Tag Archives: Aging

Basis by Elysium Health: My Experience After One Year

I previously wrote a post when I started using Basis by Elysium Health exactly one year ago today. I wanted to update with my experience using this product over the last year. My old post includes a link to request a working coupon code that will give you a FREE month with your first order–with a prepaid subscription of 6 months or longer. FYI, the discount will not show up in your cart until AFTER you have created an account by entering in your address, email address, etc.

My experience has overall been quite positive. It is a bit odd to try to quantify this, since it is almost entirely subjective. I prefer to use hard science when possible, but I have little in the way of evidence to offer (my numbers on my annual physical exam were better this year than last year, but I have also done other things such as cut sugar entirely out of my diet–no more cheat day!–in that time frame, and the numbers could just as easily be due to those positive changes). So, my anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of Basis boils down to this: I feel better. I think I look better (and many others agree). I actually turned 50 a few months ago, and people commonly tell me that they assumed I was in my late 30s. My skin seems to be slightly more elastic. I put on muscle a bit more easily ( I notice gains in the gym quickly). My endurance is heightened–I commonly do an hour on the elliptical when I visit the gym, with no difficulty (no shortness of breath and no lingering fatigue). I sleep better. I actually feel for the first time what people might call a “spring in my step”–I walk lightly and with ease–although this could of course be chalked up to the fact that I have developed stronger thighs and calf muscles. All of these things are inextricably linked, and I can’t narrow them down to any one factor (is the spring in my step due to Basis or due to the increased muscularity of my legs–and, if it is my leg muscles, are they bigger now because of the Basis? It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg conundrum).

Although I cannot say definitively that these positive changes are due to taking Basis, I can say that I believe that they are at least partly due to my year-long twice-daily dose of Basis. If you would like to try it for yourself, you can get a free month by contacting me and requesting an invitation.

Edit to say: sorry to anyone who has tried to contact me recently! I just discovered my contact form was not working correctly. Please try again.

Pure For Men Is Not a Scam, but It IS a Rip-off—Save Your Money!

If you have opened Grindr or spent much time looking at the gay press lately, you have probably seen some ads pop up for a new product called “Pure for Men”. It is a product that promises to “Keep your runway clear for landing” (a clever tag line—these guys are great at marketing—which is good, since the success of their product is mostly due to that marketing). Pure for Men is basically a bulking laxative that promises to make your bowel movements more easily and completely eliminated from your body, leaving your lower colon “clean”—and ready for bottoming. No more enemas or shower wands—several customers have said they just shower and they are good to go without any additional preparation.

Psyllium, Ground Flaxseed, and Ground Chia

Psyllium, Ground Flaxseed, and Ground Chia

Does Pure for Men work? Yes. It’s as simple as that. It is made from three natural and readily available products, Psyllium Husk (the main ingredient in many popular constipation remedies—Metamucil, for example), Chia Powder, and Flaxseed Powder. The product’s recommended dosage is 2 or 3 capsules, TWICE a day. The product has glowing reviews on Amazon, as well as on their own website.

So, I believe the product is effective, and I know that many people are happy with it (I can also personally attest that it has been effective for me), so it is definitely NOT a scam. But at the prices they are charging, I would say that it definitely qualifies as a rip-off, and I’m going to explain why, as well as explain how you can save yourself some money.

The amount of the “proprietary blend” of psyllium, chia, and flaxseed in each of the capsules is 750 mg. This makes the total amount of the product taken at one time 1500 or 2250 mg, depending on whether the customer chooses to take two or three capsules (and remember, you have to take these capsules twice each day). As of the date I am writing this, and for at least the last month or so, the price on Amazon has been $24.99 for 120 capsules, and $14.99 for 60 capsules. Taken at the rate of two capsules twice a day, the bottle of 120 would last for 30 days, and would cost 83 cents per day. If you opt for the 6 capsules per day route, that goes down to 20 days, or $1.25 per day. The smaller bottle has an even higher daily average cost ($1.00 per day at 4 capsules, $1.50 per day at 6 capsules). Given the amount of product in these capsules, and the actual cost of those readily-available products, this price is outrageous, and you can save yourself a ton of money and get the same results by simply mixing your own batch at home!

