Author Archives: mat


Blooming buttercups flash-frozen,

In the belly of a mammoth beast.

A coronal mass ejection licks the sky.

All systems fry.

Stop. No traffic lights. Starvation nation.

No medication.

“We weren’t expecting this.”

An incy-wincy megadensy black-hole,

Sucks existence away.

Then there is that,


That of which we cannot say.

At any moment a little meteor strike,

Like that man in Bangalore,

May melt me back down,

To prime star-dust,

Ready for some more.

Or bigger yet a crater-maker

An axis-shaker.

Happened before, going to happen again.

The bus may skid.

The plane may explode.

Hyperbaric fireball.

The End of my road;

“Could happen, maybe”.

The world just goes crazy.

Is this a dagger or an empty hand?

An impact so big it shatters sand.

A polar-reversal that flips the sea.

Buttercup Buttercup allergy.

Inversely Disproportionate, Mate

It’s not an intelligence test,

Because, I have seen it sucker,

Some of the best

And brightest.

Who have always been the rightest,

Mentally Tightest.

“Fight the good fightist. “

Who’s thoughts have been blighted,

By all heard and told and sighted,

On the screens that scream that droning routine:

Distorting free-thinking people INTO The Machine.

The Ancient “Super” or “Doofus” Polarity

“Am I being sweet or sour?” is one of the greatest questions one can ask oneself; as between these poles lays nigh on the entire span of human moral experience.

The Great Stoics instruct us to aim to always be in this state of self-examination and battle about virtue and vice. In Dharma, it is the distinction between Suka and Duka. We all know it, we all get it when we think about it. I find I never get close to that lofty ideal of a constancy of practice, thought practice I try.

Part of this practice is developing a kind repertoire of extra polarities that I can use throughout my day. Humans using tools. Distinctions and choices that are in a sense more fine-tuned than the all-encompassing “Sweet or Sour”.

There are three essential polarities that I practice getting more skilled in, and they reap immediate benefit and direction. They are:

“Am I serving myself or others here?”

“Am I acting out of love or fear here?”

“Am I being a warrior or a wimp here?”

Potent stuff, methinks! Enjoy!

Dear Youngsters

Dear Youngsters,

I worry about tech,
The effect it has on you.
And everything you do.
These everywhere technologies.
Your growing brains. 
Evolving personalities.
The time sink.
Lifelong digital ink.
Addictive compulsions and empty consumptions
The absolute, and terrifying, reversals of importance.

Youngsters, know this,
The science is in:
Attention splitting is attention spoiling.
That new alert ping.
Some virtual ker-ching.
Duel screening.
These things spoil your focus and flow.
And we do not know, 
As it is all so new, 
The effect this will have on how you will do the things you will do,
Or not.

And what about your sense of self?
Inflated/deflated, over and over.
The ego smack-crack conditioning.
The social media me-asma.
It makes you feel important,
But it is not, and yet, you are so,
So, so so important…
And so is your time, and his and hers and theirs and mine.

You must chose the choices you must choose,
And nobody can really help you but you,
But you can help yourself and see,
To me, where is the toxicity of this technology?

We cannot stop now,
But we can control,
And cut down,
And own,
And be able to be as we walk down the street a being in the moment.
Who is here, who is present in this gift; 
Outside the brains of the servers.

There is a game out here,

That you can play more.
It has feel and fun and it is ripe and it is raw.
It has reality and value and consequence.
Game over.
Life well lived.
Game well played.
Was that time well spent?
Did I just thrive then?
If this was my last, would I do that again?

Dear Youngsters,

I’m done now.
I stop,
I have only this to say:

This is the shortest game you will ever play.


Lugol’s has a history that spans nearly 200 years. In that time it has gone from being in every first-aid kit and doctor’s bag to being almost unheard of. I remember using it to purify water in Cubs in the 1970s – I do not remember being warned of its over-use. Now it is considered scary as a medicine, supplement or skin treatment.

