GlycanAge is a biological age test paired with expert advice to help guide your wellness.

A Biohacking Success Story That Can Teach Us a Lot

Meet Jewel Okwechime, the biohacker with multiple successful career paths. She shared a lot of tips on how to manage a busy lifestyle while focusing on your health and wellness. Could you ever follow her sleep schedule?
Vanja Maganjić

Meet Jewel Okwechime, the biohacker with multiple successful career paths. She shared a lot of tips on how to manage a busy lifestyle while focusing on your health and wellness. Could you ever follow her sleep schedule?

It’s such a pleasure to meet you. I can’t wait to pick your brain. What motivated you to get started on the journey of biohacking?

It probably stems from my father who passed away from prostate cancer in 2010. During that time when he was sick, the doctors failed to diagnose him for a very long time. He would complain about different symptoms and they would say Oh, here's some antibiotics or Let’s try with Viagra. They never really dealt with the actual issue. And by the time it was too late and cancer spread to his bones, leading him to become paralyzed, that was when they realized that he has prostate cancer. 

So he probably had it in his forties and it was only diagnosed in his seventies. When he finally got the right diagnosis, the treatments finished him off. At that time, I just felt like, I cannot trust the medical industry to take care of my health. From that moment, I knew I had to take care of myself and had to learn how to hack my own body. That’s when I started doing my own research and kept on developing myself, figuring out what works for me, and so on. 

So that was how it all started, and to me, knowledge is power. And I really, really believed that there's a lot of information out there so I just started reading books and listening to podcasts. 

I'm so sorry to hear this. You know, unfortunately, when I do these interviews, there are a lot of stories like this, that people have someone in their life that was gone too soon. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, it has to come to the worst possible scenario in order to take a look at our health and do something. 

Was that the situation that lead you to discover GlycanAge? 

I was going to these biohacking meetups every month. These meetings became so important to me that even if I flew back to London at 4 a.m., I would still wake up and go to the meet. I love networking and learning new things. At the last event, I got to meet Nina and she was so passionate about health optimization. So, we got to talking and I said that I wanted to do the blood test. 

I was a little bit nervous but I knew that I was taking good care of myself and was excited to see my results.  

Amazing. And do you remember what were your results?

Yes. I'm 20.

Wooow. Great work.

The consultants told me that this was one of the best results they had ever seen. I was very happy because it was physical proof that I’m not crazy for doing all these different things. 

Look, I'd rather be extreme with my health because I don’t want to put my health in the hands of others. So your test just verified a lot of things and made me feel good about myself and gave me more confidence in my lifestyle choices.

I love that. Did you implement any changes after your first GlycanAge test?

Yes, I did, actually. First of all, I started to work on my fitness. I had a call with your consultants and they gave me tips on some supplements I could take and also provided me with a good understanding of my immune system. 

So I was quite happy to hear that. It also made me realize that some supplements I was already taking were really good. 

That's good to hear. Knowing how busy you are, what do you think is the most challenging part of living healthier while managing a busy lifestyle?

Well, I would say that, when I go to meetings and stuff, I always bring my own water supply and I have my own tea because I know which tea bags are better for me and I also bring my own medical stuff. 

People started calling me Jewel, the Herbalist. Since I'm on the board of companies and I bring my own stuff every time, people started coming up with all these names. 

It can be difficult at times to stick to my lifestyle because I want to be sociable. That means that I have to restrict myself from eating certain foods and drinking certain drinks. 

I also need to stick to my eating windows and things like that. So sometimes I feel like I'm antisocial because I have to focus more on my health, which is very important to me. But at the same time, I try to balance that because I still hang out. 

I’ll have sparkling water and since it’s bubbly, it's almost like champagne, it feels the same. But the key thing is intake. I still have fun times and love to dance and I still have a lot of energy. I like to have a good time and I see myself planning ahead. 

I love it. And what was the biggest surprise for you during this whole biohacking journey?

I believe the biggest surprise is when people are calling themselves biohackers but they're not actually doing healthy things. Like you’ll see them drinking Coca-Cola or something. A lot of the time, I see people doing things I would never do. 

