Travel and Bulletproof fun in LA

Another long hiatus of no blogging, but I finally haD some time in this lovely little Eco-Lodge in San Pedro de Atacama in the northern part of Chile, and now in a little town called Puerto Natales in Patagonia, Sooo much has happened in the last few weeks, mostly involving connections with amazing people, plenty of nature (From Yosemite, to amazing lagoons and salt flats in Bolivia), a brilliant festival called Lucidity, high quality cannabis chocolate (any Californians out there, check out Defonce dark chocolate – it’s all organic!), and trying to be healthy in situations that don’t make it easy, but have been so worth it. I have learnt a lot and experienced tremendous amounts of personal growth, but all of that for other day.

Keeping in line with the last post about excellent food, I have to talk about Bulletproof Cafe and also Bulletproof labs next door (for geeky “biohackery” things), which are two places I went to pretty much every day for the week I was in LA. I went to the cafe my first morning in LA for brunch with my beautiful friend AJ, and we had the breakfast bowl and breakfast tacos, with scrambled eggs and bacon. I had the Bulletproof cappuccino, which seriously was the best cappuccino I’ve ever had; the addition of coconut milk to bulletproof coffee is a game changer. The vanilla latte was even better; as you can see in the pic below there is some serious vanilla bean action going on here, and of course is completely free of sugar. On my last day I tried the iced coconut milk matcha spontaneously (I didn’t think to try it before as obviously coffee is what it’s about) but was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was for something I wouldn’t normally order.

 

 

I tried as much food as I could including wild salmon tacos, bone broth and ice-cream (and affogato!) and it was ALL  delicious, healthy, and really good value. The best thing is because it’s so nourishing and full of healthy fat, one meal filled me up for ages. Dave Asprey has hit gold here. They also have a power plate which you can stand on for 5-10 minutes to get those vibration benefits for free.

 

Oh, and did I mention they have healthy sugar-free dessert?! They had a blueberry loaf on the counter but ice-cream is my number one so I tried both their blueberry (vegan) and chocolate (which has eggs in it that make it suuuper rich). Best ice-cream ever. I also went for affogato which I’ve never actually had before, and that was damn good. Maybe Bulletproof should open an ice-cream shop next and get creative with flavours! Although Kippy’s ice-cream is just down the road, and I went there for some delicious flavours like lemon and berry swirl with bee pollen on to[. Kippy’s is made with raw coconut milk and raw honey which is definitely the next best thing to entirely sugar-free ice-cream.

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Kippy’s lemon and blueberry

Bulletproof Labs

I wasn’t planning on going to the labs next door, but I found an offer for 4 ‘bullets’ for the price of 3. This is like a token system; you buy bullets then exchange them for hacks, most of which cost 1 bullet, with a few costing 2. I bought two packages as I was so pleased with my first set of hacks I had to try more. The first thing I tried was the neurofeedback using the Neuroptimal system, which involves 30 minutes of listening to lovely meditation music while an EEG machine measures your brainwaves. If your brainwaves go to stressful states (beta.) you hear static, and have to try and be aware of how you can steer it back to relaxed alpha and theta. The concept is based on neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to learn, adapt and change (a super exciting new frontier in neuroscience!)

My general EEG scan beforehand showed high alpha but also many spikes of beta, and post meditation, the spikes were far fewer. It was so interesting to see it all on a graph, and I really did feel more relaxed. I had actually tried “direct neurofeedback” at Dubin clinic the day before, which is more passive; you sit with electrodes on your head training your parasympathetic system directly. I found both methods to be incredibly effective at producing a strong relaxation that lasted the entire day.

I tried the PEMF machine the next day which works by dissipating positive charge in your cells so they function better. It was interesting to feel the pulses in particular parts of my body, and afterwards I felt a subtle but noticeable shift in energy and general wellbeing. Straight after this, I went in their version of a float tank for 15 minutes. WOW is all I can say. I’ve tried a traditional water float tank and didn’t notice loads of benefit, but the bulletproof version involves a rotating pod (to simulate floating), with binaural beats and glasses with flashing lights. The idea is neural overstimulation which somehow work together to enhance theta (deep relaxation) brainwaves. I meditated throughout, and in the last minute or so, I literally felt like I had taken a potent drug; the effects were so profound. When my pod was opened, I needed a minute before getting out because I felt SO relaxed and clear headed.

I then went and bought another 4 bullets, so I could do the body composition, float tank again (but for 30 minutes this time), and the “cheat machine”. The body composition is far more detailed than simply your body fat and water weight. It gives you feedback on intra- and extra-cellular water, dry lean mass, total body fat, visceral fat, and a measure of cellular health – can’t remember what it was called as unfortunately I lost the paper printout of my results, but I’m pleased to say my ratios were great, and my ‘health score’ was in the excellent range. I did seem to have a small amount more inflammation in my right arm compared to the left (it can detect areas that might be inflamed or have an injury), but because the difference was so small and I felt no difference between arms, it was inconsequential.

Next was the cheat workout on an ARX machine, which was amazing. The machine resists you as you do a workout which includes shoulder presses, chest presses etc, which means you have a more effective workout in shorter time with reduced risk of injury. It calculates your force output as you resist 40%, then 50% then 100% for a total of 6 reps, and I definitely felt the burn by the last rep! The belt for squats was too big for my waist, so instead I was told to get into a squat parallel to the floor for 2 minutes, while alternating hands holding onto the bar in front of me. It was bloody painful for the last 30 seconds, but I made it through and felt really accomplished :D. Finally, I went straight to the float tank for 30 minutes; this time they fixed me  up with some tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation) as well, and it was another amazing experience.

They also have cryotherapy, red light therapy, an oxygen trainer and others, as well as IV drips for vitamins or glutathione and opportunities to measure various biomarkers.

The other important aspect of a successful café/lab that Bulletproof does extraordinarily well is customer service. The staff at both places are incredible; so helpful, friendly and sociable. A few members of staff remembered my name, and really make an effort to make my experience great. The last day I went, unfortunately the kitchen flooded, so there was no food or drink, and they were giving out free bottled coffee at the door. Later on when I went back, they had the coffee working (but still no food), and I got a free bulletproof coffee at the door. Amazing right?!

So yeah, this is why Bulletproof was my fave hangout in Santa Monica. If anyone from Bulletproof ever sees this, PLEASE open a café/lab in London!  Maybe I can do the IV’s for you ;).

 

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