Using InsideTracker to improve diet, recovery
It’s been about a year since I transitioned to a pescatarian lifestyle, dropping chicken, beef and other similar meats from my diet. I kept fish and eggs in my diet, along with healthy amounts of vegetables, fruits, gluten-free grains, nuts, seeds and more.
Over the past couple of months, I have wrestled with additional changes to my diet. I have spent quite a bit of time researching and reading books about plant-based diets, watching some documentaries and interviewing plant-based vegan athletes. The benefits are clear. But how do I incorporate that into an already slimmed-down menu of food options?
I decided to look beyond the outside research and look deep inside. That’s where InsideTracker comes into play. InsideTracker provides customized and detailed results and recommendations, based on an individual’s age, fitness level and other factors.
InsideTracker is recommended for athletes of any skill or experience level, as well as anyone else wanting to learn more about various markers that define their health. To learn more, visit InsideTracker.com and use my code for 15 percent off.
The test requires a simple blood draw from a facility in your local area. Within a week, you will receive a detailed, customized breakdown of your key health biomarkers, with recommendations on what to improve — with ideas on how to make those changes.
Improvements from three months ago
Last October, my InsideTracker test showed I had 32 optimized biomarkers, seven that need improvement and three that were at-risk. In comparison, my January test indicated 30 optimized, seven that need improvement and five at-risk.
Other notable comparisons:
Last October, my Inner Age score measured 37.2, which measured the same during the January test. Not bad for someone who recently turned 50.
The October test noted four areas that I need to work on. They were: Vitamin B12, TS (transferrin saturation), ferritin and iron. My Vitamin B12 score stabilized to an optimized level. My TS level is still above the optimal zone of 29 to 47, however the 53 score is by far the lowest I’ve had among the seven tests. While my ferritin level stabilized, my iron is still high — 156, which is down from 177, but above my optimal zone of 76 to 113.
Some key takeaways from the most recent test:
My cortisol levels continue to fluctuate wildly. The optimized zone is between 4 and 16.1 while my most recent tests are (in order from newest to oldest): 22.9, 21.4, 16.2, 22, 15, 16, 22.7 and 22.1. The recommendations include regular yoga, daily Ashwagandha and daily meditation.
And my testosterone to cortisol ratio has been low the past two tests. Among the recommendations: get more sleep and practice yoga regularly.
Every single previous test rated the inflammation group as “good.” This time it was deemed “at risk.” At the time of the test, I was dealing with a running-related foot injury and was working through reducing the inflammation. Several of my “at risk” categories were related to inflammation.
To improve the areas that rated “at risk” or “needs improvement,” InsideTracker provided some recommended foods to focus on. Those include two servings of salmon and tuna weekly, daily spoonful of chia seeds, three avocados a week, raspberries and blackberries, a cup of daily spinach, four cups of chickpeas a week, daily mushrooms, two tablespoons of almond butter daily, various kinds of beans, daily amaranth, daily quinoa and various nuts.
There is a lot of data to work through with these InsideTracker results — much more than what I highlighted here. These results and recommendations have gone a long way in helping me to correctly adjust my diet.
I had been considering dropping fish, eggs and dairy to adapt a vegan, plant-based diet. However with the recommendations including various types of seafood, I will commit to continuing to eat healthy seafood.
A few weeks ago I dropped dairy from my diet and have been using egg whites instead of the yolk, which has the vast majority of the cholesterol and most of the vitamins. However, about two-thirds of an egg’s protein is from the eggs whites.
Among the adjustments I will be making, thanks to the InsideTracker test:
Eating seafood four times a week.
Eating nuts daily, as well as more frequent nut butters.
Drinking more water daily.
Taking the Ashwagandha twice daily after meals. (I had meant to start this after the October test but failed to do so.)
Trying to sleep longer and meditate more regularly.
In fact, I have already begun most of these recommendations, including once again taking Ashwagandha. After an earlier test, I took Ashwagandha for the prescribed time period, which helped improve that marker. Since then I have not been taking it regularly.
I have big goals for this year, including running my first Boston Marathon in April, followed by my first 100K in May. The physical and mental training will dictate a large part of how successful I will be at those races. But thanks to InsideTracker, I know that my insides are in good shape but I also have scientifically grounded recommendations tailored to me so that my body can recover and perform well.