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What Ayahuasca was Like for Me

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“This might not be enjoyable,” Nic cautioned. “Ayahuasca isn’t a trip. It’s medicine that forces you to perform deep spiritual work. You may seem some dark images.”

“The medicine” is what shamans and experienced users like Nic Gabriel call ayahuasca, a powerful entheogen derived from a vine found in the Amazon. The medicine is spoken of with only the highest reverence.

“The medicine will show you whatever you need to see. It will bring out whatever you need to work on the most. But you will leave the experience a better person.”

The medicine showed me my fears.

Before taking ayahuasca, you must begin cleansing your body and mind. You’re not supposed to ingest any caffeine or eat any dairy. You want your stomach to be empty when you take the medicine.

More than that, you must prepare your mind for the medicine. I spent several hours alone hiking while thinking about whether my life is where it needs to be. I focused on my goals, and more deeply, my shortcomings and inadequacies and insecurities – and yes, my fears.

“Who are you running from?”

During an intense hike at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, I stopped to rest and drink some water. A man was there with his wife and children. Seeing me sit down exhausted, he said, “Who are you running from?”

Myself, I responded. He gave me a knowing smirk.

Ayahuasca in the mountains South Africa

Focus your intent.

“What is your intent when taking the medicine,” the shaman asked as we gathered around a fire. “You may answer silently, but you must focus your intent.”

My intent when taking the medicine was to face my fear of taking ayahuasca.

My biggest fear is losing control of my mind. We all identify ourselves in various ways, and while I may be handsome to some, I don’t think of myself as a big guy or cool guy. I think of myself as a smart guy with a strong self of mental fortitude.

The medicine strips away the illusion of control. I wrote the book on How to Control Your Thoughts and Emotions. Fighting a medicine far more power than a human’s free will scared me.

Facing my fears.

Fear occurs when we leave the present moment, as fear is based on our perception that a bad outcome with occur.

As fear set in, I performed more and more sets of Wim Hof breathing exercises. Fear occurs when you lose control of your breath, and by controlling your breath you maintain control of your fear.

The day of the ceremony, Nic and I both stretched. He did a bunch of Yoga and I did 10 Wim Hof breaths while holding stretches.

We were ready.

The ayahuasca ceremony.

The shaman holding the ceremony was sensible and didn’t ruin it with woo-woo nonsense. By possessing ayahuasca, many men for the first time in their lives have power. They use this power to create lengthy, silly rituals.

Our shaman was different. His ceremony was simple. We sat around the fire, stated our intent, and then went inside the temple to take the medicine.

Ayahuasca temple

He gave us each one shot of the medicine. After around 30 minutes, nothing had happened. He asked me if I’d like another.

The fear set in. I could walk away with my ego intact. “You showed up. It doesn’t work.” That was my way out.

Looking for a way out emerged as a theme during the night. I was looking for a way out, and had to overcome that fear-based mindset before taking my third shot as well.

My two mantras – Be Open, Embrace Pain.

While facing the fear, I controlled my breath and repeated my two mantras: “I open myself up to the universe and all of its possibilities.” That is my statement of acceptance. I also reminded myself, “Growth is painful,” which is a way to reframe a painful experience as a positive, powerful one.

The Smiling Monkey.

The medicine hit everyone before it hit me, and it hit them harder. From where I was laying Nic appeared to the shaman, “This is some strong medicine.” Nic’s face was outlined by the luminance of a lamp. His expression was one of pure joy, and he looked like a smiling monkey.

Facing my fear eliminated the fear.

My ayahuasca journey was a positive one. While seeing fractals and chakras while meditating, no dark images appeared from my unconscious.

Instead, the medicine brought out issues I had overcome and showed me ways to improve my life.

Yes, it’s true that I’m a fearful person. Few realize this, as I face those fears. There’s a rule to follow, “If this makes you afraid, do it.”

I wrote an entire book on fear in my head while on Ayahuasca. I pictured the book cover and outlined every chapter. Maybe I’ll write a book on fear after my next couple of books come out.

