🍎 Health Hacks Part 1 + Top Deals (9.6% Interest, Hawaii for 10k Points and more)
All the Hacks 4/21/22: Upgrade Your Life, Money & Travel
👋 Hi all, Chris here! Over the past year I’ve been lucky to have had some amazing conversations about health/food/diet/wellness. So this week, I thought it was finally time to gather all those health-related hacks in one place. However, there were so many good hacks that I’m going split them across two newsletters, and today, we’re diving into food and dieting.
I’m also going to experiment with including a “Latest deals” section in every newsletter. This week includes earning 9.6% interest with US Series I Bonds, two big signup bonuses, Hawaii flights for 10k points and new credits for the Amex Platinum.
So definitely check all those out and please consider forwarding this to a friend who’ll enjoy it (or make sure you’re subscribed yourself)!
🎉 Health Hacks
Sure, January is supposed to be when people kick off their health habits, but with the world opening up and summer on the horizon, I wanted to go back through all the health hacks I've learned since working on All the Hacks and put them in one place.
However, just because there’s so much here absolutely does not mean you have to do it all. Health and wellness looks different for EVERYBODY, so just pick a few to try and see what sticks for you. Also, I’m sure you know this, but I’m definitely not a doctor, so keep that in mind :)
Finally, I’d love to hear how your experience with these went, so please reach out and share! I’ve already heard about the joys of cold showers from a few of you 🚿🥶.
🍜 All things food
It’s no secret that food is by far the most difficult and stressful aspect of healthy living. From failed diets, to shelling out for expensive health foods, to feeling out of control around our favorite ‘unhealthy’ meals, we have a lot of emotions attached to eating. And even the mood you’re in when you think about and eat food has a huge impact on your health.
For me, I think it’s so important to eat foods that make YOU happy! So whatever you do, just know that it should be highly tailored to your needs and your routines. Start with a strong foundation and build up. Being food-healthy is a relationship you can continually build and strengthen with yourself, so take a few of these ideas and run with them!
🥕 Buying organic and in-season
Eating only organic foods isn’t necessary, but there are some foods that really are safer to eat organic. Spinach, for example, has more pesticide residue by weight than any other form of produce—so eating organic spinach instead can have huge benefits.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases two lists every year called the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. They highlight the most and least pesticide-laden produce on the shelves, and it changes every year.
My general general rule of thumb is to try and shop organic when you’re eating the skin of your produce… that said it’s always better to be eating more fresh vegetables (and fruits), no matter where they come from.
💊 Vitamins and supplements
While a perfectly well-balanced diet is certainly the best way to ensure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need, I think it’s impractical (and sometimes not fun) to do that every day. So I’ve been taking Athletic Greens every day as my all-in-one insurance for nutrition, gut health and immunity.
Note: Athletic Greens is a sponsor of All the Hacks, but I do genuinely love their product and the link above will get you a free 1 year supply of immune-supporting Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs.
🍎 Diets: Why they fail and things to try
My past guest and foodist Darya Rose Ph.D. shared that 95% of diets fail in the long term (longer than 3 years). In fact, dieting was more often a better to gain weight than to lose weight.
She explains that diets fail because they rely on willpower and restriction for achieving health goals, and ignore the reasons these tactics always backfire. Most people aren’t willing to change their entire lives to accommodate their diets. Instead, focusing more on consistent healthy habits like adding more vegetables or moving more are more effective.
She also suggests trying to adopt a habit of mindful eating, which research shows will help you eat less, eat slower and improve digestion. As a side benefit you usually end up enjoying your food more.
🍵 Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting can offer a variety of health benefits and many studies show it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and may even help you live longer. If you’re interested in trying it out, I highly recommend checking out Zero, an app that helps you to optimize your health and metabolic wellness.
If you do decide to fast (and depending for how long), it’s important to focus on taking in enough protein at meals and incorporating strength training to prevent too much loss of muscle mass.
🍽 Eating out hacks
Eating out can be tricky. There are so many options and a lot of them just aren’t good for us. So to start, make sure you always order as many vegetables as you can. I think it’s better to spend a little extra on an appetizer with veggies than skip out on them in the meal. Also, keep an eye on the language on the menu, things like ‘glazed’ or ‘crispy’ are good signs that a dish probably isn’t very healthy.
My favorite eating out hack is to check the menu before I get to the restaurant and decide what I want to eat in advance. It has two benefits for me: 1) I make healthier decisions in advance and 2) I’m usually making those decisions when I’m much less hunger, instead of a few minutes before a meal.
