*watch this on YouTube instead! Like to read? Keep scrolling!
My experience with Zoe isn’t what you think it might be…
It’s definitely NOT what I expected. Before I get into that, let me tell you very quickly what the Zoe test even is: ZOE analyzes your unique gut, blood fat and blood sugar responses using an at-home stool test and blood test. It helps you understand how your body responds to food, your unique gut microbiome as well as your blood sugar regulation. Understanding these metrics is SUPER important for overall health.
I had an opportunity to try this testing kit, and I honestly thought my results would be glowing, but instead I was shocked and came to realize an issue we’re facing as consumers on a collective level, not just individual.
How the Zoe test works…
As far as the actual test, it wasn’t the easiest at-home kit I have ever done given the complex nature of collecting a stool sample and making sure everything is done properly, but if you read the instructions and use the YouTube video I made as a guide, you shouldn’t have a hard time.
Here are the basic steps:
- Visit ZOE here to purchase your test (you can use code HEATHERD10 for 10% off)
- When your test arrives, unbox everything and read the instructions. DON’T THROW AWAY THE BOX UNTIL YOU SCAN THE BAR CODE IN STEP 3
- Download the ZOE Test app (it’s blue) from the App Store on your phone and follow the prompts. You will scan the barcode on the box that was shipped to you, answer a few questions and set a timeline for your test. Also download the ZOE Insights App (pink/red color) for when your results come back.
- Follow the instructions on the app for your stool test, collection and mailing and complete that process as directed.
- On another day that you will be prompted with the app, follow the instructions for the blood collection (you will have to fast and eat muffins that Zoe provides you that are gluten free, dairy free and vegan). The muffins don’t taste bad but they are a little dry.
- After you complete both tests and mail everything in, you get your results about 6 weeks later.
- Your results include a personalized action plan with certain foods to eat and avoid, all accessible through an easy-to-use app.
Completing the process on my own was a tad complicated, however I encourage you to use the video I made as a resource and reach out to their customer support for any questions. In my experience they were kind, quick to respond and supportive!
What your results will tell you about your health
THE STOOL TEST
The purpose of the stool test is to provide insights about your gut microbiome and the prevalence of 30 specific bacteria (15 good and 15 bad) in your gut. You will also receive a list of personalized gut boosters (foods that will support the growth of good bacteria), and gut suppressors (foods to limit bad bacteria).
Why does this matter? The connection between your gut and your brain is so complex and so immense, we don’t even know where one starts and the other begins – they are one exclusive unit working together. The health of your gut is IMMENSELY connected to your mental health, and in a world where we are struggling with so much anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, taking care of our gut is a huge step to improving these issues. Mental health issues don’t mean something is “wrong” with you, it’s likely due to nutritional deficiencies that can be understood by having insight into your gut microbiome.
THE BLOOD TEST
The purpose of the blood test is to measure your blood sugar and fat response after meals and how well you are metabolizing them. The combination of these factors, together with details you share in your health profile, helps Zoe understand your dietary inflammation and other health factors.
Why does this matter? Blood sugar regulation and fat metabolism are extremely important indications of overall health. The Zoe test gives you insight into how efficiently your body breaks down and metabolizes certain nutrients. After consuming a meal, there is a natural rise in blood sugars, the problem is that the standard American diet consists of high sugar, high carbohydrate, refined/processed foods which cause a HUGE spike in blood sugars and then a huge crash. Controlling these blood sugar spikes helps reduce inflammation, sustain energy, control hunger, and reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
My results, and what they told me about our collective gut health.
My results were honestly pretty shocking to me. Being an individual who is primarily focused on health, wellbeing and longevity, my nutrition and lifestyle practices are definitely above average, however my gut health and blood sugar test results were less than optimal. Let’s take a look below:
MY BLOOD SUGAR AND FAT RESULTS
What does this mean?
My blood sugar regulation came back poor, meaning my body did not respond well to the high amounts of carbohydrate. This didn’t surprise me though, and here’s why: prior to taking the blood test, you have to fast and only eat muffins that Zoe provides you for breakfast and lunch. Muffins are a food that are higher in carbohydrate and sugars, which is not my typical diet. My breakfast consists of a balanced meal with proper carbohydrate, protein, fat and fiber to stabilize blood sugars and prevent a glucose spike. So it doesn’t surprise me that the muffins caused an abnormal spike in my glucose levels.
The blood fat score came back ideal, which means my body metabolizes fats efficiently.
MY GUT HEALTH RESULTS
What does this mean?
What these results mean, in plain English, its that I have fewer good bacteria in my gut than I should. I still scored favorably for not having too many bad bacteria, but the RATIO of good to bad bacteria is what is not ideal.
I also tested negative for the parasite Blastocystis, which originally sounds like a good thing (parasite has a negative connotation), but this is actually a beneficial parasite that is associated with less abdominal fat and a better metabolism.
Why this is not an individual problem…
The bottom line is that I’m missing essential bacteria in my digestive tract, but why? Let’s think about this logically.
Inside the personalized Zoe report and app, they give certain foods to eat and to avoid in order to bring your gut back into good health. When I was reading through mine, I already avoid all of the foods suggested, and I regularly consume all of the foods suggested. Not to mention, I purchase most of my produce and food organically to reduce toxin and pesticide exposure that further disrupts the gut.
So, if this is what MY gut health looks like considering my nutrition and lifestyle practices, what does this look like for the average person who doesn’t necessarily value their health? And WHY?
This is what I realized:
This isn’t an individual problem, it’s a collective issue due to our food supply being void of essential nutrients and bacteria. It all goes back to the farming practices: we have large commercial farms that grow the same crop over and over all year long and spray the crops with chemicals. Not to mention the genetic modification that goes on…
The soil is depleted. When there is no crop rotation and animals are not roaming the farms defecating on the soil, it becomes depleted of the bacteria and therefore affects our gut microbiome.
What can you do about it?
For me, this changed everything, not about which foods I consume, but how I purchase them. I now visit my local farmer’s market every week to purchase all of my produce from local farms who still value organic farming practices and rotate their crops.
I value conscious consuming practices, I want to know where my food came from, the individuals behind it and be able to trust in the fact that there is integrity in the process. And let me tell you, the difference in the taste of the produce from the farmer’s market compared to the grocery store is INSANE! The food actually has flavor, which tells me it’s rich in nutrients and will support my gut health.
I hope this encourages you to look up local markets in your area!
The verdict on Zoe, should you take the test?
In my experience, it was actually very eye opening. Taking the test gave me significant insight into my own gut health and what the root cause is (not just for myself either). Having this knowledge empowered me to make a change and do something different that I hadn’t previously made a priority.
I find that individuals often need data to make changes, something tangible they can cling to and say “wow, I need to change something here!”. You may have concerns about your gut health or overall health, but aren’t sure where to start. Taking a test like this can give you specific and personalized insights so that you feel more empowered to take a small step in the right direction.
If you’re interested in Zoe, you can visit their store here and use the code HEATHERD10 for 10% off.