Our fears never leave, but they lose power once we face them.

Some of our fears are real. If we see a rattlesnake about to bite us, we can and should fell feel.

Yet most of our fears are artificial. They are socially derived.

We feel rejection, which is a fear that others will view us as being beneath them. This fear prevents us from taking action. But what happens when you face the fear? Will being rejected harm you in the way a snake bite would? Only if you let it.

When you see a path leading two ways, always remember that danger is play.

Table Mountain India Venster trail

I left the ceremony feeling stronger.

The secret to my success is that I don’t think as highly of myself as you do of me. Compliments still leave me shaking my head. “Why would anyone listen to me?”

Confronting my fears and life obstacles one-by-one, I realized that feeling feel is nothing to be ashamed of, and that fear is not a weak emotion.

Fear gives us the opportunity to push through limits. We aren’t afraid of the known. We are afraid of the dangerous and unknown.

How do you face your fears? Become open to the world and its possibilities, and when life hurts, as it invariably will, remind yourself, “Growth is painful.”

The best views will always be at the top.

Mike Cernovich Table Mountain South Africa

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Mindset

Blood Work for Men

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Women live longer than men because women go to the doctor. Sure there is more to it than that, but it’s also true that if a woman sees a mole or something, she’s calling the dermatologist. Men accept “aches and pains” as sign they are growing old and never see a doctor until it’s too late.

Part of taking care of yourself is getting regular blood work done (at least once a year) and knowing how to read your own blood work. The most important tests for men health are testosterone levels, cholesterol levels, fasting glucose levels, and Vitamin D.

  • As always, never undergo a diet or exercise regime without a doctor’s supervision!

Yes, you have to learn how to read your own labs because most doctors won’t order the full male anti-aging lab work you need (insurance companies often won’t cover a full panel), and if when doctors do order full labs, they only look to see if you’re with “range.”

Take testosterone levels for example. My own recent blood works shows I am within range, and even have a healthy overall testosterone level. But I’m at the bottom 20% percentile for free testosterone. (Isn’t it funny that people often accuse me of having ‘roid rage. I’m actually low T!)

Let’s go into my own blood work.

Testosterone levels.

Here is what the lab work looks like. Does it sound confusing? Fret not.

This testosterone lab result shows my testosterone levels are 538.8 ng/dL.

500 ng/DL is considered a healthy level by most general physicians who tell you to eat according to the Food Pyramid. It’s also the magic number to get TRT.

  • See, “Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Playing Catch-up With Patients
  • Although there is no consensus on an absolute number that defines a low testosterone level, concern exists that there are economic incentives to raise the bar for normal and thereby increase the potential market for testosterone-raising products. Many commercial avenues for the treatment of low T do not follow the standards of the established medical community. Some websites suggest screening for low T with total and free testosterone levels for all men aged > 40 years. Others advise men to consider TRT if they have a total testosterone level of < 500 ng/dL or a free testosterone level that is not in the upper one-third range for men aged 21 to 49 years.

Even though my testosterone is within the average range, but the biological marker that matters is free testosterone.

  • Free Testosterone(Direct) 9.5 NORMAL

The range for free testosterone is 6.8-21.5 pg/mL. A level of 9.5 pg/mL is in the low range of testosterone.

Of course if you go to the doctor and get labs ordered, it’s unlikely he or she will even order a test for free testosterone.

And unless you ask for your results, the doctor is only going to look to see if you’re within range.

You can have low testosterone or have other issues even if you’re within range.

Cholesterol levels.

The scientific consensus on cholesterol levels and heart attack risk is a mess. First they said high cholesterol would lead to a heart attack. Then they said your HDL (high density lipoprotein) levels should be used to offset your overall levels. Now…. They don’t know.

Here is the latest on cholesterol and heart attack risk according to the Mayo Clinic:

For predicting your risk of heart disease, many doctors now believe that determining your non-HDL cholesterol level may be more useful than calculating your cholesterol ratio.