As mentioned previously, the main component of Pure for Men is plain old psyllium husk. I was able to purchase a very affordable 1.5 pound bag of ORGANIC psyllium husk on Amazon for $13.99. You can find it here (prices on Amazon update regularly in order for them to stay competitive, so the pricing may differ).  I also purchased a 3 pound bag of ground flaxseed for $13.65, and 10 ounces of organic ground chia seed for $7.84 (again, current pricing may differ).

At this point, I had to make some assumptions about the nature of Pure for Men’s “proprietary blend”. We know the three products they use, but we can use some educated guesses about their proportions. Because psyllium husk is the product most commonly used for this type of laxative/constipation product, and because it is listed first on the ingredients, it is safe to assume that the bulk of the blend is made up of psyllium husk. I assumed 60% psyllium husk, and 20% each for the other two items. If you are wondering what the reason is for including chia and flaxseed powders, we can actually look to the “questions and answers” section of the reviews on Amazon to see the answers that were posted directly by the makers of Pure for Men. They say, “Pure for Men also contains Chia and Flaxseed which are great sources of insoluble fiber – very important for the physical scrubbing-like cleaning that occurs as the supplement passes through your digestive tract.” In any case, both chia and flaxseed are known to be good for your body, with high levels of Omega-3s, so their inclusion here can only benefit you. I can also tell you that I have tried my formulation (instructions at the end) and that of Pure for Men, and the results seem identical to me.

Here comes the math! At my chosen 60/20/20 ratio, I mixed 1.5 pounds of psyllium husk ($13.99), .5 pounds of ground flaxseed ($2.28), and .5 pounds of ground chia seed ($6.27). The total cost of my batch of Pure for Men knockoff? $22.54. So, I now have 2.5 pounds of blended psyllium/chia/flaxseed. What do I do with it, and how does the cost compare to Pure for Men? Two point five pounds is equivalent to 1,134,980 milligrams. We know the dosage is two or three 750 mg capsules, so if we assume two capsules (1500 mg), the cost of the

1/4 teaspoon on the micro-scale

1/4 teaspoon on the micro-scale

same dose when you blend your own batch is 3 cents per dose or a total of 6 cents per day! At three capsules (2250 mg), the cost is 4.5 cents per dose, or 9 cents per day. That means the Pure for Men is charging you 14 or 15 TIMES what you would pay by mixing these ingredients yourself! For less than the cost of a single month of Pure for Men, you can mix up a batch of your own that will last you LONGER THAN A YEAR!

If you want to save yourself some money, here is how you can do it. Go to Amazon and buy the three products linked above (or smaller sizes, if you wish—there are plenty of options on amazon). I measured the ingredients two different ways, using sophisticated and accurate scales: by VOLUME and by WEIGHT, and I found that the density is practically negligible in this case—meaning you do not need a fancy scale, you can simply measure by volume. The easiest way to do this is to use an identical scoop for each of the items in the blend, and put three scoops of the psyllium, one scoop of the chia powder, and one scoop of the flaxseed powder, to achieve our desired 60/20/20 ratio. Once you have put the ingredients together, blend them thoroughly! I would stir them with a whisk for at least a minute to insure even distribution of all ingredients. I would freeze any leftover chia or flaxseed in an airproof container (they both have fats that will go rancid over time, especially if exposed to high temperatures or air or light). Once mixed, I put my blend into an airtight container, and I store it in the fridge.

3/4 teaspoon in the bottom of a pint glass

3/4 teaspoon in the bottom of a pint glass

The final hurdle is deciding how much to take. I have a very accurate scale that measures in 1 mg increments. However, we know that we do not have to be precise in this instance—it is not like this is actual medicine, where a tiny difference in dosage can have disastrous consequences. The makers themselves recommend anywhere between 1500 mg and 2250 mg per dose—quite a wide range! I used my scale to weigh the ingredients many different ways, and I came up with measurements that were very close by using the following method: for each capsule, assume that 750 mg is equal to a level ¼ teaspoon. I measured this multiple times, and every single time the weight of ¼ teaspoon fell between 717 mg and 789 mg. This is a 4.4% to 5 % margin of error, and in the case of psyllium (which in the case of Metamucil, for example, is dosed as “rounded teaspoons”—a completely, wildly inaccurate type of measurement!), this margin of error is entirely negligible. For the chia seed and flaxseed, which are often used as supplements in smoothies, and which make up only 20% of the total mixture, the variation is also completely negligible.

