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Member Stories: How Erin Doyle uses lab tests to optimize her vegetarian diet

Maurice Beer M.D.
June 6th, 2021 · 3 min read
  • Who: Erin Doyle, 40
  • Living in: Portland, ME
  • Working on: Getting the right nutrients
  • Found Base through: Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof podcast ([listen here]

What does “healthy” mean to you?

My health is incredibly important to me and I’m fine putting in the work. I see it like having a retirement plan: “I may not need it now, but if I don’t do the right things now, I won’t have it when I need it.”

Health also means you may not realize how good you can feel. Over the last few years as I started learning more about biohacking, I realized our default may not be what’s right. It’s just what we know. If you always feel a little tired or crappy, that becomes normal. How would I know that I could feel so much better? There’s this sense of untapped potential of how much better I could feel but not even know it. Specifically with diet, I eat a vegetarian diet, so I need to pay a little more attention to nutrients I may not be getting naturally. 

Why were you excited to try Base?

I’ve had some really serious pain in my past. A few years ago, I had two back surgeries in one year, and since then, I’ve become increasingly more invested in my fitness. When I look at how I felt back then, it’s just night and day. That drives me to try to feel better. Small things, better habits. Man, does it make a difference.

A lot of the “health” stuff we do can be like throwing darts. I’ve been buying supplements and trying so many different things and have no idea if they’re useful. Am I wasting my money on stuff that’s doing nothing for me? Am I making things worse slowly? Listening to all of these great biohacker influencers and wanting to try all the things, I needed data to figure out what was working first.

What symptoms or frustrations were bothering you? 

I’d been dealing with some real GI issues. Bloating, pain, and it was becoming really problematic.  That was the biggest thing I was wanting to solve. At the same time, I wanted to work out more, maybe get into bodybuilding. But I needed to get my internal health in a better place, and then start the external stuff.

What have you learned?

I’ve only done two tests so far. The first thing that surprised me was that I’m not really optimal in two things I didn’t know much about to start with. First, HbA1c, which shows average sugar levels in your blood. Second, CRP, which your liver makes when you’re dealing with inflammation. Not awful, but could be a lot better.

I also got “proof” that my at-home workouts during Covid worked. When gyms shut down, instead of falling off our routine, my husband and I brought exercise into our home. We put together a little gym in our basement. It sucked. We hated doing it! But we were on top of it. I didn’t want to lose the health gains I’d invested so much in. 

What are your hacks or strategies for physical and mental health?

I have to get outside everyday. I’m a programmer and sit in front of my screen for 8, 10 hours a day, and I really need to unplug away from electronics where it’s quiet. I love hiking and camping and kayaking and backpacking. Kauai is next on our list when we’re able to travel freely again.

Another thing: eat what you love in a healthier way. Cereal is my favorite snack. I love the crunch. I’ve been kind of addicted to Magic Spoon, a cereal that’s really high in protein and still delicious. They keep putting out new special-edition flavors. How can we not order another box when we get an email about Birthday Cake cereal?

And don’t overwhelm yourself. If you’re thinking about your blood levels, you’re already heading in the right direction. There are so many things a person can be doing and so many trackers. Whoop, Oura ring, mattress toppers, red light therapy. There’s a tracker for everything. Start with something simple and test so you know what’s working.

What apps are the “You starter pack”? 

  • My Samsung Galaxy watch app keeps track of things for me.

  • When I’m being good and remember, I track macros in My Fitness Pal. 

  • MARVEL Strike Force is the game. It’s one of the only ones I have on my phone.

  • Slack’s mostly for work, but I’m in a few about biohacking and gaming.

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