Dr Casey Means is the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Levels Health, a med tech company that provides closed-loop continuous glucose monitoring to help people optimize their diets and so much more.
As Dr Means points out, eating the right food isn't sufficient. Whether a particular whole, plant food – say, a banana, a sweet potato, or bunch of grapes – will spike your glucose to a dangerously high level depends also on the time of day, what you're paring it with, your level of stress at that moment, how active you are physically, any environmental toxins that might be disrupting your metabolism, and the state of your microbiome.
Levels Health's monitor is the size of a stack of two quarters, attaches to the back of your upper arm, and tells your smartphone about your glucose level and heart rate every 15 minutes.
With this information, you can literally see how different foods and activities affect your blood sugar levels.
And blood sugar levels are highly predictive of long-term metabolic and overall health. Spikes and wide swings are not good for us, and lead in the short term to fatigue and mood swings, and inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, and dementia in the long term.
As a behaviorist, I love how that kind of hard, objective, instantaneous data can help us change behavior. Sure, sugar may make me fat in a month and sick in a year, but when it spikes my blood glucose in 10 minutes, that's when I'm motivated to do something about it.
In our conversation, I pitched all the hardball questions I could think of:
- What about carnivores who avoid all carbohydrates and could interpret their results as positive even if they're killing themselves?
- Isn't the root problem that humans are disconnected from nature? So how will more technology move us in the direction of natural health?
- What if the optimal diet for an individual isn't the best thing for animals, or the planet?
Dr Means not only handled them, but converted me to a believer. Her vision for instantaneous, closed-loop data actually holds the promise of moving us back in the direction of natural human movement, reduced pollutants and pesticides, less animal consumption (especially from factory farms pumping out antibiotic- and hormone- and pesticide-laden meat and dairy), and healthier soil and more regenerative agricultural practices.
Because health is holographic. You can't have a healthy skin cell on the pinky of your right hand if you have a systemic disease in your entire body. And we can't be healthy individuals within a diseased ecosystem, on an overburdened planet.
Given that according to a recent UNC study, fully 88% of the US adult population suffers from at least one metabolic dysfunction, there's a huge existing market for the device, which is currently available only via prescription. (Although they are running a public beta, which allows regular old consumers to sign up for the service directly from Levels Health website. Here's a link that allows you, as a loyal Plant Yourself listener, to cut in front of 60,000 people on the wait list and get yours now.)
But the real potential game changer here is for the monitor to become as ubiquitous as FitBit – showing millions of people that the moment-to-moment choices they make immediately and significantly determine their metabolic health.
As the Levels Health blog reminds us, “Metabolism is Life.”
Get your own Levels Health Continuous Glucose Monitor (and skip the 60,000 person waiting list) – NOT an affiliate link
Dr Means' Official Bio
Casey Means, MD is a Stanford-trained physician, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of metabolic health company Levels, and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention. Her mission is to maximize human potential and reverse the epidemic of preventable chronic disease by empowering individuals with tech-enabled tools that can inform smart, personalized, and sustainable dietary and lifestyle choices.
Dr. Means’s perspective has been recently featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Techcrunch, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Hill, Metabolism, Endocrine Today, and more. She is an award-winning biomedical researcher, with past research positions at the NIH, Stanford School of Medicine, and NYU.
Looking for Transformational Change?
You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?
That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.
But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, that I'm devoting the next year to mastering it, studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, and then introducing it into health coaching through my trainings.
Right now, I want to triple my coaching practice to get more and more opportunities to do this work. And I'm lowering my fees – a lot – to make it easier for people to work with me.
If you're interested in working with me (and willing to commit to a minimum of 2 months), click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab and I'll get back to you within 3 business days.
You CAN Change Other People!
Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.
What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.
Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.
Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight
Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.
It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂
This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.
This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive compensation from your actions on such links. It don't cost you a dime, tho.