Test Metabolic Health, Vitamins & Minerals Without A Doctor

Many years ago, I relied on my conventional doctor to help me with my health. There was a multi-month period where I saw multiple doctors and made back-to-back urgent care visits swearing something was wrong with me. All they could say was “your test results are normal” and “here’s some anti-anxiety medication.”

After hitting this wall over and over, I surrendered the pursuit altogether in 2016. I’ve been doing everything myself ever since, using diet, lifestyle, and other natural healing methods.

In hindsight, I’m glad it happened this way. I’ve learned how to rely more on my intuition/own body and less on external validation. This has been a useful life skill.

But I still had questions…

  • Is my current diet and lifestyle a sufficient source of vitamins and minerals? (Especially since I don’t supplement with synthetics)
  • Are my organs functioning optimally?
  • How is my metabolic health considering the fruit and raw dairy I eat?
  • Are there any early signs of imbalance in my body that I may not be able to feel yet?
  • Is there a way to test my “hunches”? (example: that I have histamine sensitivity)
  • I am 10 months postpartum – are my vitamins/minerals restored and is my body chemically optimal to conceive again?
  • Do I have an unhealthy amount of heavy metals stored in my body?
  • Can I optimize myself even further?

I used to think I needed a doctor to help me answer these questions, order labs for me to test the “deeper” markers, and do the interpretation. And due to my lack of trust in providers, this always felt like a steep feat. So I just said “maybe later” and left the idea on the table.

Recently, I learned there is another way!

Enter: Marek Diagnostics and Upgraded Formulas.

With Marek, they have lab markers (galore) available for blood work, urine, and genetic testing. You literally add a package (or build your own) to your cart and checkout. Marek sends you a requisition form, you go down to a local LabCorp for the blood draw (and/or urine sample), and they send you your results via email.

You also have the option to see a health coach or a provider through Marek if you want to receive treatment or need help with results interpretation.

Please note that the Marek process still involves a doctor, but not in the way you may be used to if coming from the conventional model.

It’s the same sort of process with Upgraded Formulas for mineral & heavy metals testing. You purchase a testing kit, send in a sample of your hair, and Upgraded Formulas sends your results to you. No doctor or provider of any kind is required, but you can choose to have a consultation to help with interpreting your results.

In this post, I go over:

  • the different ways to test your metabolic health, vitamins, minerals, and heavy metals
  • blood testing with Marek and how to do it
  • the blood panel packages I created + other packages offered through Marek
  • how I selected the markers for each package
  • additional lab markers to consider based on your unique situation
  • hair mineral & heavy metal analysis with Upgraded Formulas and how to do it
  • guided and self-led options to test your metabolic health with a CGM

ASHLEYR will get you 10% off with both Marek Diagnostics and Upgraded Formulas.

Note: if you have a wonderful relationship with your doctor, my mentioning of these services is not intended to deter you away from that. This is geared toward the folks like me who are DIYers and have not had great experiences with providers. The more I can do myself and for my family without the influence of a provider, the more empowered and equipped I personally feel (and the more I learn!).

animal-based plantain flour pancakes

Ways to test your health

With the advancements in modern medicine, there are currently many ways to test your health.

You can now get a comprehensive gut microbiome profile done with a stool sample, determine if you have heavy metals in your body using your hair, and even catch early-stage cancer with blood antigen testing. Wearing a CGM will give you a deep dive into your blood sugar levels, your thyroid/reproductive health can be gauged using your body temperature, and doing saliva testing can give you insight into how your body handles stress.

We’ve certainly come a long way when it comes to peeking into the physiology of our bodies.

In this post, I’m going to be focusing on how to test…

  • metabolic health
  • hormone health
  • core organ function
  • vitamin levels
  • mineral levels
  • heavy metals

Using the following types of tests/tools:

  • blood
  • hair
  • urine
  • CGM

And how you can do all of this yourself without a doctor or provider.

Blood testing

As I mentioned in the introduction of this post, blood testing is available through Marek Diagnostics.

