I’ve always played with my food. I’m not talking about sending peas and carrots skittering off a plate, it’s the lifelong practice of tweaking what I eat to get the most from what I put in my body.
Over time, how I’ve hacked my food has changed. In my teens and 20s I was a punk rock musician into animal rights. Food was politics for me, and so I became a vegan. In my early 30s I was focused on pushing my body to its limits as a triathlete. Food was performance, and so I started to explore how nutrition could turn the dials on enduring 12-hour races.
During this period of my life I helped start and ran one of the fastest growing organic food companies in the nation, Plum Organics. Food defined my career as my 30s pushed into my 40s, and in that context, food moved unquestionably into the center of my life.
Running an organic baby food company was business, politics, nutrition, and a mission all combined. We were changing how little ones ate, and with our B-Corp leanings, championing the idea that a company could do good business while doing good in the world.
And then out of nowhere, I had a wake-up call. Life gave me a warning, and it was from that life-changing alarm that Habit was born.
My eye-opening journey
For a period of about six years I was so focused on bringing the best, healthy food to kids, I lost sight of my own health. Too much work, too much food and mega-dosing of caffeine, combined with not enough sleep, healthy food, or exercise was a damaging, but all too common lifestyle. One day when I looked in the mirror, the person I saw was a stranger to me.
A visit to the doctor confirmed it.
I was 50-pounds heavier than my usual race weight just 10 years prior, and living an unhealthy startup lifestyle was leading me to some serious and scary health issues. Something had to change or I was going to wind up in the hospital. I know I’m not the only one who’s been there.
That’s when a science-based, personalized approach to food brought me back to optimal health, and helped me find the version of myself that I thought I had lost.
I did genetic tests. I did blood work. I analyzed how my body processed all kinds of foods. With the help of physicians and nutritionists, I started tuning into my body’s signals that had been picked up from all the tests I had done.
With guidance, I had the powerful insight that much of what I was battling could be resolved — not with pharmaceuticals or fad diets — but with real, healthy, whole food, in the amounts and ratios that were optimized specifically for me.
Turns out, I have a hard time processing sugars, high starch foods and refined carbohydrates, so the answer was eating an abundance of vegetables. I also found out that when I eat fat, I store it as fat. So out went the higher fat Paleo regimen I was on. Lean proteins became the anchor of my diet, and I switched out my four mega-cups of coffee for green tea because I had a genetic marker that indicated I’m a slow caffeine metabolizer. No wonder I had trouble sleeping. :)
By looking at hundreds of different biomarkers I was able to craft a highly personalized nutrition plan for myself and I was off to the races.
Finding my new self, and helping others learn from my journey
Six months later I had lost 25 pounds. My blood work results all came back in healthy ranges. I felt more energy coursing through me than I had in years. I had been transformed, but it wasn’t some magic cure or quack diet, it was via a highly personalized method that made sense, with food at the center and my body and science as the guides.
My personal wake-up-call led me to the epiphany that the method of my personal health transformation should be made available to everyone across the nation. The catch was, none of this was easy, or inexpensive, or accessible. This needed to change.
I had found a new mission, and to realize it, created a new company called Habit. With Habit, I want to democratize the process and make it easier for people to figure this out. If I can help people chart a more effective course to their optimal nutrition, by helping them bypass the frustrating steps I had to take, I will consider Habit a success.
Habit brings together a brilliant team of scientists, registered dietitians, nutritionists, technologists, chefs, food scientists, health coaches, designers, and business leaders. We’re on a mission to feed one’s human potential through the power of personalized nutrition, and it’s founded on a set of core beliefs.
1. We believe you deserve an owner’s manual for your body when it comes to food. And it should be written in a language you can actually understand.
We all deserve to know what foods are best for us — and often that means knowing our bodies and ourselves at the cellular level. Your personalized nutrition blueprint should always be available to you as a constant guide to the food choices in your life. Obtaining that personalized manual shouldn’t require thousands of dollars and wandering the world searching for the right physicians.
2. We believe that food was never meant to be a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Look around you. We are all different shapes, sizes, ages, genders and we all have different lifestyles. It’s just common sense to reject the idea that we all need the same food, in the same amounts, at the same time. Science now backs up this common sense. Our bodies need different things. Our biology, our DNA, the blood running through our veins tells us that. We just need the tools to tune into our bodies and listen to what foods it’s asking for.
3. We believe food can transform lives one plate at a time.
My own experience has shown me that our health and wellness destiny is defined by what we eat in combination with how we move — quite literally — through the world. Food is life. The wrong foods can hurt us. The right foods can help transform us to be our optimal selves. We just need to be empowered with specific knowledge about ourselves and have access to just the right healthy, whole foods that will make each one of us thrive.
When I came out the other side of my six-month journey back to health, the personal prosperity I felt was powerful. Shedding my old self, and tapping into my best self felt incredible. I can’t help but imagine the societal prosperity that could come from millions of people tapping into their best selves everyday. That’s what inspires me, and that’s why we built Habit.
My vision is to create a world where we move beyond food pyramids, plates and generic “one-size-fits-all” recommendations to a world of nutrition that has been uniquely personalized for each one of us. It’s a world shaped by personalized nutrition and pioneered by Habit.
This is our first step. We have a long road ahead of us to make it accessible to all, but we believe that today is a huge first milestone in getting there.
Starting a new Habit
Habit is for anyone who wants to feel their best, and walk away from the frustrating trial and error process of fad diets.
Habit is for anyone who wants to “eat without doubt,” with the confidence to know what foods are right for them, and their families, to be their very best self.
Habit is for anyone who wants to gain their own nutrition intuition.
Habit is for anyone that wants to shape their body in a sustainable way.
Habit is for anyone who wants to push the boundaries of physical and mental performance through food.
Habit is for anyone who wants to live a healthier, fuller life powered by foods that are just right for them.
That’s the world I want to live in. And with you, I’m ready to start a new Habit today.