My blend mixed with small amount of water

My blend mixed with small amount of water

So: How to take this, since it is not in the admittedly handy capsules? I prefer to measure the mixture into a pint glass, add a small amount of water, stir quickly, and then down it like a shot. I then fill the glass with water, stir again to dislodge any leftover ingredients, and drink the remaining water (psyllium works by absorbing water and swelling up, so you should drink plenty of water after taking the supplement). Note: DO NOT LET THE MIXTURE SIT IN WATER! Psyllium absorbs the water quickly, and it turns into a thick, pasty, gooey, gel, and nobody wants to try to choke that down! Seriously, add the water, stir, and then down it within a few seconds! You can always avoid the gel effect by adding more water, but it will still be somewhat slimy in texture if you let it sit for long—I prefer to get it down quickly! Then follow up right after with more water to rinse it down.

Slimy Psyllium after sitting for two minutes--nobody wants this!

Slimy Psyllium after sitting for two minutes–nobody wants this! Please note–this should NEVER HAPPEN. This is why I say you should drink it QUICKLY, like a shot!

To measure the proper amount of the powder, you have several options you could use a ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon and measure two or three scoops, depending on your preference (remembering that one scoop is equivalent to one capsule). To make it easier, though, you can use a single ½ teaspoon measuring spoon to estimate two capsules, or you can buy a special measuring spoon set that includes a ¾ teaspoon measuring spoon (a rather uncommon size), and use a single scoop of that as an equivalent to 3 capsules (I use the ¾ teaspoon measurement myself, before breakfast and again before dinner.

I hope I have helped to save you some money, as well as helped to keep your runway clear 😉





BASIS by Elysium Health (including coupon code)

EDIT: If you want to receive the coupon code to receive a FREE MONTH of Elysium Basis, which is only available to friends and family, please contact me to request the link, and I will email it to you as soon as I can. Basis has changed the discount…it is no longer $10 off the first month. They are now offering a FREE month with any prepaid subscription of 6 months or 1 year. The current cost of a six month subscription is $45, which is a 25% discount off the $60 price for a single month. Combined with the free month, that brings the monthly cost down to $38.57, a significant savings.

I recently saw an article about BASIS by Elysium Health. The gist of the article is that one of the world’s Elysium BASIS anti aging supplementleading experts on aging, MIT biology professor Lenny Guarente, has banded together with some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to bring to market a product that he believes has a great deal of potential to slow the process of aging in the human body. The process of taking his drug through human trials as part of the FDA approval would take years and be very expensive, so he has chosen to get it to market by an alternate method–by packaging it as a supplement rather than as a drug, because the supplement market is much less regulated.

Instead of the actual drug, the supplement he is selling contains a precursor of the drug that allows your own body to manufacture the ultimately desired compound, which is NAD+, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. NAD+ occurs naturally in the body, but the amount of NAD+ drops steadily as people age, and an elderly person has approximately half the amount of NAD+ that would be present in a younger person’s body. The decline is similar in mice. In a study with mice, relatively elderly mice (two years old) were given NAD+, and in only one week, the tissues in their bodies appeared to be younger, similar to an adult six-month old mouse in its prime.

In order to be considered a supplement, the product has to be a naturally-occurring. The people at Elysium have chosen to include only two ingredients in their product: nicotinamide riboside 250mg (the precursor that the body will use to make its own supply of NAD+), and pterostilbene 50mg, which is a naturally-occurring polyphenol that can be found in blueberries (and which is similar to resveratrol, but which Dr. Guarente believes has the potential to be much more effective than Resveratrol at combating the effects of aging).