If this interests you, here are the options:

You can also choose to:

  • get the results only
  • have a health coach help you interpret results (and offer lifestyle recommendations + suggest supplements)
  • see a provider for results interpretation + treatment

The packages

I created two panels that I thought would be useful to most people.

To view my packages, check out my landing page.

Here is a spreadsheet that shows what markers are tested in each package.

If a marker is highlighted in red, that means it’s found in the comprehensive panel but not in the basic panel. I did this so you can quickly see the difference between those two panels.

If you choose the Comprehensive Panel, you have the option to:

  • receive the results only
  • have a health coach help you interpret results + offer recommendations

For the Basic Panel, the only option is to receive the results only.

You can also choose to see a provider for treatment through Marek (with any panel) if you decide to go that route.

Here are two other panels that may be of interest to you:

With Marek’s Comprehensive Vitamin & Mineral Panel, you can test core vitamins & minerals. The panel includes:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin A (Retinol)
  • Vitamin A (Beta Carotene)
  • Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)
  • Vitamin E (Gamma Tocopherol)
  • Vitamin D (25-OHD)
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium, RBC
  • Copper
  • Ceruloplasmin
  • Selenium

I’d suggest also adding an iron panel and any other vitamins & minerals that you want to get checked. Use the sorting tool on the Lab Builder page and select “Vitamins & Minerals” to see what markers are available.

With the BYO Fertility/Postpartum panel, use Marek’s Lab Builder to build your own panel of essential fertility/pregnancy/nursing vitamins and minerals. This is geared toward women who are:

  • postpartum and wondering if their diet/supplementation is holding up
  • pre-conception and wondering if their body is optimal/ready for pregnancy
  • having fertility issues and wondering if they have a deficiency somewhere

These are the markers I recommend:

  • Iron panel + B12 + folate (or full Anemia Profile)
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • OmegaCheck (EPA + DPA +DHA)
  • Vitamin A & Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol & Gamma-Tocopherol) & Beta Carotene
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D

And of course, any others that resonate with you based on your own unique situation.

detoxify your home

How I selected the markers for my packages

When creating my packages, I leaned heavily on Paul’s and Marek’s for templates. Their panels are very similar to one another, with just a few differentiating markers.

One of the owners of Marek is Derek from More Plates More Dates. During my discussions with the marketing team, I was told that Marek spent a lot of time crafting their panels. To do so, they use the latest research from Huberman and other experts in the health and biohacking fields.

And as for Paul’s panels, my thinking around health – for the most part – is aligned with his. And his research makes sense to me.

So I studied their panels while creating my own, and made just a few minor changes.

My basic panel is identical to Paul’s, except:

  • NO Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) under “Inflammatory Markers”
  • ADD “Magnesium” for males
  • ADD “Blood glucose” + “HbA1c”

My comprehensive panel is identical to Paul’s, except:

  • ADD Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) under “Inflammatory Markers”
  • ADD “Magnesium” for males
  • ADD “Uric Acid” under “Insulin Sensitivity”


  • It didn’t make sense that ESR was on Paul’s basic panel and not on his comprehensive, so I switched that around.
  • I added magnesium for males too. I’m sure why it was only included on his female panels.
  • I wanted a few insulin sensitivity markers on the basic panel so those who choose the basic panel can get some insight into that department.
  • I wanted to provide as thorough of a panel as possible (without skyrocketing the cost), and uric acid was an easy marker to add to the insulin sensitivity section. (See Marek’s Complete Panel Package for the most thorough panel available.)

Note: if you see a package that is not mine (for example, one of Paul’s or Marek’s) that you resonate with more, you can still use my code (ASHLEYR) for a discount on that package.

Additional markers to consider

When I was building my panel for my first blood test through Marek, I felt like a kid in a candy store. There are nearly 300 markers to choose from!

