AWAKN Tribe Member Josh Kaplan: Optimizing Life in a High Stress Job
Name: Josh Kaplan
Profession: Tax Attorney
What do you do for fun (hobbies, etc)?
I’m very lame. Work takes up pretty much all my time during the week, so I try to devote the weekends to my kids (7 and 9). I enjoy traveling as much as possible and skiing during the winter. I also enjoy listening to podcasts while I walk my dog and commute to work. Some of my favorites are Bulletproof Radio, Ben Greenfield, Luke Story, Broken Brain, and Dr. Mercola.
How do you optimize your nutrition? Any go-to healthy meals or snacks?
I focus on high quality, nutrient-dense foods. When I’m home I eat almost exclusively organic, and I try to buy as much as possible from the farmer’s market.
In my basement, I have a full-size fridge/freezer as well as an extra full-size freezer, and the freezers are always stocked with meat and frozen veggies.
For the past two years, I’ve bought a half cow (100% grass-fed) from my favorite farmer, and I just ordered a quarter cow today. It saves money buying in bulk, but also allows me to customize my cuts.
During the week my wife and I bring a salad to work every day. Sunday is our prep day - after the farmers market and grocery store we make about 8 salads for the week. If we don’t prep on the weekends it’s hard to keep up during the week.
When I travel for work I always pack nut butters and some combination of paleo granola bars or Bulletproof bars.
I also take a ton of supplements. I’m always tinkering with my routine, but I currently take around 30 pills a day plus a few liquid supplements. I would love to add more to the daily stack, but my wife already is unhappy (to put it mildly) with how much I spend on supplements!
What’s your fitness routine like?
I would be lying if I said I had a fitness routine right now. I walk my dog for 20-30 minutes every morning and give him a short walk again in the evening, but that’s the extent of my exercise these days. I keep saying that I’m going to get back on track, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe this will be my trigger!
What do you do to stay focused and manage stress?
My job can get very stressful, but when I’m feeling overwhelmed I try to slow down and take some deep breaths to ground myself. I’ve found that a minute of alternate nostril breathing provides immediate relief.
For the past few months, I’ve been listening to Brain.fm at work, which I find relaxing.
My morning walks with my dog also help to relax me and get me off to a good start to the day.
How many hours of sleep do you typically get? Any nighttime rituals that help you sleep?
Around 7. I shoot for 7.5 as much as possible, but many weeks I end up with a few nights under 7. I try not to drop below 6.5 though, unless absolutely necessary.
I try to wear my Swanwick amber-tinted glasses for at least an hour before bed, preferably two. But even 30 minutes is better than nothing. I’ve been rocking the Swannies for about two years now and they’ve been extremely helpful.
I also try to spend 18-20 minutes in front of my JOOV red light machine.
What’s one thing you’ve done recently to improve your quality of life?
Cold showers. I turn my shower down as cold as it gets for the last minute and rotate so the cold water hits my head, back, and chest. If you start with 15 seconds you can move up to a minute pretty quickly.
What one piece of health advice you’ve learned and want to share with others?
I’ve learned so much since switching to a paleo-style diet about 5 years ago. One of the mistakes I think I made though, is eating too much meat at the expense of vegetables. I’ve since learned that too much protein actually can be counterproductive from a longevity standpoint and I’ve been shifting to a plant-centric diet with meat as more of a side dish than the main course. I was slow to make the shift, but I found the work of Valter Longo and Stephen Gundry particularly compelling.
What are your top 3 adventure or travel destinations?
Iceland and Colorado for adventure, but my favorite vacation destination is Sunset Beach, North Carolina. It’s my happy place.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Cooking up a feast for New Year's Eve dinner.
Where or how do you drink your AWAKN?
During the week I always have my AWAKN at the office. For a while I was having my AWAKN first thing when I got to work, but lately, I’ve been pushing it back a few hours to make sure it doesn’t interrupt my intermittent fast (I skip breakfast and try to go 14-16 hours between dinner and lunch). When I’m traveling I’ll bring a few AWAKN packets with me and have one in my hotel room in the morning.