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About this Episode
Biohacking Expert Brittany Ford | Take Your Health into Your Own Hands
In this episode of Discover with Dr. Dan | Proactive Health, Dr. Dan meets with Biohacking expert, Brittany Ford to discuss all things biohacking. In this episode, they go over the benefits of biohacking, skincare, self-care, and mental health. Listen to the full podcast below to learn more about Brittany’s work.
What is Biohacking?
Registered Holistic Nutritionist Brittany Ford helps clients from all over the world through their health journeys by offering health-related tips and plans. Brittany defines biohacking as, “Holistic self-care for optimal health.” When a client first connects with Brittany, together they complete a life assessment looking at all aspects of their daily routines. She will ask the client questions about their sleep, hydration, bowel movements, diet, etc. to gain a deeper understanding of how a client’s lifestyle affects different aspects of their health. Brittany goes on to explain that biohacking is essentially useless without self-awareness. Once a person is self-aware of their actions and routine, Brittany is then able to help shape their daily lives into something optimal. “When you learn to heal and work with the body holistically, you can get better results and long-term results too,” she notes. When holistic lifestyle principles are implemented, long-lasting success and health is sure to follow, as preventative health is a major component of biohacking.
Self-Care and Habit Stacking to Create a Healthier Lifestyle
Self-care is becoming increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more people are aware of their need to maintain a healthy relationship with their mind and body. According to Brittany, biohacking encompasses all aspects of self-care. In the planning process with her clients, she helps them understand the value of putting oneself first. She encourages activities such as sleeping early, hydrating often, exercising, and eating well. Part of this process is becoming self-aware and tracking how often occurrences of these activities happen and how they impact daily life, feelings and emotions. Self-care is a continuous and ongoing process. It takes practice and dedication to put oneself first and to completely commit to prioritizing personal health. “There’s ways to handle things. There’s ways to heal the body. It’s just a journey and you have to be willing to put in the time and effort for it.” Brittany notes that one by one, good habits start stacking until a client becomes an overall healthier person with a well-developed lifestyle full of biohacking habits.
Human Connection and Self-Accountability
The worldwide pandemic that is COVID-19 has forced people to stay home and away from most social connections. Because of this, the topic of mental health has skyrocketed across many platforms. Having been a more taboo subject, it is now much more acceptable to discuss and to be open about mental health. Now that people are staying safe at home, there has been a greater need for human connection and as a result, therapists are busier than ever! For Brittany, this is a good sign that mental health is becoming more normalized and less taboo. “I think there’s challenges for our mental health that have come out of COVID, but I think we’re seeing some really cool solutions as well.” On top of this, biohacking can have positive impacts on mental health, especially when clients put their mental health and self-care as their first priority.
Brittany leaves listeners with a challenge to take ownership of personal health, to not only assess symptoms and feelings, but to do something about the information gained from that assessment. “Take care of yourself now so that you’re healthier tomorrow.”
To learn more about biohacking and Brittany’s expertise, check out the Discover | Dr. Dan Proactive Health podcast episode below, and be sure to subscribe for new episodes each Tuesday.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (00:13)
Welcome to Discover with Dr. Dan | The Proactive Health Podcast. This podcast is sponsored by Brilliant, an innovative and proactive wellness company. Brilliant helps people to live a healthier and happier life by discovering and using bioactive natural ingredients to formulate products to help them discover and unleash their innate brilliance. See feelbrilliant.com for more information. With us today is Brittany Ford, a biohacking professional. Hi Brittany.
Brittany Ford: (00:41)
Hi, thank you for having me
Dr. Dan Gubler: (00:43)
So grateful to have you on our show. Info and a quick bio about Brittany. Most days you can find Brittany sipping her favorite coffee. Coconut oil, mushroom powder, exogenous ketones and collagen is her favorite mix. Educating herself on anything and everything health-related, working online from anywhere in the world. She is mostly known for being ambitious, fun and passionate about all things nature related. Most people refer to her as B or now Bio B. Again, I love that. What a great name. The girl who is super duper healthy and is always trying new, weird health ideas, but only weird until they become mainstream years later. She loves serving the world through sharing her personal health journey through social media, her podcast, the collaborative community, and she created holistic biohacking and nutrition and volunteering IRL within the health realm. When she’s not busy working online, you can find her watching total rom-coms, no shame, hey, no shame here either, eating brunch, having coffee with friends or traveling. She’s been on a wild health journey for over 10 years. Recovering her health from Leaky Gut, Dandida, parasites, dysbiosis, adrenal fatigue, and hormonal imbalances through a variety of natural health methods. Again, Brittany, so great to have you.
