The What Lab Report #1

All the things we’ve tried and tested over the past 18 months

As Content Chief of The What, I am constantly researching items of interest and quality for a Perennial audience — from books to bottles of wine, biohacks to beauty products, travel destinations to tech gadgets, and other eclectic topics in between. My partner Amy Parker and I read, taste, wear, experience, and evaluate everything before it goes into The What newsletter. Over the past year and a half we’ve road tested many products and experiences in a category we call The Lab. And though we may not have a rigorous scientific method, we’ve been discerning critics in the business of hunting for excellence since 1999.

Our Lab Report is not an endorsement. Nothing in here is an advertisement. Our verdicts are simply our personal opinions. You’ll have to try at your own risk to see if these things work for you.

Issue #1 November 11, 2015

The Lab — Last week we wrote about the Seed Rotation Diet, a natural way to balance hormones and soothe the beast. We received over a hundred emails asking for more information so Amy + I made a video in my kitchen to explain how and what you need to start. Watch it on our Fb page here.

Verdict: We tried the seed rotation diet for 90 days. Because we were eating two tablespoons of ground seeds every day, the fiber definitely improved digestion. We felt healthier and it might very well be placebo but overall we noticed fewer mood swings, less noticeable PMS. Sleep was also better possibly due to the melatonin in pumpkin seeds. But the downside was that pulverizing seeds in a coffee grinder every morning got old pretty quickly. Also the fact that I don’t prefer yogurt or cereal for breakfast made it difficult to figure out where to sprinkle the ground seeds. However, if you are peri-menopausal, suffer from PMS, and don’t mind tedious routine seed cycling is definitely worth a try. It’s an all-natural way to balance hormones and feel better systemically.

November 18, 2015

The Lab — We’re glued to screens 24/7 and a renowned physical therapist prescribed daily Theracane to release tight muscles. We now give ourselves a pressure point massage at our desks. True, the cane looks like an infomercial gimmick but it feels utterly ahhhh-mazing.

Verdict: This thing works but like anything else, you have to actually use it. The Theracane also makes a great gift for someone with tight muscles especially in the neck and back.

Issue #11 January 20, 2016

​The Lab — Amy and I tried the futuristic-looking, cruelty-free NIOD (Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science) Skincare products this month. We will be posting our results on Fb.

A super casual, somewhat ridiculous, little snippet from an editorial roundup video we made last summer.

Verdict: NIOD products work. While they are not organic or all-natural, this line is scientifically crafted in a lab in Canada and it delivers immediate, noticeable results. There are two core products in the line that you can incorporate into your skincare routine. Use your normal facial cleanser then apply Copper Isolate Serum and Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex to clean skin. Follow by your favorite moisturizer or NIOD’s Hydration Vaccine. After just one week, often a few days is all it takes, skin feels so much smoother and softer. NIOD gives a glow and suppleness that people will ask about. Amy uses hers religiously but since my skin now needs products that address hyper-pigmentation, I have switched to a dermatologist-prescribed brand. As with anything you put on your skin or in your body, it’s important you do your own research as ingredients like hyaluronic acid are often controversial. We can only tell you anecdotally what works for us.

Issue #25 April 25, 2016

The Lab — We are testing a product called New Wash by Hairstory. It’s an all natural, detergent-free hair creamy cleanser that doesn’t strip or damage hair. So far so good.

Verdict: We love the concept of a creamy detergent-free cleanser but at the end of the day, a yummy smelling sudsy shampoo is so hard-wired into our brains that we can’t give it up. My favorite shampoo is drugstore brand called Apple Pectin. I have given it to a half a dozen girlfriends to try it out and verify that this stuff makes hair longer and thicker. There does seem to be noticeable length and thickness in everyone I’ve given it to.

Issue #18 March 9, 2016

The Lab — We’re not fans of cleanses but my bestie is on week two of the Clean Program and says she feels like a new person. We’re going to start with the 7 Day Program to break bad habits (weekly pasta and wine lunches, for example).

Verdict: The Clean Program has worked for so many of my friends. I’ve watched people go on it for 21 days with major success, weight loss, and feeling great but then if you stop drinking and eat a third of what you usually eat, that is usually the case. I went on the Clean Program for 7 Days and didn’t like replacing meals with shakes. Can I do it? Yes. But then a few weeks after the program I was back to my evil ways. I found a better way to go is simply to cook all your meals for a month and make sure they are all healthy and reasonable portions. The binge-purge nature of cleanses is extreme and seems to perpetuate binge phases when what we really need to learn is moderation.

Issue #49 October 19, 2016

The Lab — Elysium alleges to be youth in a pill. Skeptical, we thought we’d give it a try. No noticeable results yet but we’ll keep you posted.

Verdict: We took Elysium for 8 months. The pill promises cellular rejuvenation and other benefits which make it difficult to discern since I can’t see if my telomeres are actually getting longer. But the company has just gone through a round of clinical trials that show promising results.

Issue #74 April 5, 2017

The Lab — One of readers, totally unaffiliated with this product (we checked), wrote in to tell us about FasciaBlaster, a weird looking stick that promises to smooth and reshape your body. It sat on our Editorial Desk for months but we’ve just started using it, skeptical as ever, and it does seem like something’s happening. We’ll let you know our conclusion at the end of May on our Fb page, where all Lab results get posted.

Verdict: The FasciaBlaster does indeed work but it is not for the faint of heart. It hurts like a mofo if you are doing it right and really getting in there to break up the fascia. It gives mean bruises and makes you tender but then so does a great massage. Just give it some time. It’s best used when your body is warm so right out of the shower or the bath and with oil so you get slip. In fact, we keep ours in the shower. Afterwards you might bruise because you are breaking up the connective tissue that holds your fatty tissue in place. The bruises will scare you (and everyone around you) but if you let them heal and go back to working the area, you will notice that cellulite will start to smooth and eventually disappear. This process can take months though so patience is required. We’ve asked doctors, physical therapists, body workers and they all either use the FasciaBlaster or they can see how the tool is useful in loosening muscles, releasing lactic acid, and smoothing cellulite much in the same way a foam roller works but with even better results. Ashley Black also seems very genuine in her approach. She didn’t invent the tool for vanity reasons and is up front about experimenting with its various uses just as we are.

Issue #67 February 15 2017

The Lab — Bulletproof makes high performance products for the mind, body, and central nervous system. Amy just started taking their Brain Octane Oil, which promises a noticeable difference in mental and physical energy or your money back.

Verdict — Amy has been taking the Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil for six months and notices a significant difference when she doesn’t take it. Most days she mixes her teaspoon with 5 oz of OJ or a smoothie first thing in the morning, before breakfast. She has gradually increased her intake to 2 teaspoons daily — a.m. and p.m., if she needs an extra boost of energy for a long day. On the days she misses her “brain juice,” she feels foggy headed, less energetic and hungrier throughout the day. Amy’s hooked and will continue to take it. She’s even purchased the capsules, which are more convenient during travel. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the benefits of MCT oil. We can only share what has and has not worked based on our personal six month testing period.

Issue #65 February 1, 2017

The Lab — Testing Still Standing spray this week, which promises to prevent swelling, redness, and pain through its patented cooling and anti-inflammatory ecologically safe formula. Actress Viola Davis keeps it in her purse for red carpet events so we thought we’d give it a try. Like us on Fb to see the results in a few weeks.

Verdict: Still testing. The results so far have been inconclusive. Stay tuned.

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