Iodine is my most recent chemical conversion (I think the last was MSM, two years ago) and I am 100% convinced that every household should have some. Lugol’s Solution is a mixture of potassium iodide and iodine in distilled water and it has been in use for nearly 200 years. Lugol’s is considered by iodine literate doctors and health experts to be the best, and most useful, form of iodine.

I have become pretty iodine informed in the last few months and I think that iodine supplementation is one of the most significant parameters that we can easily change to improve general health. It is an essential element, essential to so many processes. It is an element that modern farming has removed from the soil and thus billions of people over the world are biologically suboptimal due to this lacking.

It was added to bread and salt until the 1970’s and, even after my research, it remains a mystery as to why it was removed. What is clear to me is that there are now not really any vectors for iodine to get into our bodies from food. Moreover, there is a clear propaganda against this element and a suppression of its benefits to biology. The world is, to quote others, “iodinephobic”.


I have 15% Lugol’s and take maybe about 4 drops a week (0.015 grams). This is orders of magnitude more iodine than the critically low RDA (0.00015 of a gram) and it is much less than the people taking a gram or more a week. I have been looking at the history of iodine and it seems people took it lots in the past, it was even in chewing gum for kids. Incidentally, the term “cretin” refers to an iodine-deficient child.

I am a member of a number of online iodine communities and the stories you hear of people taking loads and loads of iodine are insane.

Scary, but in a sense reassuring. People saying:

“My thyroid is swelling!”

“That is because it is so starved of iodine, it is swelling up to take as much iodine as possible in! Keep taking it! It will go down!”


“I feel terrible on this!”

“That is the toxins, like Bromine, which are being washed out of your cells by the new iodine! Keep taking it!”

And there are so many success stories. Maybe these two are success stories? The point is, many people take huge amounts of iodine and the science does back up the kinds of advice given above, counter-intuitive and scary, though it may seem.


In conclusion, I think that taking Lugol’s is probably a good idea for most people, even as just a self-experiment for a month or two (As said, it’s great in a first aid kit, and will last indefinitely).

If you have been low on iodine for decades the change due to supplementation could be profound. Perhaps that low energy you experience was because of low iodine, therefore low thyroid hormone, therefore reduced mitochondrial energy production, therefore fatigue. Add the element, the process improves. This is just one of the many ways iodine optimisation might really give you a boost and benefit.

An elemental change in your wellbeing.

Thanks for reading!

The Ancestral Squat

Nearly three years ago I started to get a pretty regular bad back. Apparently these kind of things happen as we age (Whowouldathought). I really didn’t want to get a bad back, and knew I didn’t want to go to a gym to build core strength, nor really did I want to commit to rigorous home exercise, even  on the awesome rowing machine I have. I am that exercisephobic!

I wanted that muscular strength that holds your spine together correctly, preventing the kinds of problems that age brings to skeletons. So my challenge was, as it often is:

What is the optimal (least time/energy/cost/risk) way, for me, to increase a system variable (my torso/core strength and flexibility)?

I tried yoga (again) and kind of liked it, but I just cannot be doing with that location based commitment. Which is not skilful, but it is how I am and I know in the long run it wouldn’t work out. And it didn’t. One day I will have a robot yoga teacher in the garage and that will be fine. Until then, I needed a solution.

I came up with two things, and I still do them, and think I always will. One is to commit to fifty press-ups a day and the other is to sit lots and lots in an ancestral squat (as I am now).

Sitting in this way brings system-wide benefit. It has been described as the perfect posture and I can see why. My back certainly agrees.

But it is not just the skeletomuscular benefit. Squatting is good for digestion and blood flow and for doing things on the ground; it is functionally great. It is the ancestral way of sitting. Before that, with primates, it was the evolutionary optimal way of sitting, just as they all (?) still sit today.

One new realisation you will develop if you try sitting in an ancestral squat in public is that there is, I suspect, a colonial prejudice against the practice: the native squat, the Indian squat and, of course, “looking like you are taking a crap in the woods”. I largely refuse to kow-tow to such prejudice against this wonderful skill, tool and benefit.

