WHAT IT MEANS TO BE METABOLICALLY HEALTHY (PART 2)
17 Checks to Assess Your Health
If you want to assess your own health, the goal isn’t to achieve perfect scores (or better scores than someone else) for each of the factors I listed above.
Some of these factors (such as stress) are highly individualized, making a comparison difficult. Others, such as blood markers, are relatively straightforward to assess.
Here’s What I Look for When I Assess My Personal Health
I Feel Good
I want to feel subjectively good on most days. I’m able to use how I feel as an indicator of my well-being because I’m fairly in-tune with my body and I already know how it feels when I’m at the top of my game. This technique might not work for you if you’re at the beginning of your wellness journey.
As long as my fitness (or lack thereof) isn’t an obstacle in my daily life, I’m OK. In other words, I want to be able to sprint up stairs, lift up my kids and throw them in the air, and carry heavy grocery bags to the car. As long as I can do all of that, I’m OK.
I Have Clear Skin
I’m looking for clear skin without major irritation, rashes or eczema.
Skipping a Meal Isn’t a Problem
I shouldn’t fall apart, or get dizzy or hangry when I skip a meal or fast for 20 hours. Instead, my body should switch to using fat instead of glucose as its primary source of fuel.
I Have No Digestive Issues
I want to feel great in my gut without pain, pressure or bloating, and my stools should be normal. In other words, I don’t want to have diarrhea or constipation.
I Don’t Get Sick Often
I judge the function of my immune system by how often I get sick. In the last three years, I’ve only gotten sick twice — once with COVID-19 and once with a common head cold. Believe it or not, the head cold felt worse than COVID.
My Inflammatory and Metabolic Markers Are Good
I get my blood drawn every three months to ensure my inflammatory and metabolic markers are where they should be. I pay the most attention to my CRP and fasting insulin. If they’re at their usual low levels, I know that I’m doing everything right.
I Don’t Get New Cavities
As long as I don’t get any new cavities and my gum scores stay low, I’m in good shape in terms of dental health.
I Don’t Have Pain
As long as I’m free of pain, except for the occasional CrossFit-induced injury, I know that I’m also free of inflammation.
I’m Able to Manage Stress
Without stressing out about it (pun intended), I aim to manage stress as well as I can by removing “stuff” from my life, prioritizing being present and implementing counter-measures, such as the ones I outlined in this article. Every evening, I assess how stressed I felt during the day; based on that, I adjust my agenda for the next day.
I Sleep Well
I aim to fall asleep and wake up refreshed (without an alarm) at roughly the same time every morning. If I do that and spend ~40% of my sleep in restorative phases, I’m good.
13 Tips to Get Healthy and Stay Healthy
If you’ve come to the conclusion that you might not be as metabolically healthy as you thought, don’t freak out. If you do, your stress reaction is just adding fuel to the fire.
Plus, getting metabolically healthy isn’t as complicated as you might think. In fact, the steps involved to get healthy are fairly simple — but it does take some determination and planning to execute them.
Avoid Seed/Vegetable Oils and Processed Carbs
Immediately remove all seed and vegetable oils, as well as processed foods, from your diet. Both of these cause inflammation and metabolic dysfunction.
Center Your Diet Around Responsibly-Farmed Meat
Increase your intake of responsibly-raised meats and organ meats and limit your consumption of the most toxic plants. Organs are the best source of vitamins and minerals for humans, but if you don’t like how they taste, consider freeze-dried organ meat supplements, such as the ones I sell at MK Supplements. On the flip side, most plants have chemical defense mechanisms that can contribute to metabolic dysfunction and related health issues.
Walk and Lift Heavy Objects Every Day
Move every day, either by going for long walks or going to the gym. Lift heavy objects several times a week if you can. These movement patterns reflect how humans have moved and “exercised” for millions of years, and they help you retain lean muscle tissue and strong bones (as well as cardiovascular health).
Expose yourself to heat (sauna, sun) and cold (shower or a cold plunge*) every day. These natural stressors boost your immune system and help your body become more resilient.
Maintain a Consistent Sleep And Wake Time
Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day. That’s the best way to support your circadian rhythm and improve the quality of your sleep.
If you feel stressed, try to remove stuff from your plate and add stress-mitigating techniques, such as breathing, regular exercise or meditation. Chronic stress causes an imbalance in certain hormones (e.g., cortisol) and inflammation. It also negatively impacts your immune system.
Avoid Plastic Food Storage Containers and Filter Your Drinking Water
Remove as many toxins from your immediate environment as possible, as outlined in this article. Many common household toxins found in plastic and tap water can disrupt your endocrine system and fat metabolism.
Wear a Continuous Glucose Monitor
I recommend wearing a continuous glucose monitor for a couple of weeks to get an idea of how your current diet impacts your blood sugar levels. While the goal isn’t to avoid blood sugar spikes at any cost, I think it’s prudent to avoid foods that cause your blood sugar to remain elevated for hours.
Regularly Check Your Blood Work
Check your blood work every couple of months to see if you’re making progress. Certain blood markers (like the ones I noted above) are a great indicator of your overall health and well-being.
You can obtain close to cost pricing on labs with these two panels.
The includes most of the metabolic markers I’ve mentioned in this article, and you can do it from the comfort of your home. In other words, they’ll send a phlebotomist to your home to draw your blood and you’ll have the results within a few days.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Understand that living healthy is a journey that doesn’t happen overnight for most people. There is no quick fix or shortcut. Instead, making the right choices that are conducive to your health is a lifestyle that you will have to carry on for the rest of your life. So find improvements that work for you and that you can carry forward. It’s taken me several years to get where I am and I’m still making regular adjustments as I move forward.
Now that you have guidelines on how to judge (and improve) your metabolic health, let’s address some of the misconceptions around health.
STAY TUNED FOR PART THREE: TOP MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HEALTH