Brittany Ford: (01:58)
Amazing. Yeah. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (02:01)
Perfect. So tell us a little bit about your health journey.
Brittany Ford: (02:04)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course. So it started about 11 years ago or so. I was dealing with symptoms and signs that were kind of unexplainable by my doctor at the time. She basically said like, nothing was wrong with me, kind of ignored everything I was telling her. And even back then I knew that things weren’t going well, like things weren’t aligned and I started kind of going down this path of seeing different types of practitioners. And at the time, like wellness wasn’t really a thing and I started with a natural path, that seemed to be like the next step. And then started doing different testing and seeing nutritionists and all sorts of things, honestly, because I was really desperate for answers and I find like a lot of people are actually like that. Like they go to their doctor and their doctor necessarily help.
Brittany Ford: (03:00)
And then they kind of start seeing other types of healthcare practitioners and they might help, they might not. And then kind of during that journey, like I just fell in love with the idea of natural health and healing myself and not necessarily just taking a prescription drug to suppress the symptoms, but rather looking at the root cause of what’s going on and kind of like alleviating the body as a whole, in a very holistic manner. And yeah, and I just like fell in love with it and I’ve done all sorts of jobs and gone down different avenues, but hearing them now, I’m super into biohacking. I’m a nutritionist by trade. So I do a lot of work with clients as a nutritionist, but it’s always like biohacking as well and holistic lifestyle type of thing as well.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (03:54)
So tell us a little bit about biohacking. I know a lot of our listeners have heard that term. Some people might know what it is. Other people have heard it. It’s hot right now. What is biohacking?
Brittany Ford: (04:05)
Yeah. So the way that I define it is holistic self-care for optimal health. And so when you break it down, holistic self-care, that basically means that instead of only looking at one aspect of your health, such as like nutrition or fitness, we really look at you as a whole. So we look at your sleep, we look at your stress, we look at your relationships, we look at everything that makes you, you. And then we say, “Okay, where are you now and how can we get you to a more optimal place?” So for optimal health, that’s the definition that I use because it’s very tangible and people can easily understand it and then it gets more nitty-gritty and biohacking kind of has like different sectors now, too, but generally speaking, that’s what it is.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (04:51)
Nice. Well, that’s really cool. The holistic approach. So what you’re saying is that with biohacking, we have certain inputs kind of like a computer. We have certain inputs and then depending on the inputs, it’ll give a different outputs. And so what you’re saying is that the system that you’re using, biohacking, is that you’re helping to modulate the inputs about how we do things that would then change the output of overall health. Is that –
Brittany Ford: (05:16)
Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, depending on the issue at hand, right? Like whether it’s skin and like maybe you’re dealing with acne. So instead of just buying acne skincare products, we’d look at, okay, first of all, what is causing that? And secondly, what different lifestyle factors are also contributing to that? Is it stress? Is it poor sleep? Are you environmentally exposed to toxins or mold or et cetera, et cetera, right? Like there’s so many different things that you can look at. Because usually there’s more to play than just one simple factor. Like things are pretty, can be pretty complicated and again, like when you learn to heal and work with the body holistically, you can get better results and long-term results too. Not just like, “I’m going to suppress this thing for a month and then it’s going to flare up again,” right? Like it actually creates long results, which is awesome.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (06:11)
That is awesome. So I know skin health is one of your areas of expertise. What would you tell our listeners about how to take care of their skin?