Unless you have some known physical reason that makes it clear to you that you cannot squat, you will be able to squat, probably sooner rather than eventually. It took me, I think, about three days to be able to sit flat and comfortable. With others it can take a couple of weeks because the tendons need to be stretched. One suggestion here is to use a book or chopping board as a platform for your heels until you can go down into a full squat. I would be surprised if there was anyone, of any age, who couldn’t sit in a proper squat within a month of properly trying.

If you have decided to take the fight to your wellbeing then practicing and using the ancient squat is one of those rare things, like nasal breathing or checking one’s focus, that one can do pretty much anywhere with not even a time cost! As said, such gifts are super-rare.

Finally, on that thought, squatting isn’t the only beneficial way to sit. There is also kneeling and (half)lotus, these positions that allow us to keep our back straight, because that is exercising it, and that is creating strength and suppleness.

Whether at home in secret or out in public, The Ancestral Squat  is a really good tool in one’s wellbeing war preparations.

The Warrior Stance towards wellbeing

How should we approach our wellbeing?

What stance should we take?

Primarily, I think we have two options:


One is to not engage with the issue, which is to admit both defeat and to admit to accepting a wider and long-term negativity in our lives. That might seem a stark reduction, but when you strip it down, I think that is the outcome of not being bothered about our wellbeing. It becomes a wellbeing nihilism that somehow reasons out that “I won’t mind being Ill” and so on…


The other stance is what has been called “The Warrior Stance”; which is to take a confrontational and stoic approach towards our own wellbeing. To choose to fight to take care of ourselves.

There might be other approaches but, in my opinion, the only choice that comes out of rationally reasoning about my own health and wellbeing and options is to take The Warrior Stance.

What is The Warrior Stance?

Essentially TWS is two modes of action aimed at optimising our being and wellbeing, The Smarts and The Skills needed for optimum health and energy and focus and enjoyment with minimum… fuss.


The first mode, the smarts, is primarily about the understanding and acceptance of these five principles:

  1. Time is short and precious.
  2. Good experiences are precious.
  3. We cannot directly change much about the world.
  4. We can directly change much about ourselves and our experiences.
  5. It is unskillful to waste the precious.

In a sense, this mode is about convincing yourself that you should learn the skills and smarts to fight for your wellbeing based just on those five principles.

But…if this doesn’t convince you then you could consider the economic costs to you and yours of not looking after  yourself. Or consider the strain on loved ones, or the drain on the state,  that is the result of not looking after oneself. Finally, consider all the people who have lived, or live, without the opportunity that you have right now to strive to improve your wellness, is there not some kind of moral imperative not to miss the opportunity that most people with Google and Amazon have right now?

We should strive to improve our wellbeing. Is this not a no-brainer?

I think it is, I imagine any reasonable reader, who isn’t in self-destruct mode, would also come up with the same conclusion pretty quickly. Additionally, I think it is a no-brainer that we should try to enjoy this striving:)

Perhaps, in essence, this is the attitude of The Warrior Stance:

To fight and to enjoy the fight and to realise and train for the fact the fight will mostly be against ourselves #pringles.


The second mode of The Warrior Stance to wellbeing is about the understanding and practice of skills aimed at optimising our health, energy, mentality, outcomes… and so on. The things that make us honestly answer “Yes!” to the question, “Are you well?”.

These skills do not just stand in isolation, rather they are integrated and informed together and linked in with our growing understanding of what we learn and experience with our progress.

These skills should be practised efficiently: Not Wasting Time is, itself, a key skill.

There is so much information out there, and I will be writing shortly on how best to approach that. A guiding principle  to decide which areas to consider as the next thing I want to understand and, maybe practice, is to try to assess things in terms of their:

  • Cost (time/money/focus)
  • Risk (We should be prudent with risk, I think. Not reckless)
  • Benefit (potential and actual and enjoyment)

There are sup’s out there I would love to try but just cannot afford.

