The Fashionista Food Blogger Tackles InsideTracker Results

Periodically, I have a physical where my blood is drawn and I discuss with my doctor whether I need to make changes to improve my health.  Like other people, when I receive the results; do I know how to translate my blood results? Have I focused on what I am eating every single day and how that could be affecting my overall health? Yes, the doctor can tell you that everything looks ok, but what if there was a way to dig a little deeper and understand more about how to improve my health through food. 

I am an avid runner, and preparing for my third marathon this fall. As my training vastly approaches,  I was drawn to a company called InsideTracker to see if I can improve my race performance. InsideTracker is a leader in personalized health analytics. In a nutshell, they offer multiple services but primarily they take your blood, test it, and break your results down by individual groups. They make it easy for you to evaluate your results and what you might be lacking in your diet and lifestyle in order to improve overall health and wellness and optimize your body’s performance.

For those who have trained for any kind of race, specifically a marathon, it is not only grueling physically but also takes an emotional toll on your body.  Your body begins to crave all types of foods and like a well-oiled machine needs to be fed the proper nutrients in order to work properly and sustain that kind of endurance.

I understand the fundamentals on how to train my "outer shell" - building up my physical strength and mental endurance of the mind. I want to take it a step further and see how I can peak my performance from the inside out; understanding how ingesting better foods could improve on performance.


Do I have to get my blood drawn? I hate needles. So do we. But getting your blood tested is the most accurate way to find out how to boost your energy and increase your athletic performance.
— InsideTracker

At first, I thought InsideTracker was only for professional athletes, so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered anyone could use this service. I jumped at the opportunity to go through the testing process and figure out what I might be lacking in my diet to improve my own health and performance.

To clarify, I am a very healthy person. I run or do some kind of physical activity almost every day; I eat healthy, I drink water, I don’t smoke or do drugs. This test shows how to use your blood analysis to help improve your overall health.

I am absolutely terrified of needles and blood. InsideTracker made the entire process seamless. One of the perks is that you have the option of having blood drawn in your own home! A nurse came directly to me, who I referred to as a glorified health vampire, bright and early, and took a few vials of blood! That was it! Within a few days, I had my results.  

7 am blood test? What a way to start my day! 

7 am blood test? What a way to start my day! 

Based on my answers to different questions, InsideTracker provided by “inner age.” What does that mean? Your chronological age, is your numerical age, mine happens to be 29. Then you have your “inner age.” Your inner age is determined by your body composition and your physical activity. My “inner age” ended up being 22.8! That was a pleasant surprise! But now, we will shift to the nitty gritty of the other results.

"I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22"-T.Swift

"I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22"-T.Swift

InsideTracker breaks down your individual blood groups and reviews your results, categorizing them in the following zones:

  • AT RISK
  • NEEDS WORK
  • GOOD
  • OPTIMIZED

Thankfully, I did not have any categories that were in the “at risk” zone but there were five groups that may have been at a normal level but not an optimized level and need work:

  1. INFLAMMATION
  2. LIPID
  3. SODIUM
  4. VITAMIN D
  5. VITAMIN B12

Listed below, I have broken down each of these groups with some recipes that I hope can help improve my health. All recipes are listed on burkebites.com


INFLAMMATION GROUP:

Healthy foods that InsideTracker recommends for Inflammation:

How do I “improve” my results for this group? Based on the above, healthy foods, I have begun to incorporate in my weekly diet the following changes:

  1. Bring a bag of almonds every day as a small snack.  I have also added chopped almonds to plain yogurt or on top of various dishes to add crunch and texture.
  2. Swap out brown or white rice for quinoa.
  3. Eat more avocados! I LOVE avocados, so when InsideTracker listed avocados to help inflammation, I had no complaints. A great way to incorporate more avocados into your diet is to use it as a replacement for mayonnaise on a sandwich or butter on whole grain toast!
  4. Eat more legumes, aka chickpeas. I love hummus, and have recently started making my own. It pairs well with almost any snacking food. Add it to a sandwich, pair it with veggies, the world is your oyster when it comes to this healthy snack alternative.