Brittany Ford: (06:20)
Yeah. Oh, this is, yeah. Hard to say where to start. I really got into skincare last year. Yeah. 2019 to 2020 because I had acne for the first time in my life. And so when I was a teenager, I didn’t have any acne had no skin issues. And then to get acne as an adult was like, “Okay, what is going on?” like, “Why is this suddenly happening?” And I realized it was actually related to my menstrual cycle and I was having hormonal imbalances and I was actually able to heal my acne through balancing my hormones. So if people are dealing with skin issues, like there’s such a wide range of what those issues can be. I would work with somebody who can really take a step back and kind of figure out what’s causing it in the first place. Because like, again, like any type of skincare product, any, any type of band-aid approach only works for very short amount of time if it does work. And we really need to figure out like the cause and then actually heal from the bottom up. Yeah and like, I do this with my clients and I’ve also done it with myself, so I know that it works. Yeah.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (07:37)
Great. So what you’re talking about with the approach and holistic nutrition in general is a proactive approach rather than reactive. Going so far down the path that you have to try to push it back. Sometimes unnatural means with pharmaceutical drugs.
Brittany Ford: (07:54)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think prevention in general is the key, but prevention is tough because you could be living the most healthy lifestyle and you’ll never know actually what you’re preventing because you’ll never actually see it come to fruition, right? So it’s like this thing that you’re like, “Okay, I’m staying active and I’m watching my blood sugar and I’m doing all these different things,” but it’s so hard to actually know what would be happening if you weren’t doing that long-term. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it and doesn’t mean prevention isn’t important, but it’s just kind of hard to think about it like that. But yeah, I think prevention is so key and that’s what I try and talk to my clients about. Or especially people who are like millennials or younger, you kind of have this like output of, “I’m invincible and I’m indestructible and I’m going to be healthy my whole life and be able to live this like very intense lifestyle my whole life.” And then suddenly you wake up one day and you can’t anymore. And so what I try and do, especially through social media is like, get people to care about their health now, so that when they’re 70, they’re actually still able to do a lot of the things that they can do right now. But it’s hard. It’s hard to get young people to actually care about that.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (09:17)
It is hard, right? With lifestyle factors, like the modern processed diet and stress and anxiety and sleep. Telling people, “Don’t eat that piece of pizza ever, ever, ever again,” right? Or, “Never be stressed.” It’s difficult. It’s hard to change lifestyle.
Brittany Ford: (09:32)
Yeah. It is difficult. But I did it. Like, I used to party four times a week, right? And like in university, I used to drink so much. Up all night. My sleep was crazy. My stress was crazy. And when you’re in it, you feel like you’re indestructible and you’re young and you’re healthy, but that doesn’t last, right? And so you really have to start taking care of yourself and self-care is super important. And that’s like, I love seeing how trendy self-care has really become, especially during COVID and the pandemic. People are really prioritizing time off of social media. Time away, like personal time. And there’s, self-care can look very different for different people, but I think that’s so important and yeah, take care of yourself now so that you’re healthier tomorrow, really.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (10:26)
Right. So you talked about these change in habits, to start self-care. A lot of people want to do that, right? Deep down. They want to change. What was the tipping point for you? What gave you the power to actually make that change and have it be lasting?
Brittany Ford: (10:43)
Yeah, I mean, I think for me it was the symptoms that I was dealing with, right? Like my skin, at any time that you deal with a symptom or a health condition that triggers an emotional response in terms of becoming self-conscious or not feeling as good or feeling more tired or feeling like you are worthless or whatever it is, I think there’s a lot of drive that comes from that. And I see that with my clients, right? So they come to me when they’ve tried everything and things aren’t working, and there’s a lot of emotion tied to what they’re dealing with. And so that seems to be the tipping point for a lot of people because obviously, we have a lot of emotion tied to our health and our body and our minds and things that we’re dealing with. And so, yeah. And so I think that was the tipping point. And also just like seeing results, right? When you start doing these things and you go to bed early and you’re getting great sleep night after night, and you actually wake up feeling great every single morning, and then you could work better and your business does better. And it just kind of like ricochets into the rest of your life, you don’t want to quit because why would you when you’re more successful? Like the proof is in the pudding really.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (12:02)
Oh, that makes sense. Going downhill, right? Once you get the inertia and the momentum, starting is hard, but that’s interesting. I had my own health journey and it just got to the point where, I came to myself, right? I wasn’t happy with where I was and it kind of takes some time to get to that point. So when you work with people that come to you and they’re at that point, they’ve tried everything, they’re just sick and tired and want to make a change. What are some of the first things that you do?
