Quick Note: As you know from my previous wellness posts, I am very into this type of thing. I grew up super granola-y (my mom was a Farmer’s Market gal waaaaay before it was cool) so I come by it naturally. Plus, nothing fascinates me more than this topic. I could talk about wellness: food, exercise, and whole body health for hours. I’m into it! So when I was asked to be apart of the beta testing for Levels, I couldn’t have been more excited! But I will say that if you have a complicated relationship with food, you should not brush that off, EVER. Talk to someone. Your health, your mental health, and your relationship with both food and your body is important. This program is amazing and I have nothing but RAVE reviews, but it does analyze everything you eat and could be triggering, which I totally get, so please take care of yourself first.
First, What is Levels Health?
Levels is an app with technology that syncs to a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that you wear on your arm. It that tracks your blood’s glucose levels in real time so you can maximize your diet and exercise. In short, you can *see* how your body reacts to food, and it is MIND BLOWING.
To be honest I went into this program a little too self confident, and I’m not proud of it. I thought, “I eat super clean” mostly because I have to, but I also like to. So there’s no possible way Levels is going to show me anything I don’t already know. To say it plainly, I. WAS. WRONG. I was humbled in my very first 24 hours, ha!
As of today I will have worn my Levels CGM for 11 days. By day 7 I really started to get the hang of what my body likes and doesn’t like (which I *thought* I already knew), and I am so excited about what I found. So let’s get into it.
Putting on the Monitor…
Okay, well this was the thing I was MOST scared of, and actually I will post of video of me putting it on in stories later today. You will get a kick out of it. I felt so dumb once I finally put it on. IT DOES NOT HURT AT ALL. Like, at all. I made such a fuss becuase I hate needles but the CGM has a tiny flexible filament that sits under the skin (similar to fishing line), no needle! I can not stress enough that I am the biggest baby but it’s absolutely nothing.
Also, I thought that wearing the monitor would bug me, but I truly don’t even remeber I’m wearing it 99% of the day. The 1% is when I am scanning my arm for updates. Other than that, it’s like it’s not even there.
Why Wear Levels?
Well, easy… you don’t know what you don’t know. I have been following Be Well By Kelly’s Fab 4 method since 2018 and it has changed my life. I’ve always known I have a moderate blood sugar issue and have found that when I eat the “Fab 4” (fat, fiber, protein, greens) at every meal, I don’t get headaches or dizzy. I’ve never in my life been one of those girls who can just grab a cup of coffee and go! Or eat a banana at my desk for lunch… I’d be miserable, so this way of eating made sense for me and I’ve never felt better.
That got me excited to try Levels because I knew it would be a way to actually test out Kelly’s theory in real time, and guys, it’s absolutely incredible. But it was also very eye opening to see what my body actually likes and dislikes. The most shocking of all was to see how different Ryan’s levels look to mine. It solidifies the fact that our bodies are different.
Example of the Fab 4 Working in Real Time:
Here’s a side by side of what two meals may look like, and how the combination of fat, fiber, and protien really makes a huge difference.
Fab 4 Smoothie
I swear by Be Well By Kelly’s Fab4 Smoothies. I honestly feel SO GOOD after I have one, unlike I have ever felt in the morning. Clear headed, full, and energized. I’ve had practically the same smoothing every single morning since 2018 and I’m never going back. But look, now I know why I like the way I feel when I drink one. My glucose levels stay smooth and steady. No spike what-so-ever. It’s magic. Smoothie recipes here.
Healthy GF/DF Pumpkin Muffin
Now, compare that to the gluten/dairy free protein pumpkin muffin I had for lunch… to be honest, that chart just scares me. The issue here is the oatmeal and rice flour used, without enough fat and fiber to balance it. My levels SHOT UP, and here I thought I was having something healthy. This would explain why I had a headache that afternoon.
What did I learn?
SO. MUCH. It openend my eyes and has helped me reshape the way I think about food, but in a healthy way. Oatmeal, not great for me. I spike SO HIGH just looking at it. Sweet potatoes, again, spike city. Two things I was having regularly and sometimes on an empty stomach as a snack. Now I’ve learned the combination of foods I eat matters and that sweet potatoes are great, but mix them with a some serious protien, fat, fiber, and greens. Because alone, my body treats it like candy. And if I am going to spike my blood sugar, I’d honestly rather just have actual candy, let’s be real.
Here are a few other meals I ate that had great glucose/metabolic scores. Again this shows fat, fiber, and protien at work.
Lunch: 1/3 cup of quinoa, 2 giant handfuls of sautéed kale, 2 eggs, 1/2 an avocado, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and green onions. Such a great meal, incredibly filling and just, well, good. I was full for 4 hours.
Snack: flaxseed crackers, hummus with olive oil and everything bagel seasoning, a few olives, and two pieces of turkey. I was full for over four hours.
Dinner: My girlfriend Stacie sent me this recipe to try and it was a HIT. Not only was is incredibly good, but it scored a 10! Stacie leads creative for Levels and her husband David is one of the co-founders, so it’s been so fun texting updates to each other like crazy… it’s kind of like a book club, but not at all the same! ha!
Exercise, Sleep, and Stress Management is Important.
A simple walk can change everything! Last Friday night we had takeout and made gin martinis. I had a burger over a large salad with a handful of yucca fries drizzled in honey. I checked my Levels as soon as we finished the meal and Ryan and I were both spiking. So we laced up our tennis shoes and went for a 30 minute walk at 9:30 pm around our neighborhood. Midway through we checked our Levels, and they had evened out. Pretty crazy what a walk can do.
Sleep and stress matter more than I even thought. Last week I had a terrible night of sleep, tossed and turned all night. The next day my glucose levels were high all day and all over the place. The same meal that gave me a 10 the day before was giving me 7s. Same with stress. I had a stressful phone call a few days ago and my levels spiked while I was on the call, which was so crazy to see!! So when I have a bad night of sleep or am more stressed than I’d like to be, eating balanced meals is more important than ever. Your body needs the right fuel to recalibrate.
Perfect isn’t Fun.
And lastly, I learned that perfect isn’t obtainable, and it isn’t fun! ha! I’m not a professional athlete, getting 10s for ever meal. Never spiking my levels really isn’t my goal here, and truthfully that sounds fairly miserable. I like food (and cocktails!!) FAR too much for that. If I can live in the 80/20 or even the 70/30 I’m really happy about that. Overall wellness is my goal and being mindful of that food is really fuel to help my body run!
I am completely sold on Levels and want to do this a few times a year to get a good baseline. I can not (seriously) say enough good things about it and I truly want every single person in my family to get on board ASAP. My mom has already signed up and I think the rest of my family isn’t far behind her.
Having access to metabolic health and being able to bend and flex accordingly will pay dividends for our future wellness, and I am just so excited that something like this exists and is now accessible. If you are interested I say, do it. You will not regret it!!