And either option appears to be a better risk predictor than your total cholesterol level or even your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level. Non-HDL cholesterol, as its name implies, simply subtracts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol number from your total cholesterol number. So it contains all the “bad” types of cholesterol.

An optimal level of non-HDL cholesterol is less than 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.37 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Higher numbers mean a higher risk of heart disease.

To calculate your cholesterol ratio, divide your total cholesterol number by your HDL cholesterol number. So if your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L) and your HDL is 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L), your ratio would be 4-to-1. Higher ratios mean a higher risk of heart disease.

My HDL level is 65 and my total cholesterol level is 199.

  • 199 / 65 = 3.06

According to available consensus, I have a less than half the risk of a heart attack:

The Framingham Heart Study states that the following cholesterol ratios roughly signal different degrees of heart disease risk:

Men

5.0 = average risk

3.4 = half the average risk

9.6 = twice the average risk

HOWEVER…..

Because I have had my labs measured for years, I see that my LDL levels increased.

2013 cholesterol levels:

  • Total 132
  • Triglycerides 41
  • HDL cholesterol 45
  • VLDL cholesterol 8
  • LDL cholesterol 79

Because I’ve tracked my blood work since 2013, I see that my LDL went up, spiking my total cholesterol level. Basically because I’ve eaten like a fat ass all year while still exercising.

HDL levels go up when you exercise aggressively.

Fasting Glucose

Fasting glucose levels (measured in two ways) are more important that cholesterol levels. Your fasting glucose levels on a blood test will show you your risk for diabetes.

  • Glucose 89 ….. NORMAL 65-99 mg/dL

89 is good, especially as my levels in 2013 were 84.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

  • A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes. If it’s 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes.

I also had my Hemoglobin A1c labs done:

  • Hemoglobin A1c 4.9

That’s a freaking good number according to Mayo:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test, which doesn’t require fasting, indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you’ll have with sugar attached. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes. Below 5.7 is considered normal.

I’ve still cut the carbs down largely because my diet is a disaster as anyone who follows my Instagram knows.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D levels should be in the 50 ng/mL range.

My result was 40.1 ng/mL range.

No big deal, I’ll start taking 5,000 iu’s of Vitamin D a day for a month or two and also make sure to get some more sunshine.

Misc blood work / lab results

Each person is different and your blood will tell the tale.

A full lab shows more than just tesosterone levels, and looks like this:

CBC With Differential/Platelet WBC 5.6 NORMAL 3.4-10.8 x10E3/uL 01 RBC 4.60 NORMAL 4.14-5.80 x10E6/uL 01

Hemoglobin 14.1 NORMAL 13.0-17.7 g/dL 01

Hematocrit 42.4 NORMAL 37.5-51.0 % 01

MCV 92 NORMAL 79-97 fL 01 MCH 30.7 NORMAL 26.6-33.0 pg 01

MCHC 33.3 NORMAL 31.5-35.7 g/dL 01 RDW 13.2 NORMAL 12.3-15.4 % 01

Platelets 286 NORMAL 150-450 x10E3/uL 01 Neutrophils 38 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01

Lymphs 44 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01

Monocytes 14 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01 Eos 3 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01 Basos 0 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01

Neutrophils (Absolute) 2.1 NORMAL 1.4-7.0 x10E3/uL 01

Lymphs (Absolute) 2.5 NORMAL 0.7-3.1 x10E3/uL 01

Monocytes(Absolute) 0.8 NORMAL 0.1-0.9 x10E3/uL 01 Eos (Absolute) 0.2 NORMAL 0.0-0.4 x10E3/uL 01

Baso (Absolute) 0.0 NORMAL 0.0-0.2 x10E3/uL 01

Immature Granulocytes 1 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01

Immature Grans (Abs) 0.0 NORMAL 0.0-0.1 x10E3/uL 01

How to Get Blood Work Done.

I get the Male Anti-Aging Panel from Private MD Labs here.

Past experiences with doctors have shown that they won’t order the full labs, and when they do, they often won’t send you the full records.