Brittany Ford: (12:29)
The first thing I always recommend is increasing self-awareness. So before we tackle biohacking and try and change all these different things, or you get like the latest biohacking tech and stuff, it doesn’t really matter unless you’re very self-aware of your symptoms and the way that your body’s functioning, right? So the first time I talked to somebody, it’s a lot of like, “How are your bowel movements? How’s your hydration? How are your stress levels?” Like, “How are you sleeping?” And a lot of people actually haven’t even thought about that, or like really understood, or understand how they’re doing in those departments. People, if I say, “How are your bowel movements?” People are like, “Oh, they’re fine.” I’m like, “Okay, what is fine?” And then they’re like, “Oh, well, I go like once every three days.” And I’m like, “Okay, well that’s constipation, so that’s not fine.” Right? And we kind of get into this rut of like the new normal for us where it’s not optimal, but we’re so used to it and we think it’s okay, but it can be better. So I think self-awareness is the first step for sure. And really getting a very detailed picture of you and your health, not just one day, but over a month, over six months, like really, what is your health and body look like right now?
Dr. Dan Gubler: (13:52)
Okay. So you get a baseline then of where people are at.
Brittany Ford: (13:56)
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s interesting, because like once you start asking those questions and then you meet with people again, then they just like spill the tea and they’re like, “Oh my gosh. This is what I’m dealing with. I didn’t even realize this was happening. I really don’t drink a lot of water during the day and I thought I did, but then I started tracking it and turns out I don’t.” So it’s increasing the self-awareness and then we can say, “Okay, this area needs work. This area needs work. Let’s start with one and kind of go through them.” But it takes effort. It takes time, right? So you really have to be ready to prioritize yourself and your health, but everyone who comes to me is because they’re at that point. So it’s amazing. It’s really cool.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (14:43)
Cool. So that must be really rewarding working with the self-awareness of clients and doing that baseline work.
Brittany Ford: (14:50)
Yeah. Yeah, it is. It’s fun and it’s cool. And I learn a lot too, right? And I enjoy it a lot and it’s really nice to also help people who’ve had similar health problems as myself, because I’m not coming from a place of not understanding the emotional component to it or how long it might take to heal those issues, and we really relate. And so when you can relate to your clients, like on a very personal level, it makes for a very good relationship.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (15:21)
So I know you do a lot with gut health and you’ve studied that a lot. What would you tell our listeners about the importance of gut health?
Brittany Ford: (15:28)
Yeah, so gut health has become very trendy, which is very cool to see. My health problems started with gut health. So like you said, I had Leaky Gut, parasites, Candida, all sorts of things. And my body was just like not functioning very well. And if you’re dealing with gut health issues, there are so many resources now that did not exist 10 years ago. There are so many books. There are so many specialists, diets, all sorts of things. So it’s really, we’re in a good place for gut health and I like the education around it. I think if you’re going to start somewhere today, I mean, there’s even testing. Like I, it depends what you’re dealing with. I think Viome testing is very cool. That’s a gut health intelligence test and it looks at all the different bacteria in your gut and also the functioning of it. I think that’s a fantastic place to start to really get a very detailed picture of what’s going on. But then yeah, there’s other things you can do as well. So maybe like testing is probably the best and self-awareness like we previously talked about.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (16:42)
Okay. Yeah. I love the microbiome as well. Such a fascinating area. To just think that for every one human cell in our body, we have 10 bacterial cells, right? And then we’re actually an ecosystem, right? The eighties and nineties, it was all, “Kill all the bacteria.” Antibacterial this or that. So it’s really interesting. Well, that’s great. So that’s part of your baseline measurement as you, as you talk with clients.
Brittany Ford: (17:06)
Yeah. It depends what you come to me with, right? Like, is it skin? But a lot of the time, skin is actually related to gut health, right? So then we have to look at your gut health regardless. So it depends on the symptoms and the signs. It depends on your digestion. Depends on what you’re eating. Like it’s very holistic. So I mean, when I was going through my gut health issues, I wish that I had somebody to kind of sift through my whole life and be like, “Okay, this is really what’s going on.” Not just, “You’re fine. Nothing’s wrong with you,” type of thing. And that’s why I do what I do is because I wish I had this 10 years ago.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (17:50)
Oh, that’s awesome. So you and I were talking before the show about some of the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to us in relation to holistic nutrition. What would you share with us on that?
