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houmous and a handful of pills

An update on the old better-living-through-chemistry regimen. I now take 12 pills -mostly just nutrients, but still enough to unnerve people. It freaks them out less when I mention the red wine, green tea, and chocolate that form the core of the therapy first. (Not coincidentally, those are three quite intense foods.) Folk find the mere daily regularity of it all about as unsettling as its unnatural substance.

I have to take these jitters seriously because I'm not in the business of making veganism look hard, and thereby letting people off: all any vegan needs to thrive is B12 fortified food and a very varied diet. The rest, below, is a hobby, a nerdy attempt at optimising my shiz. For the incorrigible hippies amongst you, I've given wholefood alternatives where they exist.

In a day, then:

  • 100ml matcha green tea (10x the polyphenols of ordinary green tea. Shitloads of catechins, 140mg caffeine, 100mg theanine). What for? There's a raft of weak results: cholesterol down, metabolism up, diabetes risk down, breast and prostate cancer down. But the nootropic effect is very well established (especially when one tweaks the natural order with an extra 150mg theanine).
  • 50g of 85% cocoa chocolate (for flavanols). What for? Strong evidence that flavanols prevent heart disease, and some indication that it's nootropic.
  • 50g brazil nuts once a week (for selenium)
  • 200g of kale twice a week (for calcium, iron, vit A)
  • Wine, vegan red. What for? Fun. Also a toast to the idea of resveratrol.

  • 25µg Vitamin D. Fun fact: perhaps half the world is deficient. What for? If some studies are to be believed, it's for everything. Bone health, anti-cancer, "all-cause mortality", and, strangest, stopping old people from falling over.
    (Hippies: move somewhere sunny.)
  • 0.1mg vitamin B12. Classic. What for? As well as stopping one from dying, there's been some buzz around it being neuroprotective and anti-Alzheimer's.
    (Hippies: Nutritional yeast.)
  • 1g omega-3 (EPA & DHA). All the linseed I'd been eating was missing the point: it supplies only the smallest omega-3, ALA. Luckily a vegan source of the better, larger ones was invented recently. What for? Take it for mood, heart disease, and nerve function, rather than the trumped-up IQ business of yesteryear.
    (Hippies: there's no wholefood source except one specific kind of algae - which this is)
  • 1g Acetyl l-carnitine. Vegists are in relative deficiency (perhaps 1/4 of omnivore levels).
    What for? Protein and fat metabolism? Some evidence of nootropic effect.
    (Hippies: Nope, fraid not.)
  • 1g choline. Another essential nutrient, but, as a kind of fat, it's unfashionable. What for?
    (Hippies: lots of cauliflower will do you.)
  • 5g creatine. Yup, the bodybuilder's nonsense. We only get about half our needs de novo.
    What for? Muscular integrity and endurance. Vegists get a distinct mental/affective boost off it.
    (Hippies: Nope, fraid not.)

  • 250mg Rhodiola rosea. A herb, a so-called "adaptogen", but one with some science to it. It apparently tackles the chemical causes (cortisol) of stress and related fatigue.
  • 500mg Bacopa monnieri. Along with green tea and rhodiola, here's one more (rare) vindication for traditional medicine. (Ancient Indian, in this case). Solid double-blind reports of remarkable effects on long-term memory.
  • 5mg selegiline. Rather a different beast from those ye olde herbes!

All together now:


(Though if I keep reading David Pearce essays who knows where I'll end up?)