There are vitamins that have significant risk and others that are close to harmless. I won’t take the former.

Of key importance to this practice is the Smarts that: Some things for me will work out differently to some things for you.  This is not an off the wall statement but a fundamental biological outcome of the way we are genetically and lifestylewise. Understanding this illuminates so much of the confusion that can confront one once they start looking at health and wellbeing information online.

The Warrior Stance is, in part about navigating this for yourself, finding out what is good information and good practice for you. All Are Different.

Even so, perhaps, luckily, there are some things that seem to be absolute no-brainers for almost everyone on the planet. These are the things I focus on with my coaching and the things I think we would all benefit from optimising. Things like:

  • Getting Enough Sleep
  • Getting Enough Sunlight
  • Not Eating Always
  • Increasing Heart Rate
  • Being Well Hydrated

TWS Mindset

Linking together all of the wellbeing practices needs to be a foundation of mental Fortitude. East and west, old and new, Fortitude is considered one of the great virtues. Its practice is not always easy, as we know, but the benefits are huge and deep.

We all can be weak-willed, we all know how souring this can be.

In terms of optimising wellbeing, weak will will be one of our biggest adversaries. In this fight for our wellbeing, we are ultimately fighting ourselves.  If you are considering embracing TWS towards your wellbeing then I really urge that you face to yourself and acknowledge your weakness of will and, kinda, let it know that you are going to strive to eliminate it. This is good practice, I think.

I should say, absolutely, it is important that the stark, but relatively optimistic, reality of the wellbeing war ahead of you, inside of you,  needs to be tempered with lightheartedness about the fight. You need to be able to say “**** it” and let it go and embrace cake and crips and all of that.

Also, you need to remind yourself that, although your wellbeing is really, really important to you, so are your friends and family. I suggest we don’t let our inner, fun, wellbeing battles become the annoyances of others. I have been that guy and after a couple of fermented apple juices, I might be again!:P

Finally, it is not skilful warrior training to fret about wellbeing issues.

Be a Warrior, not a worrier. Woop Woop!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this please subscribe to my Wellbeing Philosophy Newsletter at:

The Benefits Of Skipping Breakfast

I am currently writing a talk to give about minimal efforts for optimum wellbeing. One of the key strategies I recommend is to skip breakfast. I would say that after getting good sleep, this is the biggest benefit approach with the lowest time/money/stress cost that one can take (other contenders for this, to me, currently, would be replacing missing minerals and balancing macros…).

Going from teatime to lunchtime without eating is a very natural, evolved state. It is a state in which the body changes how it does things. It is the very minimal start of the fasting state that brings such benefits, especially in our over-consuming world.

To personify the human body, it says to itself:

“OK, potential promlemmo, there might be low nutrient and low energy times ahead. I have evolved for this over hundreds of millions of years (some of these kind of “fasting systems” seem to exist in all vertebrate life, other, higher-order, ones are very mammalian). I need to perform better mentally and physically to solve this problem, and I need to start using my stored energy (fat) and nutrients (stored in fat and old cells) to facilitate this.”.

It is generally accepted that sixteen hours without energy is the minimal fast. If you last eat at seven PM and have nothing until lunch at one, that’s an eighteen hour fast, right there. Thus it begins…

It is easy to think that surely just the start of a fast cannot bring anything like the benefits of a more “complete” fast. This kind of thinking overlooks the fact that nature seems to optimise at the start (eg Pareto principle, square laws and evolutionary jumps) and so we should expect the benefit to be disproportionately significant at the start of the fasting process. Which I think it is: I belive you will get more fasting benefit from the first 16 hours than the last sixteen hours of any fast.

There is dispute and disclarity about the gradient of benefit from fasting. Is it best to have one five day fast once a year or one day fast once a month or a minimum fast every day? There is much to be debated there, for sure. Where there is little dispute is about the benefits of fasting in itself. All who know agree, they are many, and many are very potent.