I moved forward with:

  • my Comprehensive Panel (to get a good baseline for my organ systems, metabolic health, and hormone health)

I also added a few markers (using the Lab Builder) that resonated with me:

  • Histamine (testing a hunch that I am sensitive to histamines)
  • Copper (curious about my iron/copper relationship)
  • Ceruloplasmin (curious about my iron/copper relationship)
  • Folate (curious about my postpartum levels)
  • OmegaCheck (testing the efficacy of my fish eggs supplement)

Below are a few snapshots of my results.

The OmegaCheck panel was a cool panel. I barely eat fish (maybe a few times per year) and I take a fish egg supplement in place. I was curious to test the efficacy of the supplement as it relates to my omega-3 levels, especially since I’m nursing. I was also curious about linoleic acid and my omega-6 levels too.

Lipid panel + inflammatory markers + metabolic health:

I have been loosely following The Root Cause Protocol and was curious about my iron/copper relationship (iron panel + folate + ferritin + ceruloplasmin + copper):

According to my results, my histamine was in the normal range. I’m not entirely convinced that I don’t have a problem with histamine as I have heard that even if your blood levels are normal, you could have a problem at the cellular level. But a blood test is a good gauge to determine if you have any obvious problems with it (I know someone who knows someone that had 180+ histamine on a blood test).

I was pleased with my vitamin D levels as I stopped synthetic supplementation at the beginning of this year (a few months ago) and have been using only Cod Liver Oil and sunning. Those two things seem to be holding up, even during winter. Looking forward to getting it even higher in the spring/summer.

Before my husband and I try to conceive next, I also plan to test the rest of the fertility markers I suggested in a few sections prior.

Below are some additional markers that Marek offers that you may want to consider adding if they’re applicable to you.


  • Toxoplasma gondii Ab, IgG
  • Candida Antibodies IgG, IgA, IgM
  • Helicobacter pylori, IgM Ab
  • EBV (Can be associated with POTS/MCAS/dysautonomia)


  • Aldosterone
  • Renin
  • Aldosterone/renin ratio


Aside from the markers I suggested for Fertility/Postpartum in the section above…

  • MTHFR genetic testing (Having MTHFR mutations can be associated with miscarriages. You can also test through 23 and Me and search the raw data. That’s what we did to determine our family’s MTHFR status.)
  • Homocyst(e)ine (High homocysteine is usually indicative of MTHFR gene mutations. It could be a good starting point since this test is cheaper than the genetic test.)
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) (a marker that corresponds with your egg count)


  • Cancer Antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) (tests the amount of a protein in the blood that responds to cancer in the body)
  • Cancer Antigen 125 (CA 125) (can serve as a marker for ovarian cancer as well as tumors of the uterus, breast, pancreas, colon, or lung)
  • Cancer Antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) (can be associated with breast cancer)
  • AFP (α-Fetoprotein), Tumor Marker (can be associated with liver disease or of a tumor in the liver, ovaries, or testicles)
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) (can be associated with prostate cancer)


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-α) (can be associated with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases)

MTHFR mutation:

  • MTHFR genetic testing (You can also test through 23 and Me and search the raw data. That’s what we did to determine our family’s MTHFR status.)
  • Homocyst(e)ine (High homocysteine is usually indicative of MTHFR gene mutations. It could be a good starting point since this test is cheaper than the genetic test.)
  • B6, Folate, B12 (Having MTHFR mutations can be associated with a deficiency in these vitamins.)


  • Histamine (if you suspect you have histamine intolerance)
  • Allergen Profile, Dairy (IgE)
  • Allergen Profile, Meat (IgE)
  • Allergen Profile, Vegetable I (IgE)
  • Allergen Profile, Grains (IgE)
  • Allergen Profile, Egg (Ovalbumin) (IgE)

Additional vitamins/cellular health markers:

  • K1
  • COQ10 (can be associated with mitochondrial health disorders)

Additional hormone markers:

  • Pregnenolone
  • Parathyroid hormone

Heavy metal testing:

  • Heavy metals panel: lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium (I hear that hair testing is ideal if you want to see mineral stores, and blood testing is ideal if you want to see your body’s current mineral state. I chose to do hair mineral testing for heavy metals/minerals, but there is a blood test available with Marek for heavy metals if that resonates with you instead.)
  • Fluoride
  • Aluminum

If any of your baseline markers are off:

  • Consider a deeper dive into the organ system. For example, if your thyroid markers (TSH, Free T3, Free T4) are off, you could test thyroid antibodies (Thyroglobulin Antibody (tgAb) + Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPOab)) and Reverse T3 to see if something deeper is going on.

