Nietzsche’s maxim, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” isn’t just a sound philosophical principle. It’s also a certifiable physiological phenomenon; toxins and stressors that could be deadly in large doses, actually improve health and resilience in smaller, intermittent ones. The ironic thing, my guest points out, is that it’s the fact that we’re not getting enough of this sublethal stress these days that’s really doing us in.

Paul Taylor is a former British Royal Navy Aircrew Officer, an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, and neuroscientist, and the author of Death by Comfort: How Modern Life is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It. Today on the show, Paul discusses the science of hormesis, how small doses of intermittent stress can make us more resistant to chronic stress, and why you need to embrace what Paul calls “discomfort harvesting.” We talk about some now-familiar topics like fasting and cold and heat exposure with fresh inspiration as to how important they are to practice and how to do them effectively. We discuss how hot a sauna needs to be to get the benefits of heat exposure, Paul’s suggestion for how to make an ice bath on the cheap, what may be the single best type of food to eat to improve your gut’s microbiome, a form of fasting that’s got anti-cancer benefits but is so accessible it won’t even feel like fasting, what supplement to take to mitigate the effects of a bad night’s sleep, and much more. We end our conversation with how to use what Paul calls a “ritual board” to stick with your healthy habits and resist the “soft underbelly” of modern life.

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