7 Biohacks for Healthy Entrepreneurs
Around four years ago, doctors found a cantaloupe-sized cyst on my left ovary after I asked them to check my fertility … I was 36.
When I heard their prognosis, I didn’t really know what to make it mean. I would need outpatient surgery, it was routine, and I’d be back to my life by the next week, just needed to “take it easy.”
It’s a long story, but suffice say the surgery and recovery were anything but routine. After 6 days of not being able to keep food or water down (this was not on the post-op recovery documentation), and not being able to reach my doctor for help, I ended up in the ER undergoing surgery again to free my small intestine from the incision area so I could function.
The stress of this experience on my body took ‘Misty the half marathoner, the achiever, the health nut, the sunshiney-ball-of-energy’ almost a year from which to recover from. I had terrible insomnia for weeks. I had brain fog and no energy; it was like I slipped through a wormhole and lived in a parallel universe.
“You have endometriosis.”
After my surgery, the OBGYN told me that I had endometriosis, and they’d spent almost 2 hours removing scar tissue from my abdomen along with 3 polyps from my uterus.
My surgery should have been fairly routine. I should have been up and around, doing my thing, fairly quickly once the cyst was removed.
“So, you’ve diagnosed me with a disease. What is endometriosis, and what do I need to do to manage this condition?” I had my game face on… when it came to my health, I’d always been serious about taking care of myself.
“We don’t know what causes endometriosis; you can google it. And if the scar tissue builds up again, we can do surgery. You’ll never be as fertile as you are right now.”
I was stunned. I can google it??? I’d trusted my body, my temple that allows me to pursue my passions and become an entrepreneur, to a hack.
I felt betrayed. If my body “goes down,” I’m screwed, and I can’t provide for myself. I can’t deliver on my promises to the people who are trusting me to help them grow their businesses. The ripple effect of me losing my quality of life to trashed biology was stark… overwhelming.
If you’re not familiar with endometriosis, it’s a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside instead. The Mayo Clinic has a full write-up of causes, risk factors, treatments, and tons of other information here (yes, Google was more helpful than my doctor).
Seven months later, doctors found nodules on my thyroid and wanted to remove it. They “didn’t know what caused them,” and “All your labs are normal.”
I’m mutating, and my labs are normal.
These experiences birthed in me an insane passion for owning my health and taking care of my body.
Here’s what I learned:
I learned that while I loved being a runner, Half Marathons were too stressful on my endocrine system and I had to stop. This was painful . I miss running to this day.
I learned that my night-owl tendencies were making my hormone issues worse.
I learned that biologically, women and stress and entrepreneurship were like oil and water, requiring a unique set of tools to manage.
I learned that there are a lot of environmental influences that govern our health that I’d never even considered before.
I learned that mainstream medicine is great for trauma, not-so-great for actual “health” care. None of the doctors I saw could offer any insight into lifestyle changes I could make to help improve my health or prevent the onset of disease in the first place. They applied trauma tools (surgery) to disease problems that needed a completely different set of tools to properly address.
That same year, I discovered Dr. Jack Kruse, a neurosurgeon who lived in Nashville at the time, who blogs on quantum biology, anti-aging and optimal health. I started learning about things like the brain-gut axis, the hormone cascade, and autoimmunity. I was introduced to the Paleo and functional medicine communities. Jack hired us to manage his online community, and for the next two years, my drive to learn about my own biology intersected with my passion for helping entrepreneurs tell their stories and grow their businesses.
I’m an achiever at my core, and to keep up with the demands of my lifestyle, taking care of my health is one of my top priorities.
Here are a few biohacks that I incorporate consistently into my lifestyle to support optimal health:
1. Drink LOTS of water.
I drink nearly a gallon of water per day. (
I blogged about sourcing great water over on JackKruse.com)
2. Get Vitamin D through supplements and sunshine.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone that your body needs to function optimally, and there are all sorts of studies that link low vitamin D levels to female cancers like breast cancer and cervical cancer.
3. Take bio-identical hormones.
Everything good about our physical humanity seems to come from a great hormone balance in the body. Diseases of aging are often tied to poor hormones. Susanne Somer’s book
Ageless is a great primer on how powerful hormone therapy after age 30 can be … especially if you’re an entrepreneur who deals with a lot of stress!
4. Go to sleep early!
Early is subjective, of course, but for almost 20 years, I didn’t go to bed before 2 am … I was such a night owl. One of the things I struggled with after my surgeries was adrenal fatigue. My hormone production was so trashed because the body replenishes hormones in alignment with circadian signaling (light cycles) and generally speaking, hormones are replenished biologically between 11 pm and 1 am. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how I was screwing the pooch on that one.
Dave Asprey of bulletproof coffee fame has some awesome blogs on sleep:
9 Ways to Sleep Better and Wake Up Feeling Like a New Person
How to Hack Your Sleep: The Art & Science of Sleeping
Sleep Hacking to Improve Your Sleep
5. Avoid blue light after dark.
Learning about circadian rhythms and how the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for restoration and repair in the body) is activated in large part by light cycles was eye-opening for me. Living in a well-lit environment, staring at a blue screen after dark wreaks havoc on our biology. I wear amber glasses after the sun goes down and have replaced the bulbs in many of my lamps with amber light bulbs for lighting the room after dark.
6. Eat anti-inflammatory foods and supplement with Omega 3.
Inflammation is basically the breeding ground for disease, and stress (both internal and external stress) causes inflammation. Omega 3s are a fantastic mitigator of inflammation and those omegas feed your brain!
7. Add high-quality fats to your diet.
I was raised with the idea that fat was “bad” for you. There is a lot to learn in this area (I’m a huge fan of my friend Dave Asprey’s
Bulletproof Diet — check out Dave’s blog for great info on healthy fats!). I put at least 2 T of MCT oil in my protein shake or bulletproof coffee every day! I also eat a lot of seafood and avocado to load up on the good stuff!
I could blog for weeks on all the stuff I’ve learned and do and why … the point is, my health is my most valuable investment as an entrepreneur! Working so hard and losing my quality of life in the process is a non-starter. I’m committed to taking care of my temple and honoring my body.
I love learning what other entrepreneurs are doing to optimize their health! Do you have any favorite health hacks?