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17 Short Health Hacks I Learned from People Smarter than Me

by | May 8, 2023 | Life Hacks

Dead in a hotel room.

“No suspicious cause of death” says Aussie police. At 1 A.M. a man I barely knew, but loved dearly, died in a Melbourne hotel.

His name was Jock Zonfrillo and he was a judge on a popular Aussie tv show called Master Chef with others such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay.

The cause of Jock’s death was likely either a drug overdose or suicide. We still don’t know and may never find out.

As a young man Jock became a heroin addict. Then in the early 2000s he gave up the habit and moved from Sydney to Melbourne to be a chef. His rise to fame took a while. One restaurant after another.

Until a restaurant he started put him on the map. Then the tv stations came a knocking and he got his life-changing gig.

What’s often misunderstood about these food tv shows is most of what they cook is bad for your health. The judges are shown overindulging and eating as much as they can, as if it’s a god-given human right. But the show is just an advertisement for junk food companies to flog their stuff.

It turns out Jock had been battling colon cancer.

Nobody other than his close family knew. If the tv show he worked on or the supermarket sponsors of his career knew about his cancer, the public might join the dots together and realize food was the cause.

About a year ago I bumped into Jock outside of his house.

He smiled and said hi. I’ve watched his show for years as light entertainment. I never knew about his heroin problem or cancer scares. I never knew he carried beads in his hands everywhere to help relax him.

Now it all makes sense.

He either ended his life because of the cancer or overdosed on drugs to numb the pain of it. In some ways you can’t blame him.

Now he’s dead and he leaves behind four young kids and a wife with no income. This is the sort of tragedy bad health can create. So we want to do everything we can to make being healthy easy.

Here are a few health hacks I’ve found useful.

Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that make him sick — Hippocrates

1. The gym is a great place to ditch anxiety

I grew up an anxious boy.

By the time I got to my 20s my hands would shake from anxiety. I tried everything. One thing that worked was going to the gym.

If I had a big nervous event to attend, I’d work out. I’d come out the other side relaxed and feeling good. The gym is a free hospital full of natural vaccines for all sorts of issues.

2. One easy way to find a diet that works for you

Everyone has their favorite diet.

Mine is the whole food plant-based one. For some cool kids it’s the vegan diet, or the keto diet. What evs.

Writer Nat Eliason taught me you’ve got to mess with the status quo of your health once in a while. Shake up the snow globe. The way to do that is to try them all. See which diet makes you feel better.

That’s how I settled on whole food plant-based. I don’t give a crap about who recommends it or how much science there is. All I want to know is does it make me feel better and give me more energy? If yes, then do.

You can do the same.

3. The slow poison we innocently eat daily

Darshak Rana said “sugar is a slow poison.”

He’s right. There’s growing research that sugar is bad for you and creates many health problems such as Alzheimer’s. Eat less sugar.

4. “Zero sugar” is a lie

It just means “a lot of chemicals instead.” Coke Zero is the worst offender.

5. Pick one of these uncommon forms of meditation

The typical idea of mediation is some hippie sitting cross-legged on a rock with their eyes closed.

Meditation comes in many forms though. It’s solely about present-moment awareness as a way to reset the mind.

Here are some uncommon forms of mediation:

  • Playing with your kid
  • Washing the car
  • Weight lifting
  • Doing dishes
  • Sunbathing
  • Walking
  • Cooking

Find ways to become present.

6. Drink more water to feel less hungry

Then you won’t need to eat like a fat kid who loves cake.

7. The energy to exercise comes from exercising

Once you’re in motion the momentum builds faster.

8. Use the 10–3–2–1 method for sleep

We all know that sleep is an important health act — I’m not going to state the obvious. So we want to have the best sleep possible and this formula from expert Dan Go can help:

  • 10 hours before bed stop drinking coffee.
  • 3 hours before bed stop eating.
  • 2 hours before bed stop drinking water.
  • 1 hour before bed stop looking at all screens.

9. Have a list of quick fixes for everyday health problems

Unfocused → Run
Uninspired → Read
Upset → Breathe
Burnt out → Seek nature
Tired → Go for a walk
Lonely → Phone a friend

Matt Gray

10. Know why Doritos are delicious

Once I eat one Dorito chip there’s no way I won’t finish the bag.

Even a navy seal can’t resist eating all the Doritos. The reason they taste so damn good is they have the rare mix of sugar and fat, which natural foods that aren’t screwed with by humans, don’t have.

  • Doritos have the perfect 50/50 mix between fat and carb.
  • Doritos corn is boiled, mashed into a gluey paste, toasted, then deep-fried. All these cooking methods rarely feature in one food.
  • Doritos seasoning is loaded with equal parts of MSG, sugar, salt, disodium inosinate / guanylate, garlic/pepper/tomato/onion powder. Because no one flavor stands out, it produces the feeling of you not being full. So you eat more of them.
  • Doritos have lactic and citric acid that causes you to salivate like a drooling virgin who’s watching their first s*x scene.
  • Doritos have a pitch-perfect crunch that satisfies, then the chip dissolves in your mouth, fast. Because the food disappears so fast the brain assumes you need more.

Doritos demonstrate the many ways modern food is engineered.

It’s not that we’re fat pigs that can’t resist all this junk food. It’s that our human nature is being used against us to make bad food almost impossible to resist. Learn about junk food to eat less junk food.

11. Fighting with romantic partners causes extra stress

And we know stress is bad for us.

According to one study, what causes us to have arguments with our partners is hunger. Who knew. So if you feel like throwing a tantrum try eating some fruit first.

12. Losing weight equals calories in versus calories out

My beer belly is something that has come out to play a few times in my life.

When it pops out I try to hide it with strategic shirts and jumpers. For years I never knew why my belly would contract and expand on its own.

Then one day I learned that all the dieting and weight loss advice is overcomplicated for no reason. If we want to lose weight it’s a matter of measuring how many calories we consume versus how many we burn.

If consume less calories then our weight should go down over time. If we burn calories at the gym but eat all sorts of bad food and ignore it, then we will probably never lose weight.

It’s easier to not eat 100 calories than it is to burn 100 calories in the gym
Dan Go

Life hack: measure calories to maintain a good weight.

13. Have a strong why to maintain good health

Taking care of your health can be a pain in the ass.

You need to know why it’s important to have any chance of doing these hard health hacks. I think of it in investing terms.

If I invest time and money now in being healthy, then I won’t need to invest later in healthcare bills. Your health always catches up with you so it’s worth prioritizing it.

14. Get free therapy

Go for a walk in nature without your phone. Many problems will get solved.

15. The Seinfeld Rule

Stress the body or the mind is easily stressed, says Jerry Seinfeld. That’s why he trains 6 days a week. Not for muscles but for the mental benefits.

Exercise is mental training masquerading as physical training — Anthony Pomp

16. Try these two health tools

Everywhere I go I see more people talking about ice baths and saunas. I figure they can’t all be wrong. Personally, I’ve found saunas to be a game-changer. It’s a place I can go with no tech that helps me:

Don’t judge modern hacks. Try them to see if they make you feel different.

17. Learn the Rockefeller way of life

John D. Rockefeller lived until age 97.

Back in 1937 that was one hell of an innings. When asked about his health secrets he said:

Avoid all worry. Take plenty of exercise in open air. And get up from the table a little hungry.

They’re the sort of health reminders we all need because the best health tip is probably something you know about already but aren’t doing.

Invest in your health to get a better ROI out of life.

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