Finally, don’t forget that eating is also about pleasure and social bonding, not just being healthy. So if you can use the 80/20 rule and try to make healthier choices for breakfast, lunch and weekday dinners, then it’s probably ok to have a suboptimal weekend dinner out.
🍦 Dessert hack
Liz Moody was curious about exactly what made dessert so ‘bad’ for you, and it really boils down to the spike in your blood sugar after having sugary foods. So she suggests incorporating more food groups like fat, fiber and protein into your sweet treats. So consider including greek yogurt, almond butter or almond flour to make your dessert a more stable blood sugar experience.
My favorite dessert hack came from Nir Eyal’s episode, where he suggested that if you really want something unhealthy, don’t tell yourself no. Instead, give yourself permission to have it, but only after waiting 5 minutes. It’s much easier psychologically and almost every time I get to 5 minutes I’ve moved on to something else and lost the urge.
😋 Make food more delicious
A lot of us remember not liking vegetables as a kid, and as great as your parents might be, their cooking might be the reason why. Adults often think they don’t like vegetables, when in reality they just haven’t prepared them correctly. Experiment with different fresh, in-season vegetables by cooking them in new ways, adding new spices, and always remembering the salt. When in doubt, a little oil and salt can drastically improve the flavor of most foods.
Liz Moody believes that people way under season/spice their foods, and that just doubling the spices called for can really improve the flavor. I usually double up the garlic and ginger in recipes, but I’m going to start doubling the spices from the spice rack and see how it goes.
Finally, while spices don’t go bad, per se, most dried seasonings, herbs and spices lose a lot of their flavor after a year or two of oxygen exposure. I’m personally struggling to replace all my spices, but this Bon Appétit article says I should probably throw everything out.
🍚 Cauliflower rice
While it’s definitely not a perfect replacement for Rice, Liz Moody suggested using it half and half with other ingredients to get a lot of the benefit. When using it in place of half the ground beef in a Bolognese, she says “you hardly notice it’s there, but you just immediately added a significant dose of veggies in your favorite sauces”.
If a recipe calls for white rice, she’ll only replace half of the rice, leaving something much closer to rice a dish with some subtle nutty notes. Or, she sometimes blends it up and uses it to thicken soups.
🥦 Frozen veggies
This surprised me: most frozen vegetables actually have more beneficial nutrients than their fresh counterparts. Liz shared that most of the time, vegetables are flash-frozen at their peak freshness, which means when they are cooked and eaten, you’re enjoying the veggie at its healthiest!
In contrast, fresh vegetables are harvested, processed, transported dozens to thousands of miles to your supermarket, and then displayed in the produce section for days until you buy it and bring it home. Then, it waits for a few days in your fridge until it’s ready to be cooked.
This is great news for busy people! Store frozen veggies for as long as you’d like, roast them on a pan (with no oil or seasoning!) until all the water has evaporated, then oil and season them to your heart’s content and bake them at the end. This will keep them crisp and delicious, instead of soggy.
🌮 My Favorite Healthy-ish Recipes
Now that we’ve talked about a ton of food-related hacks, I wanted to share some of my and Amy’s favorite healthy-ish recipes. We’ve cooked each at least a dozen times the past year and at least one of them makes a weekly appearance on the dinner table.
If you have any top recipes, please send them my way. I’d love to add them to our rotation and share out top listener recipes in the newsletter.
💰Latest Deals and Other News
Now that we’ve talked about everything I can think of related to health hacks, let’s get into a few of the best deals and updates I’ve found recently. You’re going to want to keep these discount codes around, because they are seriously incredible.
📈 I Bonds Rate Hike to 9.6%
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that based on the latest inflation data, U.S. I Bonds are about to yield about 9.6% interest (they currently yield 7.12%). I’m guessing that’s a lot more that you’re getting in your savings account, so I bet you’re thinking: “what’s the catch?” Well, there are a few (read the full details here):
You have to hold them for at least 12 months
If you hold them less than 5 years, you forfeit the last 3 months of interest when you sell (e.g. if you sell after 15mo, you only get interest for the the first 12mo)
You are limited to $10k per person/entity per year (so if you’re married with a revocable trust, that’s 3 entities; children are eligible too, but more complicated)
You have to use the terrible Treasury Direct website
That said, you can lock in some incredible returns right now and these bonds are backed by the US Government, so I consider them as safe and reliable as it gets.