I was immediately interested in this product, because it does seem to have an excellent pedigree, and to be backed up with hard science, unlike many other products on the supplement market. I decided to look into the two components to see if I could beat the product’s $50 per month cost (the cost if you subscribe using the pay-as-you-go method–the product can be less expensive if you pay for a six month supply or a full year’s supply up front). What I found is that on Amazon, nicotinamide riboside costs almost as much as Elysium’s BASIS product, and when you add the cost of pterostilbene, it actually exceeds the cost of BASIS. Add to that the fact that the people at Elysium have stated that they use state-of-the-art production methods, that their product is pharmaceutical-grade, and that they plan to do their own regular safety and quality-control testing, and ordering directly from the folks at Elysium (which is the only way to get the product–they are not making it available through any other channels) became an easy choice to make. When an eminent scientist puts his reputation on the line by backing a product, that carries some weight with me.

I was not able to find a working coupon code to use, so I signed up for the full $50 per month cost (shipping is free), but I was able to register on the Elysium website and get a discount code to share. It used to get you $10 off your first purchase, but the terms of the offer have now changed. It currently gets you a free month with any prepaid subscription. I’m happy to be able to share the free month with friends and family. You can simply contact me to ask for it and I will send you the link as soon as I am able (please note: the discount will not show in the shopping cart until AFTER you have created an account using your email, address, etc.).

Will the product work? I can’t say for sure, not only because I haven’t received my first shipment yet, but because I’m not sure this is going to be the kind of thing that is actually noticeable anyway. How would I be able to tell if my cells are feeling any younger? In a way, I think it’s probably the kind of thing that you will just have to take on faith. But I have seen some reports that people have felt more energy after taking the product, including in that Fast Company Exist article that I linked to back at the top. If I feel more energetic, I’ll definitely consider that an excellent side benefit!

On the Occasion of My 45th Birthday

I turned 45 today, and my mother turned 66 (I was born on her 21st birthday, just so any of you who might be so inclined don’t have to do any subtraction). My mother and I are both overweight, just as my grandmother was before us. This year, I intend to break that cycle for good.

Although I’ve posted a few things on this site already, I mean this to be the real foundational post for my site. I was prompted to start this site when I realized how out of shape I had gotten, and I want to chronicle my progress as I get back in shape. I’m giving myself a year to do this, and I am not sticking to any specific hard-and-fast goals; instead, I’m simply saying that I want to look good shirtless by next Labor Day (2012), when I hope to go to Southern Decadence in New Orleans and celebrate.

Although my goal is loose, I do have some specific ideas about how I’m going to achieve them. First of all, I intend to permanently adapt to a “Primal” method of eating and working out. I may not get those Vibram Five Finger Shoes (which could be called Five Toe Shoes), because, even though I find them interesting and I really think they might work, I know a lot of people who find them weird or gross. I also may not get into kettlebell exercises, even though I know that’s the hot new thing in fitness (a few years ago it was balancing on giant balls). I definitely plan to walk more. Now that we have gotten through the worst of the summer weather in Austin, I plan to start doing a nightly walk around Lady Bird Lake, which offers different trails from 2 to 10 miles, depending on the loop you do and which bridges you cross. I like walking because it’s low-impact, and I still have some lingering lower back pain from a ruptured disc that was mostly repaired with spinal surgery ten years ago (although if I stress my lower back by bending or twisting in a certain way (especially while picking up something heavy), I tend to get some throbbing/shooting sciatic pain that lasts for a few days, so I tend to be pretty easygoing when it comes to exercises. It’s not that I can’t lift weights, it’s just that I’m very careful how I go about it, and I don’t do any sort of jumping or violent movements that involve bending or twisting. When I lift weights (and I intend to begin doing so again—it’s been over a year since I last went to the gym), I tend to do heavy weights with low repetitions in a slow, controlled movement, but I may change that up depending on the recommendations in the Primal Blueprint book (I’ve finished reading the first part, which covers diet and recipes, but I’ve only skimmed the exercise part). And that’s it for exercises: walking and weight-lifting, and maybe some others that I’ll decide to add after I finish the book.