I also like that I can log into a dashboard and get all of my blood work for over half a decade.

This is what the dashboard looks like. I have all of my data in one place, and they don’t charge you an annual fee to keep it stored here, unlike many of the new “health apps.”

The Male Anti-Aging Panel is comprehensive and covers every test I mentioned above and a lot more.

I get the Male Anti-Aging Panel done once every 12-18 months, because it’s expensive (your health is worth it), and I get a smaller test done more frequently as needed.

HEALTHY12 usually works as a 12% off coupon code. I used it on my last test and it worked.

What to do about Testosterone Levels.

Go see a doctor who specializes in male hormone optimization. Don’t waste your time with a General Practitioner unless you have a good relationship with him and her and they won’t give you any static.

TRT is around $80 a month.

Now there’s a lot of disinformation about TRT, and my answer is that I don’t care if you go see a doctor about TRT.

Lifting Weights + TRT Saved Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Life

I don’t have all day to hand hold cry babies who believe the lies.

Get your labs done, take care of your health, and talk to a doctor.

And listen to this podcast:

The Complete Guide to Fasting for Fat Loss, Increased Focus, and Spirituality

However also know that most of what you read online about how to “naturally raise testosterone levels” is bullshit as are those over-the-counter “testosterone boosters.”

If you enjoyed this article about men’s health, read Gorilla Mindset, which covers mindset and physical health.

Get Gorilla Mindset here.

Supplements I take for overall Men’s Health

Vasky – a vasodilator.

Vasodilators are medications that open (dilate) blood vessels. They affect the muscles in the walls of your arteries and veins, preventing the muscles from tightening and the walls from narrowing. As a result, blood flows more easily through your vessels. Your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard, reducing your blood pressure.

As the great Dr. Brett Osborn is fond of saying, “You’re only as old as your blood vessels.”

Vasodilators open up your blood vessels, leading to improved circulation. (But you have to see a doctor because you may have bleeding issues and a vasodilator could be harmful!)

Vasodilators also improve blood flow to other parts of the body if you know what I mean.

Vasky Is from MTS Nutrition and you can get it here.

3 cans of sardines a week.

Sardines are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart.

Other people take fish oil, although some evidence suggests the body doesn’t absorb the Omega 3’s from fish oil as well as it does from whole fish. (Some idiot is going to scare monger about mercury and just go away because that’s disinformation and we don’t have time for that here.)

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is one of the few supplements the straight-laced Mayo Clinic recommends:

Heart conditions. CoQ10 has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. Although findings are mixed, CoQ10 might help reduce blood pressure. Some research also suggests that when combined with other nutrients, CoQ10 might aid recovery in people who’ve had bypass and heart valve surgeries. Parkinson’s disease. Early research suggests that high doses of CoQ10 might be beneficial for people in the early stages of this progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.

DHEA

DHEA is less important than testosterone, but it’s still an important male hormone. Some evidence suggests that DHEA is good for bone health.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the most important supplement men (and women) can take.

Read the full fact sheet here:

Magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids and laxatives). Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is also a must-have supplement. Read the full fact sheet here:

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.

Gorilla Mind Smooth.

Gorilla Mind Smooth is a stimulant-free focusing agent.

I take it most days, and sometimes stack it with Rush (as when I need to get a lot of writing done). Get it here.

Books to Read on Men’s Health

I only recommend two, because they are the best.

Get Serious by Dr. Brett Obsorn is the best general book on health and fitness for men.

The Testosterone Optimization Therapy Bible by Jay Campbell is the best book on testosterone and other specialized subjects.

Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich is the best overall book on mindset + good living.

Stay healthy friends!

This article is probably a lot of reading, and yet it’s only part of the knowledge you need to live a full and complete life.

If you have any questions, post them below!

P.S. If you made it this far, you deserve a reward. Use GM10 at checkout to save 10% on your full order at Gorilla Mind here.

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Mindset

Podcast – How to Win Big By Starting Small

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For a while I wanted to start a podcast focusing on a lot of issues you want to know more about, and finding the right people to work with is something I take my time doing.