The rates adjust with inflation data every May and November, so if you invest before April 28, you’ll lock in 7.12% for the first 6mo and 9.6% for the next 6mo, for a blended rate of 8.36%. If you invest after April 28, you’ll get 9.6% for the first 6mo and a TBD amount for the second 6mo.
I maxed out our allocation at the the end of last year and am planning on doing the same before April 28. The only place to do it is treasurydirect.gov and the site looks like it was built in the 90s (tbh it probably was).
💳 80k Point at Signup Bonus
One of my “preferred” travel cards (3x dining, 2x travel) from a bank that rhymes with “pace” is now offering an 80,000 point sign-up bonus. Like all big bonuses, it’s a limited time offer I don’t expect to last more than a month or two.
Note you’re not eligible if you currently have their more expensive “big brother” card or if you’ve gotten a bonus from either card in the past 4 years. However, a popular option is to downgrade your existing card to a no annual fee card like this or this and then applying for 80,000 bonus offer. Note, this only makes sense if you don’t value the 3x travel + other perks enough to keep this card.
If it wasn’t obvious, bank compliance teams prevent me from saying the bank or card names in this email, but details on each card are available in the links above.
🏝 Hawaii for 10k Points
This article from The Points Guy points out that there is lots of economy availability to get to Hawaii from the West Coast (e.g. LAX, SFO, SEA) from August to December on American and Alaska. Hack #1 is that if you book with British Airways points it’s only 13,000 points each way, but hack #2 is that Amex is currently offering a 40% bonus on transfers to British Airways, so when you transfer 10,000 points you actually end up with 14,000 in your BA account. If you don’t have Amex points, you can also transfer to BA from Chase, you just don’t get the 40% bonus.
Also, I just looked at two random dates in September from SFO-HNL and both had 7 seats available, so it looks like there is still availability out there. However, depending on the dates, flights can actually be pretty cheap, so double check that paying with cash isn’t actually a better deal first.
🍿 Amex Platinum (Entertainment Credits + 100k Bonus)
If you have an Amex Platinum Card, one of the perks is you receive a $20 of statement credits to reimburse spending on entertain subscriptions like Audible, the New York Times, and SiriusXM. I use mine for the New York Times, but I still have some $ left over and my wife Amy doesn’t use hers at all. However, Amex just added four new partners you can get reimbursed: Hulu, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, and ESPN+.
Also, if you have a Platinum Card and haven’t used your credit for a free Clear membership ($179), now is a great time to do it, because you can also get a $75 Uber Voucher.
I hope that helps you get more value out of your Platinum Card. However, if you don’t have one yet, the signup bonus at this link is currently 100,000 points, which is enough for 5 round trips to Hawaii if you could take advantage of the deal above. The annual fee isn’t small, but if you try to maximize all the benefits, I think the card can get close to breaking even each year (and certainly breaks even the first year if you factor in the 100k points).
🎙 Recent Episodes
Each newsletter I’ll highlight a few recent episodes, as well as a favorite from the archives that you might have missed.
#52: Hack Your Health (While Still Enjoying Life)
Writer and cookbook author Liz Moody discusses health and wellness hacks, including what kind of foods you need to be adding in, supplements, vitamins, cold showers, circadian walks, hydroxyapatite, taping your mouth, all her favorite health hacks, and more. Thank you to Vuori, Athletic Greens and Fabric for sponsoring this episode!
#51: Travel Hacking the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Travel Pro Leigh Rowan discuss luxurious travel hacks, including getting the best prices on private jet travel, first-class experiences flying commercial, a look into high-end luxury resorts, and advice on tipping, luxury property rentals, and organizing your activities on your next vacation. Thank you to Masterworks and Pestie for sponsoring this episode!
#50: The Power (and Tax Savings) of Charitable Giving
Entrepreneur and investor Adam Nash discusses the biggest misconceptions of philanthropy, the hurdles of giving, tax benefits for charitable donations, real estate investing, everything you need to know about Donor-Advised Funds, and more. Thank you to Daffy for sponsoring this episode!
💭 Parting Thoughts
Thank you so much for reading! How’d you like it?
Your feedback will help make it great, so I’d love to hear your thoughts/suggestions. Please feel free to respond to this email and I promise to read and respond to every one. If there’s a topic you’d love me to dig into in an upcoming issue, please let me know!
Thanks for reading!
Today, I’m grateful for the support of our partners MileValue, UpgradedPoints, Athletic Greens, Daffy, Fabric, Vuori, Masterworks and Pestie.
Chris Hutchins works at Wealthfront. All opinions expressed by Chris and his guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of Wealthfront. This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for investment decisions.