Note: Marek also has a handy sorting tool on the lefthand side of the Lab Builder page that can help you narrow down lab tests based on what you’re looking for.

animal-based plantain flour pancakes

How to get your blood tested

If you’d like to move forward with testing with Marek:

  1. Decide if you’d like to see a health coach/provider or if you’d like to interpret your own results.
  2. Decide what package you want or if you’d like to build your own panel.
  3. If going with a package, decide if you want to add any additional lab markers.
  4. Add all packages and markers to your cart and checkout. Use ASHLEYR at checkout for a 10% discount.
  5. Follow the directions from Marek. They’ll send you a requisition form via email 1-2 days after your purchase with a full set of instructions.

Note: Marek also offers urine tests. A full urinalysis is included with my Comprehensive Panel.

Note: there are some markers that are dependent on acute stress levels (cortisol, for example). When I got my lab panel with Marek, I was highly stressed. My cortisol was high and my TSH was a little low. To retest to make sure everything was okay, I purchased an at-home cortisol test and at-home thyroid panel (including antibody markers) from LetsGetChecked so I could retest at home in a lower-stress environment. Upon rechecking, my values improved. I’m not sure if I would have been able to get “normal” values for these markers if I didn’t test at home. If you’re someone who is sensitive to stress, consider at-home testing for certain markers. ASHLEYR will get you 30% off of any test with LetsGetChecked.

Mineral & heavy metal testing

Getting mineral testing done (via fur) for my dog Bear was eye-opening and sparked a fire under my butt to learn more about minerals and health on a cellular level.

To read more about Bear’s journey back to health from autoimmune disease (including mineral testing), read the full post here.

First, I will talk a bit about Bear’s process, then about how you can get this done for yourself.

To begin, I sent Bear’s fur into the lab and received his results a few weeks later.

His sodium was high, phosphorus was optimal, and all other minerals were low. Zinc and chromium were close to optimal, but still a bit low. His vet mentioned that chromium is associated with carbohydrate consumption, so me feeding him little to no carbs was likely helping him retain chromium.

The optimal levels of phosphorus indicated that he was digesting his meat well, getting everything he needed from it, and that he had an adequate amino acid profile. This was great to hear.

The vet mentioned that sodium and manganese worked together, so because manganese was low, she could tell that sodium was on its way down. Low manganese is also common in dogs.

She sent me a thorough write-up that explained what the high or low levels of each mineral could indicate. When I reviewed it alongside Bear’s results, many of his symptoms began to make sense. It listed out the mineral’s role in the body and the symptoms a dog may be experiencing if they have a high level or low level of that mineral.

Bear’s heavy metals were low, which was great. The vet mentioned that once the body begins to heal and restore mineral levels, heavy metals are sometimes released from the tissues. This is a good thing, but sometimes the markers will rise on a subsequent test. It can appear like you’re getting worse, but you’re not. So I’m keeping that in mind for future tests.

I asked about his aluminum level and she mentioned that while it looks high on the graph, the number is not of concern.

We also talked about critical mineral ratios.

  • Carbohydrate indicator (Ca/Mg) – Bear’s was out of balance, meaning he doesn’t digest carbs well and should stay away from sugars.
  • Thyroid indicator (Ca/K) – Bear’s thyroid tested slow.
  • Adrenal indicator (Na/Mg) – Bear’s adrenals tested fast.
  • Energy indicator (Na/K) – Bear’s energy tested fast.
  • Autonomic state indicator (Ca/P). Bear’s ANS showed sympathetic nervous system dominance.