Now let’s discuss some recipes...

Here are a few of the recipes that incorporate some of the healthy foods for Inflammation:

Pistachio Encrusted Chicken with an Avocado Puree


LIPID GROUP:

Healthy foods that InsideTracker recommends for Lipids:

The Lipid Group and the Inflammation Group have overlap for some of the InsideTracker healthy recommended foods. Increasing a certain type of food in Inflammation, such as avocado or navy beans, could also help improve the Lipid group. Hence, some of my tips on how I have been trying to improve my inflammation could also help with the Lipid Group.

Now let’s discuss some recipes...

Here are a few recipes that I have started to incorporate into my diet that use some of the healthy foods from the Lipid Group:

Blueberry and Raspberry Smoothie Bowl


SODIUM GROUP

Surprisingly my Sodium was normal, but near low, and not optimized. Maybe I was dehydrated? I have been much more aware of water intake. 

Healthy foods that InsideTracker recommends for Sodium:

 How do I “improve” this group? I have made the following changes in my weekly diet to advance my Sodium group:

  1. Incorporate cheese in my salads at lunch whether that be a sprinkle of some parmesan cheese in my Kale Caesar Salad or bring a string cheese to work.
  2. Swap out a juice for breakfast with an egg-based breakfast. I eat an egg whole wheat wrap with some cheddar cheese once a week.
  3.  Have more water intake!! I have been trying to drink at least 2-3 large bottles of water each day.

Now let’s discuss some recipes...

Here are a few of the recipes that incorporate some of the healthy foods for Sodium:

Eggplant Mini Pizzas


VITAMIN D

Healthy foods that InsideTracker recommends for Vitamin D:

I was not surprised that my Vitamin D was low normal and not in the optimized zone since I am living in a big city, with minimal outdoor time during the week. With the glorious summer sunshine and more outdoor activities, I am hopeful that l will improve my Vitamin D levels. As InsiderTracker shared with me me, having low Vitamin D is that it can have a direct effect on muscle weakness, slower reaction time and impaired coordination. Additionally, low Vitamin D can weaken your bone strength and create possible stress fractures. All red flags! 

So, how am I improving my Vitamin D?

  1.  Receiving more sun exposure.
  2. Increasing my fish intake. I usually eat more fish than red meat on a daily basis but I am now more mindful of swapping a chicken breast for a Salmon filet.
  3. Drinking more MILK!!

 Now let’s discuss some recipes...

Here are a few of the recipes that I have made to incorporate the healthy foods recommended by InsideTracker for Vitamin D.

Roasted Lemon and Dill Salmon


VITAMIN B12

Healthy foods that InsideTracker recommends for Vitamin B12: 

It was strange to me to see that my Vitamin B12 levels were in the normal range but not in the optimized zone, particularly considering I am not a vegetarian, but I do like and eat beef.   If you have low levels of Vitamin B12, it can make you feel weak, have shortness of breath, or experience bloating.

Here are some steps that I am taking to improve my B12:

  1. Take a Vitamin B12 supplement.
  2.  Eat more healthy fish and meats on the healthy list
  3. Add more fiber cereal in my diet!

Now let’s discuss some recipes...

Here are a few of the recipes that I have made to incorporate the healthy foods recommended by InsideTracker for Vitamin B12:

Thai Coconut Steamed Mussels

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What I have learned since taking my InsideTracker Test:

What an interesting experience! While, I have always tried to be a healthy person, the InsideTracker analysis has made me more mindful of my need to focus more on what I am eating and how that impacts my health. Overall performance is not a term merely associated with sports, but is important when considering your body’s overall health.

If you are lacking certain food groups in your diet, it can have a direct correlation with your mood, physical strength and overall wellbeing. It was so interesting to see not only what I was lacking in my diet, but also how I can improve my health.

As a food lover and a cook, I feel as though it is my duty to spread the word that food health can be fun! Not only are you improving your “blood health” you are also challenging yourself to make healthy, delicious meals for yourself. I am looking forward to taking some of the InsideTracker tips and tricks and incorporating them into my marathon training!