Zoe & Me
Insights into my personalised health journey
Author: Auriole Prince, Founder of Change My Face
Box of tricks
3 weeks ago, a beautifully wrapped box of scientific and medical tests arrived in the post. Although my dog, Frida, was sceptical I delved in to what is now becoming a popular tool to monitor and assess one’s personal health.
It’s not a diet
Zoe which is run by Professor Tim Spector is an extraordinary tool to help us all understand more about what we eat, how we should eat and when. At the heart of Zoe’s mantra is the need to educate people that they are all different in terms of their responses to food. The key message is that diets don’t help us to lose weight, but understanding how your body responds to different foods can actually encourage natural weight loss and that your response could be very different from the person standing next to you.
What’s in the box
3 tests include a blood sugar monitor more widely used by those diagnosed with diabetes than to help me to monitor my blood sugar, muffins to guage how your body processes fat (and sugar) and also a gut microbiome test, which to put more simply is just a poo sample which is then tested in the lab for gut diversity and parasites, which although sound bad can actually be great news if you happen to have one of the good ones. Also a blood sample, which is easier than you think and provides Zoe with insight into how your body processes fat and sugar.
The testing is done through the course of a day and is simple to do. You post the results back and apply the monitor to your upper arm and connect to a blood sugar monitoring app. It’s tempting to start checking your phone obsessively to visualise realtime the roller coaster ride reflecting your blood sugar levels. In fact it’s addictive.
The genius in the service is how quickly you start to learn which foods spike your blood sugar and what you can combine with these to lower the spike. So, for example, my normal blood sugar bobs around the 4.7–5.7 mark. 3 slices of white bread on its own caused a sugar spike of about 9. The next morning 3 more slices of white bread with avocado spiked to 6.5 much less than the previous morning and on day 3 after consuming the same 3 slices of white bread straight after a bowl of plain Greek yogurt, the spike rose no more than 6.2
On the down side, a toasted cheese and ham sandwich from Pret sent my blood sugar sky high, as well as so called ‘healthy’ options like granola and juice and even a flat white coffee with oat milk from Costa produced a shocking result. Plain yogurt and endless nuts seem to be two of the saintly foods that score highly for my gut and my blood sugar levels. Cheese it turns out is good for me as I process fat very slowly. I’m a bit of a cheese addict, so this is good news.
Overall, this is a solid way of understanding which foods to eat less of and which ones to introduce more into your diet. No foods are off limits and some you are advised to only have once in a while. I have certainly lost a few pounds and feel much more empathy with what my body has to deal on a daily basis. I also have less aches and pains in my joints because of the reduction in sugar spikes. Whether you want to lose weight or just eat better to stave off disease, it’s a true insight into how you can live healthier for longer.
Zoe is clever science and gets results.