“Slow” should not be confused with “low,” or “fast” with “high,” as you may see on a blood test.

For example, Bear’s thyroid tested normal on his blood work, but his mineral test results show a slow thyroid.

Many signs point to Bear’s sympathetic nervous system being chronically activated which is why his thyroid is slowing down to compensate.

The vet explained that if Bear continued on this path, his thyroid could possibly test low on a blood test in the future. At this point, conventional medicine would recommend medication to speed up his thyroid. This is the absolute worst thing you could do for a dog whose body is intentionally slowing down the thyroid to compensate for deficiencies elsewhere.

She recommended tailored supplementation for Bear and suggested retesting his minerals in 4-6 months.

The coolest part? She said all of this applies to humans.

The ratios, the symptoms, everything.

I wanted to learn more, so I looked for books on minerals. There’s not much out there, but I did find this one (Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis) that looked good. However, it is $199!

So I did a Google search for the author (Dr. Lawrence Wilson) and came across his website. There is loads of free information there that I am still sifting through, and he has many free books on his site. If you’re also interested in minerals, his website could be a good starting place for learning. The Root Cause Protocol has some great information too.

If you’d like to get mineral testing done yourself, Upgraded Formulas offers a similar setup to the one I described with Bear.

The kit gets sent to you in the mail, you send in 2 tbsp of hair, then the results are sent to you via email.

The results will show your levels of the following…


  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Magnesium (Mg)
  • Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Sodium (Na)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Zinc (Zn)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Chromium (Cr)
  • Selenium (Se)
  • Sulfur (S)

Heavy Metals:

  • Mercury (Hg)
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Arsenic (As)
  • Aluminum (Al)
  • Beryllium (Be)
  • Antimony (Sb)
  • Uranium (U)

According to Upgraded Formulas, other important elements such as Vanadium can also be found.

As I mentioned before, I hear that hair testing is ideal if you want to see mineral stores and blood testing is ideal if you want to see your body’s current mineral state. Minerals and heavy metals are also found in much higher levels in hair.

This is why I chose a hair test (instead of a blood test) for my mineral/heavy metal levels, but if a blood test resonates with you more, you can have one done with Marek for many of the above-listed heavy metals and minerals.

As for the hair you give for your sample, it needs to be as close to the skin as possible. Even though Upgraded Formulas says pubic hair is okay, I have read in multiple places (including Dr. Wilson’s website) that it is not as accurate as head/underarm hair (levels can be higher because pubic hair takes longer to grow so higher mineral levels accumulate).

Since I was not willing to shave a part of my head hair, I waited weeks for my underarm hair to grow out only to realize that it was not enough (a full tbsp is required). So I was left with my pubic hair, which I guess may not be as accurate, but I figured having some data was better than none, and even if my individual minerals are all a bit higher compared to where they would be if I gave my head hair, the ratios should still be the same.

As you can do with Marek Diagnostics, with Upgraded Formulas, you can also choose to:

  • get the results only
  • add a consultation to help with results interpretation

If you choose results only and decide you need help with interpretation after the fact, you can purchase a consultation separately too.

You can find all information about hair mineral testing with Upgraded Formulas on this page here. Use ASHLEYR at checkout for a 10% discount.

As for my results, this is how they were presented.

Here is a snapshot of my individual mineral levels:

The first thing that jumped out at me was my sky-high magnesium level.

From what I understand, having a high level like this on a hair test doesn’t automatically mean sufficient cellular levels. It means the body is dumping high amounts into the hair, sufficient levels or not.

What a high level like this does mean is that I probably don’t have an “absolute” magnesium deficiency. Low test magnesium levels + a fast metabolic rate (derived from the CA/P ratio – mine points to a slow metabolic rate) can indicate an absolute deficiency on a cellular level.

There is still a possibility for a “relative” magnesium deficiency, but since my Ca/Mg ratio was fine, it is not likely. The higher the Ca/Mg ratio, the more likely a deficiency is present.

