Sometimes the most healthy thing to do is to not be normal

Patrick Westöö
5 min readApr 14, 2022

I recently had a chat with a close friend of mine. She had been struggling to sleep and regularly only slept for 5–6 hours per night. She had tried it all, including sleep rituals to get in the right mood. I asked a simple question, did she drink coffe. Yes, she did. How much coffe I ask, well three to four cups per day. So I asked, “have you tried not drinking coffe”, No she had not.

I had another friend who had a problem with acne, she had also tried everything including strong medicines to solve the problems. Yet it had not gone away. I suggested changing the diet and avoiding foods that caused acne, which is essentially anything with processed fats in them. And after trying that it worked.

I come from a family with high blood pressure, my dad has it and takes medicines for it. Both my uncle and grandfather passed away due to heart attacks at early ages of their lifes. My grandfather was very fit and used to travel to the canary islands to play tennis and got his students to come with him, hence financing his trips. Yet one day he dropped dead from a massive heart attack. Despite his training regiment he had a really bad habit. He loved Entrecote, and cooked a steak for himself each night. His diet was his undoing.

What these stories have in common is that what is “normal” today is actually not normal at all. Humans have existed for roughly 100,000 years yet the things that we do today have at most been around for 100 years, not even 0,001% of our time on earth. Let’s start with caffeine, a wonder drug that makes you more productive and stops your body from sleeping. It was introduced at scale at the end of the 1800’s when bosses realized that workers were much more productive on caffeine than on alcohol. Yes, crazily most workers got alcohol daily as their break beverage. But coffe has a dark side, billions of people today are sleep deprived and coffe is partly to blame. Your ability to process coffe is genetic. This is something that you cannot change regardless of how much you drink. My mum is very sensitive but my dad isnt. I inherited the genes from my mum. If you are not sure which type you are, try drinking an expresso before bed and see what happens. Personally I only drink caffeine when I have lots of work to do and don’t mind staying up late and sleeping in the next morning. But it messes with my sleep so I cant do it more than a few days in a row. If you are sleeping poorly, and struggle to concentrate during the day, getting…