I'm not trying to judge anyone, but it's like, come on. I have to do my own research and find what works for me. And if someone asks for advice, I tell them to start with their diet. The response I get sometimes is - But that’s too hard. Well, let me tell you, it’s not impossible. 

The other thing is sleep. I’m not a big sleeper. I like to have a 2-hour, 3-hour nap here and there. But I'm not someone that sleeps for 6 or 7 hours. I've tried it many times and when I sleep for more than 7 hours, I wake up tired. So I don't like to sleep that long.

You would think that the lack of sleep would affect my health, but at a certain point, I realized that I'm not like everyone else. And in some situations, my body deals with things differently. I look at people like Isaac Newton and all these other brainiacs, they all had little sleep. 

When I'm excited, I can't sleep. I start to appreciate the fact I am different and that sleep hacking is beautiful and perfect for some people but I now realize that even though I'm not a sleeper, it still serves me well. 

So that was kind of like a shock because I thought that would affect my health because all I keep hearing is that you need sleep, but for me, it’s not a big issue. 

That's definitely something I haven’t heard before. Are there any other misconceptions people have about living healthy? 

That it's a lot of work. The most important things are your diet, exercise and lifestyle. Those are the three things, that you should focus on. For me, the key thing is diet. I think that food is medicine.

So when you realize what you're eating and realize that you can enjoy a variety of food, you’ll see it’s not that hard. 

I love food. I'm a foodie. I eat all the time, but I just know how to eat and make sure that I'm also getting the right kind of physical activity to take care of my glucose level and stuff like that. 

For example, I now know more about my insulin, how it spikes and things like that. That helps me plan meals for different times of the day. It’s important to start small. When it comes to fitness, you can start by working out for 35 to 45 minutes, just make sure it’s explosive. I promise you’ll feel good afterwards.  No one should wake up in the morning feeling like they can't get out of bed. If you need coffee to get things started, there’s something wrong with that. 

I just can't wait to start my day and eat healthily to start feeling that way. I never wake up in the morning going - Oh, I wanna stay in bed and drink coffee. I never feel like that because I take care of my body. 

Ahahha, I should definitely take some notes and reevaluate my daily schedule. Is there a spiritual element to your journey?

Of course, there is. There always is. In fact, there are even people that I meet and feel this kind of spiritual connection with. You know, when you’re healing yourself, you heal yourself through other people as well and you understand how important it is to help other people as well. 

So I would say that the spiritual side of things happens when I find myself getting better and healthier and immediately I can't wait to share the news with others because I know that if I could help someone else I feel good too, I'm healing myself as well. 

So there's an element of wanting to help others. There’s also an element of understanding how important it is to breathe properly. I only learned recently how to exercise with my mouth closed because it brings so many benefits. 

That's so sweet. I love that. I love it so much. This is what biohacking is all about. 

I know. 

Let me tell you, I do regular blood tests. I've just had a six-day wellness program with Clinique La Paris in Switzerland. I did the premium rejuvenation, so I would say that everyone should invest in their health because it makes a huge difference. You're more effective, you're more productive at work, and everything comes together when you're taking care of your body and your health. 

They also did another kind of biological age test, but they go about it differently. They asked me so many questions about my lifestyle. To be honest, when they asked whether I’m a smoker and drinker, I had to think back to my uni days and go yeah, I’ve done all of it. 

But the great thing is, you can revert any damage you’ve done to your body if you start changing your habits. The test came back and I was younger than my chronological age and that felt amazing. I love blood tests like the one you offer because it shows you exactly where you are on your health journey. 

Do you have any self-care tips that you would like to share with our readers?

Yeah, I believe some of the main things are - finding good quality salt to put in your water and investing in good water that’s rich with minerals and such. 

If you don’t get enough sun, invest in red light therapy and expose yourself to 15 minutes a day. That's enough to sort of heal you on a cellular level. I also do saunas almost every day. 

It's important to do 30 minutes minimum. If you can't go in 30 minutes, come out at the halfway point and go back in for another 15 minutes. There is just so much benefit in terms of growth hormones and healing and recovery, all kinds of stuff. 

Lastly, spend less time on your phone, especially on Instagram because that type of thing can be really distracting and it’s far better to spend your day reading a book, meditating, going outside and such. 

Vanja Maganjić

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