Here are my ratios:

Ca/P: metabolism indicator (can be slow, normal, or fast…mine (high ratio) reflects a slow metabolism)

Na/K: energy indicator (reflects how your cells balance sodium/potassium…the more taxed your adrenals are, the harder it is to maintain this balance)

Ca/K: thyroid indicator (how efficiently T3 can access each cell…when this process is inhibited (high ratio), it can lead to fatigue)

Zn/Cu: inflammatory stress marker (relates to emotional stability)

Na/Mg: adrenal indicator (the lower the ratio, the longer it takes for your body to recover from stress)

Ca/Mg: blood sugar ratio (how sensitive you are to sugars)

Fe/Cu: another inflammatory stress marker (iron/copper relationship…high ratio = possible iron toxicity, low ratio = possible copper toxicity)

Here are my toxic metals results:

Nothing too concerning.

These are the other elements that were found in my hair:

High barium can be related to bath water. This intrigues me since I take a lot of baths (as does Farrah), so I will be looking into that. My levels aren’t overwhelmingly high, but high enough to raise a brow. While my bismuth and nickel levels appear to be fine, I learned that high levels of these elements can be related to toxic cosmetics (hair dyes, shampoos, etc.). If you use such products regularly, you may be interested in getting your levels checked.

I am still learning about the other elements. There’s a lot to learn here (and with hair mineral analysis in general). It’s a disconcerting thought to think I have things like tin, titanium, and zirconium circulating inside of me, but I’m no chemist, so that could be common/normal for all I know.

This is my husband’s graph and my graph (of our individual minerals) side by side (mine’s on top):

They have almost the same shape, which I thought was cool. And if you take into account that my levels may be falsely elevated due to giving public hair, we probably have very similar levels (Aside from him having almost no cobalt, me having sky high mag, and our Mo/S levels being inverted).

Not sure if this “shape” os common or if it is unique to us and happened because we eat/live similarly. Cool to think about.

Our individual mineral graphs may follow the same shape, but look at how different our ratios are (mine’s on top).


Wearing a Constant Glucose Monitor (CGM) for two weeks deepened my understanding of health and food.

If you don’t know what a CGM is, it’s a device that you place on your arm. It is constantly tracking your blood sugar. Wearing one can help determine how your blood sugar responds to different foods, stressors, and other lifestyle factors.

Blood sugar regulation is a large window into metabolic health, and wearing a CGM is an experience I think every person should go through at least once.

Here is a bit about my journey with it…

I followed a keto diet (with periods of carnivore) for a couple of years. I usually felt like a rockstar first thing in the morning, and then as the day went on, I got foggier and foggier in the head, more and more sluggish, and nauseous. I also got palpitations. I wondered if I had an electrolyte problem, so I would salt my water 100% of the time, use electrolyte powders, take licks of salt throughout the day, and use transdermal and oral magnesium. I liberally salted my food too. The electrolytes definitely helped but never fully resolved my issues. Sometimes I’d be so nauseous at night that I’d dry heave. Then I’d go to sleep, wake up, and feel great again. It was confusing.

I thought it was food sensitivities or maybe stress, but the days I’d do more fruit than average or go eat a carby meal out, I’d feel a million times better. I literally felt like life got injected into me.

It was in those moments that I realized how depleted I actually felt before. This was tricky because I never saw it/felt it until I added in more carbs/sugars and compared how I felt then to how I felt after the carbs.

I thought it was the “pleasure” aspect of the food at the time, but in hindsight, I think I was just super carb-deprived.

When I wore I wore a CGM for two weeks, I learned that I sat at the very low end of the blood sugar spectrum. This was contradictory to the narrative I held about myself for years. I always assumed I had problems with high blood sugar since diabetes is in my family. Plus, I was coming off 25+ years of a horrible diet and lifestyle, hence the consistent carb restriction to “correct” my self-perceived metabolic dysfunction.