I believe that these are the key benefits, the reasons why, by far, most adults should fast. Before I list and briefly discuss them let me say that these are what I consider to be root, systemic benefits. Together these will lead on to the many observed benefits, such as better cardiovascular efficiency, insulin sensitivity or concentration.

Fasting changes things at a systemic level:

Metabolism shifts down.

Hormones balance and readjust. Insulin drops. Grehlin and Leptin (Hunger hormones) responses begin to reset.

The immune system ramps up; because it no longer needs to be involved in digestion, via the lymphatic system. Especially true with movement.

The liver and kidneys and other organs have a chance for respite, to heal the damage of the oxidative stress, and the waste, of metabolism.

The microbiome tends towards a more stable balance.

Fasting changes things at a cellular level:

Autophagy ramps up dramatically (and more than by any other influence). Every cell checks itself and, if it is damaged, it eats itself, recycling its parts as new nutrients for new cells.

Stem-cell production, even in the elderly, increases naturally (especially when combined with exercise).

Mictochondrial efficiency is directly improved by fasting. The tiny, tiny engines of our lives become more efficient at energy production. They also become more efficient at fat utilisation.

Fasting increases neurogenesis, the process by which new brain cells and connections are created, boosting neuroplasticity and reducing cognitive decline. Until fairly recently it was not known that this occurred. Now it is known, and it is accelerated by fasting, more than by any other cofactor.

Fasting changes things at a personal level

I expect we all know this common behavioral pattern in the Western world:

“I am hungry, therefore, I must eat something”  #justcheckingthefridge

Even the shortest fast forces us to make a choice about this, and I believe, this is of tremendous benefit to mental Fortitude. You also quickly learn that often what you thought was hunger was craving, especially for carbs. You learn that hunger never stays around that long on a fast. It comes in waves and the peak is not lasting.

One thing about the mental aspect of fasting is that you have to be prepared for defeat and not let defeat stop you fasting. This is the practicing Resolve. Just last week I started the day thinking I would do a 24 hour fast. It was soon dropped down to no morning eating (NoAm/16 hour). By eleven I had eaten a glutinous amount of crisps. Salt And Vinegar. Human Fail. You get back on the horse, innit.

In this day and age of runaway consumption, we are bombarded with consumption cues (tanha) that we either chose to resist or we give in to. Practicing that resistance and resilience is a key aspect of stoic training, dharma practice and virtuous living, in general. Good skills backed by good smarts. That is what we want, I think.

Why would you not skip breakfast?

Skipping Breakfast, a sixteen hour fast, is demonstrably of immense benefit to you. If you believe that you need breakfast because you have been told so, that is a belief worth testing for yourself. Fast has huge benefits and sixteen hours is going to be the very begging of these processes. Processes that are increasing en mass, and system-wide. After a day or two they will be functioning at capacity for healing and system optimisation and this will continue for at least a few more days (3 days is my max). Of course,  there a clear benefit in taking the fast past sixteen hours, but this does not mean there won’t be huge benefits to regular breakfast skipping.

In my opinion, and this is not something I can back up as it is my own conclusion, but given that biological systems optimise in parreto/square-law/step-evolutionary ways, we should expect for the first sixteen hours of any fast to be more beneficial than the last sixteen hours. That seems reasonable and plausible.

Why would you not?

There are, in fact, only three reasons why skipping breakfast might be unwise. One is personal weakness due to conditioned (from self and others/media/etc) expectations, the next is a critical human weakness to mouth-pleasure and the third is a medical reason, though I cannot think of any that could really prevent skipping breakfast.

Bloat, Faff and Pantomime

I think that there are three common distortions that affect non emerged/evolved systems, such as public institutions, businesses and information systems.

  • Bloat – This is where the system expands in multiple inefficient ways which, in combination, produce a holistic inefficiency that is often both hidden and immense.
  • Faff – This is where the time cost of processing information is greater than the comparative benefit of the actual information.
  • Pantomime – This is where the system adopts behaviours that bring no benefit to the system other than to make other systems perceive the system as being beneficial.

So, there you have it: avoid, prevent and extinguish.