      1. I get a pat down instead of walking through the giant microwave they call a millimeter-wave scanner. https://jasonprall.com/blog/millimeter-wave-scanners-alter-dna/

 

While some may feel this is exhausting, I have been fine tuning and making changes since 2007. I have reduced and simplified my home so that are no other choices to make. If you do not have to make a turn down a straight road, do you consider that turn that did not exist? The effort comes in the decision-making process. I have made my own rules and rigged the game in my favor. Are these choices difficult? Yes and no. In the beginning of this climb up the mountain, I was aware of every step and each one was difficult. But, I always had an ambiguous peak in sight which kept me steadfast. Along the way, I realized that each step was enjoyable and the only thing making it difficult was the thought. Pirsig enlightened me to this idea with the statement, “It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s here things grow. But of course, without the top, you can’t have any sides. It’s the top that defines the sides.” Here is where growth occurs. Now that the peak has shown itself through the clouds, I have more momentum and direction than ever. 

Changing the thought is really what we are after. Meditation thus is killing countless birds with just one stone (I realize that might be the most violent statement about meditation ever written). It is now a staple and a way of living. It now allows me to be more calibrated to how my body feels because of these changes. This altered state is worth every step along the way because it enhances their effects.

Lastly, it so for these reasons that I help athletes become their best. My athletes and I are on the same path, only we have a different pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My experiences along this climb have led me to observe people extremely well with a specialty in movement. We work together within the space between cause and effect. The space between a loss and a victory. The space between workouts. The space between contract negotiations. The space between emotions. The space between is the path. You could say I have been living in the space between for the last 13 years constantly observing life around me. Although I do not yet have kids, and I am not at the age of 70, I feel that the journey I have been on for the last 13 years is finally at an end. Finally in a place where I feel I am optimizing nearly every aspect of my life. I embark on a new chapter, I do not know exactly where I am going. I am comforted in this process by Oliver Cromwell. An English statesman from the 1600’s who was also a soldier and revolutionary. He states, “No one rises so high as he who knows not whither he is going.”

If I can influence my athletes to continue to optimize their lifestyle outside of the weight room and their sport, not only will it greatly influence their capabilities within their sport it might improve their future children’s life as well. Who knows what shores those ripples change will land on.

You must realize that these choices I am making will not only incite change on a genetic level, but also a conscious level. I want my kids to understand why I make certain choices so they have the freedom to make qualitative choices of their own. When the empress of bad choices are creating tyranny in my mind with their mere presence, I simply ask myself, “what choice would I want my kid to make?” and the answer becomes clear and easy. Cause and effect. The space between them is thought. 

In conclusion, “a person who does machining or foundry work or forge work or welding sees “steel” as having no shape at all. Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not.” says Pirsig. With my life, and my skills I have accumulated along the way, I am simply molding steel because I believe we have no shape at all. 

I leave you with my personal philosophy as it stands today. Perpetually choose the hard path while striving for constant presence to grow beyond comparison. Intent on changing the world of a vital few and initiate ripples of change for many.

If you’d like to be part of those ripples of change, create change within yourself first. Then if you would like, follow me online, share this with ONE person and/or any other of my publications on the internet-  Blog, Podcast, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. 

P.S.— Yes, me being on social media is counteractive to some of my statements. I go back and forth between deleting it entirely or not. I currently cultivate it like a garden. Within my world travels it is a very useful tool to keep in touch with friends abroad. I unfollow people very frequently on Instagram and Twitter. On Facebook I accept most legitimate looking friend requests, however, I unfollow nearly everyone. I do this in order to be in control of who is bombarding my conscious and subconscious mind.