I sat in the high 60’s and low 70’s while eating low-carb. I did not feel good when my blood sugar was in this range. I even dropped into the 50’s during sleep at the beginning of the two weeks, which correlated with the nightmares I was having!

April 3rd – the first day of the experiment:

April 5th:

April 6th:

To correct the low blood sugar and get my carb stores up, I began to eat way more carbs and fruit. After a few days, I began to sit in the high 70’s and low 80’s. I also started feeling way better.

April 7th:

April 8th:

And what’s even more interesting is this…the foods that I thought gave me problems when I was low carb don’t bother me nearly as much now, as long as I keep my blood sugar up. If my blood sugar drops too low and I get too far behind, the familiar yucky feelings (that I lived with for years) creep back in, and my body has a harder time processing food overall.

The CGM also helped me learn what my body/mind feels like when my blood sugar begins to drop. Now I can intervene early if I ever feel those feelings.

I’m naturally on the smaller side and have a lot of stress, so I think I just burn through what I eat at an incredible rate. The keto/carnivore period was a great reset for me, but to feel optimal/well, I need a decent amount of carbs/fruit sugar in my diet these days.

I would likely not have learned this without wearing a CGM, and in fact, I may have still been holding onto my “I need to restrict carbs to reverse my metabolic dysfunction” narrative contributing to further undernourishment and feelings of lousiness.

Check out my “CGM” highlight on my Instagram page if you’d like to see more of blood sugar graphs and real-time thoughts during the two-week experiment.

If you’d like to wear a CGM, you can either do a self-led journey (what I did) or a guided journey.

For the self-led journey:

  1. Purchase a sensor (Freestyle Libre) here.
  2. Download the free app (LibreLink).
  3. When you receive the sensor, place it on your arm* (this is an easy and painless process) and link it to the app.
  4. 60 minutes after you link the sensor to the app, you’ll be able to start tracking. Note: there is zero help with results interpretation if you use this method.

*Note: if you exercise intensely, do saunas, or partake in an activity that makes you sweat a lot, you may want to consider getting an adhesive patch.

For the guided journey:

Nutrisense offers a CGM experience that is guided by a dietician. The dietician will help you understand the CGM data and provide suggestions on how best to optimize your diet in relation to your blood sugar data. They offer monthly memberships, and to get started, you select what program you want, complete a health questionnaire, receive your sensor in the mail, put it on, and begin tracking. They have their own app.

If you’d like to check out this method, you can do so here. If you choose to go this route, use ASHLEYR at checkout for a $25 discount.

Discount codes/links

Below is a list of the discount codes/links for all of the services mentioned in this post.

Marek Diagnostics: Shop using this link and use ASHLEYR for 10% off.

Upgraded Formulas: Shop using this link and use ASHLEYR for 10% off.

Nutrisense: Shop using this link and use ASHLEYR for $25 off.

animal-based plantain flour pancakes

Final Thoughts

When it comes to health, if you’re a DIYer and prefer to take charge, I hope you found this post useful (and are as excited about all of these testing options as I am!).

Best of luck in learning about your unique physiology.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at asheatsgood@gmail.com.

Ashley Rothstein
Ashley Rothstein

Ashley Rothstein develops tasty, whole food, animal-based recipes that include a moderate amount of “minimally toxic” plant foods. To fix her own health issues, she bounced around between the carnivore, keto, and paleo diets for a few years. After experiencing and studying each diet philosophy, she learned she feels her best by merging the three and following an animal-based diet. As a glut at heart, she likes to channel her creativity and create meals that are healthy but also satisfy her inner gluttonous spirits.



  1. Marissa
    October 3, 2023 / 1:58 pm

    How did you feel about your cholesterol levels being high? Are fruit and dairy your only added carbs to raise blood sugar levels?

    • Ashley Rothstein
      October 5, 2023 / 5:53 pm

      Fruit and raw dairy are the main carbs I eat. I also sometimes have maple syrup or honey. As for my cholesterol, I’ve never been concerned about it.

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