For diet, I find eating a Primal diet to be quite easy. I actually started to try this in the spring, and I managed to lose about ten pounds (I think it was around ten pounds—I don’t own a scale and I don’t intend to buy one, so if I ever mention my weight, it’s something I’ve learned on the scale at the gym). Based on my current body composition and the fit of my clothes (I’m not quite at the fattest I’ve ever been, but close), I would say I probably weigh at least 235 pounds, but perhaps as much as 245…or even 250. When I tried this in the spring of 2011, it was diet only, with a bit of extra walking thrown in, but no weights or other exercises, and I did manage to lose some weight…but then came the hottest summer on record, and I gave up the nightly walks and then doubled down on the mistakes by choosing to begin eating sugar again (in the form of ice cream and peanut butter M&Ms, mostly)! This was an unnecessary and silly mistake, because the primal diet was not difficult for me. It basically involves cutting out grains and sugar. That’s really pretty much what it boils down to: no bread, no pasta, and no sugar. I kind of think of it as cutting out the “white” foods: sugar is white in its crystalline form, flour is white, and pasta is made of flour. I also think white potatoes are too heavy in starch for the amount of nutrients they contain, so I would usually prefer to eat a sweet potato (which is nutrient-dense) over a white potato. There are a few foods such as cauliflower that are exceptions to the rule (cauliflower is great, and it can be made into many different things, and it takes on the flavor of a sauce very well, so I find it very versatile). I’ll be posting some recipes as I go along, and as I experiment and adapt my favorite recipes to the Primal method (and I promise you that anything I post is something I’ve actually made and eaten).

There are some parts of the Primal method that I will not be following (the method actually allows you to cheat and adapt things to your own lifestyle, though, so this is not really cheating…more like not following every single guideline). The specific things that I will not be cutting out of my diet are:

1. Coffee
2. Alcohol
3. Diet Dr. Pepper
4. Dessert

This does not mean that I will be having dessert every evening. I WILL be having a cup of coffee every day (with Splenda, even though I know some people think it’s a nasty chemical and that it shouldn’t be part of a Primal/Paleo diet…so maybe Splenda should be the #5 thing that I won’t be cutting out). I will also have alcohol pretty much whenever I decide I’d like to have a drink. I realize it contains calories, and that I usually drink it with diet soda (Jim Beam and Dr. Pepper is my “usual” drink), but I simply don’t care. I will limit my intake to reasonable levels, but I am not going to put any specific limits on the first three things. For item number 4, dessert, I plan to allow myself to have dessert one night per week, on Sundays. This might be ice cream or a slice of cake (Whole Foods here in Austin makes truly excellent carrot cake), or it might be something else. This doesn’t mean that I’m doing a whole “cheat day” where I can go to town eating anything and everything I want on Sundays, it simply means that I plan to have one dessert after dinner on Sunday evenings (and that one dessert might be cake AND ice cream, so I’m letting you know in advance that I plan to allow myself some leeway when determining what my dessert for the week will be)!

A few other caveats about my plan: I don’t like to cheat on the rules, so I consider all of the rules to be fairly flexible. The Primal Blueprint book says that they know people who live and work in the modern world can’t follow the diet 100% at all times, so you are just supposed to strive to keep up a high percentage (80 or 90 percent) of following the guidelines. If I have a reason to go out to eat such as an anniversary or birthday or the last day of the school year (my partner Michael is a school teacher), or even if my friends just ask me to go out to Happy Hour, I plan to allow myself some leeway. Corn chips and margaritas are pretty much the antithesis of the Primal diet, but they are a big part of the culture of Austin, so if I do go out to Happy Hour with friends (which is something I love to do, because I love a good margarita* and I also love a good bargain), I’m going to relax and enjoy myself, and then get back on track the next day (*As a note of clarification, I should say that I used to be a bartender, and that I love a well-made cocktail, not just a margarita). I am also going to do this without guilt. I think enjoying life and hanging out with friends and family is what it’s all about, so I’m not going to deny myself the opportunity to have some fun in service to some arbitrary bit of diet advice. I may choose to eat less of the chips and salsa, and I may order the agave nectar margarita (I don’t know what I think of this whole agave syrup thing yet, but I’m skeptical), or I may not, and whatever I choose in each situation will be fine. Having said that, if I get six months into this thing and find that I’m not looking like I’m on track to meet my goals, I reserve the right to change my mind about anything I’ve said so far, including cutting out Sunday night desserts (but never my morning cup of coffee)! If that comes to pass, I will update you accordingly, since I intent to be entirely forthcoming about my progress each step of the way.

I hope you’ll bookmark my site and check back in with me. Or feel free to use the links in the sidebar to buy the Primal Method book or the Primal Method cookbook and join me on this journey from fat to fitness!