Brittany Ford: (18:03)
In relation to nutrition?
Dr. Dan Gubler: (18:05)
Yeah, nutrition or overall. Some of the factors of COVID-19 that can affect us holistically.
Brittany Ford: (18:12)
Yeah. I think the biggest thing that I’ve seen is the impact on our mental health. I can speak for myself for that, but I can also speak for my clients and people online as well. So I think we’re really struggling with being at home, a lack of separation between work and home life now because everyone’s working from home. The lack of socialization has been really hard, especially for me, especially for people who are extroverted and get energy from other people. And yeah, I think it’s hard and I like that mental health is becoming less taboo almost even more so because of COVID and we’re talking about it and we’re talking about self-care and how to kind of like take care of your mental health. So I think there’s challenges for our mental health that have come out of COVID, but I think we’re seeing some really cool solutions as well.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (19:12)
Wonderful. Yeah. I love it about mental health, right? Like you said, mental health was taboo, right? “Buck up,” right? Just a matter of squaring your shoulders and thinking positive, but it’s been refreshing to see that there’s much more than that.
Brittany Ford: (19:27)
Yeah. And a lot of people are open about their anxiety or their depression now. Whereas before, it kinda just seemed like, I dunno, like, “Oh, you have depression, what’s wrong with you?” And now it’s like, no, I mean, maybe everyone is on some sort of scale of depression or have depressive days. And of course we’re going through a global pandemic. Like if that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is on top of everything else we’re personally dealing with as well, right? So I think it’s also been a, yeah, like I have a therapist and she even said her practice has never been busier because everyone is needing to talk to somebody about what they’re dealing with and needing support. And I really like that. And I love that it’s becoming more acceptable, more open to talk about it.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (20:18)
Oh, that’s great. So what are some things, some final things, it’s been great talking with you, Brittany, I’ve sure enjoyed our conversation, what are some final actionable items you would leave with our listeners?
Brittany Ford: (20:30)
Yeah. So I think just like on the trend of what we’re talking about, like increasing your self-awareness, trying to see how you feel throughout the day. Like, do you hit an energy slump at two 30 every single day? Do you wake up in the morning and you’re actually not refreshed and you have to like peel yourself out of bed? How’s your libido? How, like everything, right? Like really assessing where you are as a human being right now at this point in your life and at this age. Because if you don’t feel good and things aren’t optimal or where you want them to be, the good news is, is there so many people who could actually help you get back on track and support you. And so I really encourage people to take ownership of their health and assess it and really do something. Yeah, because better late than never.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (21:26)
I love that. A lot of times we think we’re victims, right? We play the victim mentality, right? That all these things are coming upon us and there’s nothing we could do. We just kind of succumb and I love what you’re saying, that we can live proactively and change things.
Brittany Ford: (21:41)
Yes, exactly. Yeah. You can change things. Just because you’re dealing with a symptom or sign right now, doesn’t mean you have to for the rest of your life. There’s ways to handle things. There’s ways to heal the body. It’s just a journey and you have to be willing to put in the time and effort for it.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (21:59)
So there is hope.
Brittany Ford: (22:00)
There’s hope. Of course there’s hope. There’s lots of hope.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (22:03)
Awesome. Well, Brittany, this has been great. I really love what you talked about and I think our listeners, one of the key takeaways is a self-assessment. A lot of times we’re running around, we’re running like a chicken with our head cut off doing different things. And I love what you’re saying to really take the time and analyze where you’re at. And once we have this baseline and we analyze where we’re at, then we’ll know where to go from there. And it seems like that’s really what you do with your, the people you’re working with.
Brittany Ford: (22:30)
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And that’s how you get results, right? Is like you figure it out, start doing daily, healthy habits, start stacking the habits and then suddenly it’s your lifestyle and you’re just a super healthy person. So, yeah.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (22:45)
Awesome. Well, Brittany, it’s sure been great talking with you. Encourage our listeners to go check you out. Biohackingbrittany.com to learn more of your resources and expertise.
Brittany Ford: (22:55)
Yeah. Amazing. Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (22:57)
Thank you, Brittany. It’s a pleasure. Thanks to our listeners, this is Dr. Dan signing off.