Today we have a special guest author, Primal Kitchen® co-founder Morgan Zanotti. Share your experience by trying a personalized microbiome program, which includes eating scientific cupcakes, puncturing with needles, and keeping track of your lifestyle, all with the goal of optimizing your gut. Bring it on, Morgan!
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview the microbiome expert, Dr. Tim Spector Primal Kitchen® podcast. Dr. Tim founded Zoe, a microbiome program that customizes an optimal eating pattern just for you through home testing, combined with information about your lifestyle and how you live your day-to-day life. The plan and application put it all together to determine how your body responds to food and make recommendations to help you live your best life.
When I do these interviews, my intention is to learn more about the person sitting in front of me. But the truth is, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about myself after talking to Dr. Tim and go through Zoe’s process!
As soon as Dr. Tim gave me Zoe’s summary and what he does, I knew I had to try it. This is how it works.
The Zoe process
First, I grabbed one questionnaire, which covered the usual age range and gender issues, but also delves into details about how many plants I eat on a typical day, where my energy levels were, things like that. This information gives a rough idea of your inflammation profile, but this is not enough to put you in a plan.
From here, you can test your real biology. With the kits at home, do an intestinal microbiome test, a blood fat test, and use a blood sugar sensor to see how your blood sugar responds to certain foods. There are no visits to the lab, you do it all yourself and it’s pretty insensitive.
I admit I was a little scared to apply the continuous blood sugar monitor to my arm, but it was easy to put on, I could barely feel it (really) and most importantly, it was easy to ‘forget it once insured with medical tape.
In the meantime, you’re eating “standardized test meals,” which are essentially gluten-free luxury science cupcakes. These contain specific macronutrients that you eat at specific times so that you can see how your body responds to certain foods and eating patterns over time.
The blood sugar data was especially interesting, because I could read it on my phone in real time. And unlike finger-pointing, the continuous glucose monitor shows the complete curve of the blood sugar response. If you rely on a finger prick, you get data at a specific time, but you don’t really get the full picture. Sometimes my blood sugar would respond before I finished eating!
Historically I have done many self-experiments in which I have done complete ketogen (a total of 20 g of carbs a day), I went fishing for a few months while getting my yoga teaching certification, but I found it much more accurate. , informative and incredibly geeky.
How was it?
After playing the mad scientist for a few days, I found the information very useful.
My blood sugar was better if I didn’t have breakfast, so it seems like I’m much more insulin resistant in the morning. This is unusual, according to Dr. Tim, but he experiences the same.
Mark advised me to give it a try intermittent fasting years ago and I’ve been eating more or less in a short period of time for a while now, so I like to have confirmation that my metabolism likes it that way!
I also discovered that if I have steak, I can have an ice cream dessert and my blood sugar doesn’t change. Sometimes I feel like I have to be strict, so it’s great to know that as long as you have a decent amount of protein and fat, an occasional dessert won’t change things too much, especially if the treatment is after meals.
I would also like to learn more about the health effects of blood fat. My results say I don’t care, but the concept piqued my curiosity. Tim believes that the response to blood fat is as important (if not more important) than blood sugar, but this concept has not taken off significantly. We are behind science.
You have your data. So what?
Now that I have my data, I have a personalized plan, with an app and support coaches. If you really want to move forward with your gut health, Zoe is a complete ecosystem of information and education, and is the right balance of guidelines with flexibility.