We already have Jay back with the best health and fitness information you’ll get anywhere.

And Alex and Ed have done seminars with me.

What about the entrepreneurial podcast, though…

I’ve had more failures than successes, and needed someone to balance me out who has had more successes than failures, and also someone who had expertise in areas I didn’t.

(That’s how partnership works. There’s no reason to work with your twin. You partner with people who have complementary skills.)

A guy came down for a cigar night and seemed OK.

I tend to like people right away and work with them, or not.

Sometimes it leads me into some issues (as with my first film), but more often my instincts are right and it pays off.

(I had a bad feeling about the guy I did my first film with, but it was too late at that point.)

He said, “Wanna start a podcast?”

Sure.

And Mindset Squared was created.

What are we going to talk about?

Well Mike brought down a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s 23 to compare with Yamazaki 18, so there will be some “good life” stuff for sure.

And also business and other subjects.

You can listen to all of the Mindset Squared episodes here:

You can listen to our most recent episode below:

Or watch the video here:

And bookmark this page to stay updated on all matters podcast related.

Mike Cernovich Podcasts

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Mindset

Listen to the first two chapters of the Gorilla Mindset audiobook for free

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Listen and if you like it, buy it at Audible here.

Gorilla Mindset: Introduction

Gorilla Mindset Chapter 1: Mindset is a Conversation

 

Gorilla Mindset audiobook reviews

Gorilla Mindset has over 1,400 ratings.

  • Essentials of mindset & lifestyle in one book
  • Gorilla Mindset is a series of mindset and lifestyle shifts that you can adopt in your life to get more of what you want. The audiobook helps you take your Gorilla Mindset training to the next level if you are working the paperback/kindle as well.
  • Just what I needed Some really great stuff in here about shifting your mindset from accepting life to doing something about it.
  • Self awareness Loved this book now I can see myself, or be more aware of myself. Thank you Mike.
  • Awesome! Wow! The things we can do when we have our mind focused on dong the right things.
  • A relatable book I’ve met Mike on a couple occasions and respect how he thinks and acts with intention. When I first heard the word mindset I thought some woo woo stuff. It took me some time to realize I was mistaken. I felt this book. It resonates. Try it out.
  • Great read to start a new year off right! Gorilla Mindset was very empowering and gave me a fresh outlook on life. This book started making me feel like I’ve been standing on the sidelines of my own life and that I am capable of so much more. I am ready to put these new ideas into action.
  • You really need this book! This is a fantastic book and is well worth the read. Mike has proven with venture after venture that he knows what he is talking about and is worth listening to. Tons of helpful insights and suggestions here…if you only absorb a small percentage of them, it will still be well worth your time.
  • Listen all the way through You have to listen to all of it. There is good material and ok material throughout, even though there is likely one or more things you won’t agree with or like. It’s only about four hours long and not polished but that makes it worth listening to and real.
  • Amazing and Enlightening ! Everyone should really read this. I completed with no interruptions! Very Detailed!
  • Thought provoking Mike Cernovich brings unique insight to personal development. He’s got advice on mental and physical health as well and relationships.
  • Big Brother Advice You Never Got It’s a great book, full of practical advice and I am going to use it. I never got any direction from my parents or brothers and I’m sure my generation(GenX) as a whole didn’t either. It’s only after much toil, that I have taken a sledgehammer to the poorly self poured foundation that I have haphazardly built. The words spoken in this book are more important now than ever. Thank you for the words of wisdom.
  • open mind Even if you do not agree with all subjects he talks about, it’s a great read/listen and you will walk away learning something new. Maybe even inspired… waiting on G.M.2
  • One of the best if not the greatest book on mindset This book is everything you need to get your mind and body right. With the addition of this audiobook you can hear Mike the same way he delivers on his podcasts. Really glad to have found Cernovich ‘s writing. I’m 110% sure he’s s helped tens of thousands of people all over the world. But this if you need to get your head straight or want more out of life.

You can listen to the full audiobook here.

 

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