#184 – Member Story: How recovering from a car accident helped her find health | Elena Schuber & Ben Grynol

Episode introduction

Show Notes

While recovering from a tragic car accident that caused Elena Schuber to go into a coma, Elena started to learn how to improve her physical health through dietary, lifestyle, and habit changes because she became well-attuned to her body’s responses to certain foods. Now a health and wellness practitioner, Elena advises her clients to monitor their blood glucose levels and be present with their own bodies. Listen as Elena shares her experience with Levels with Ben Grynol as she discovers how stress, food sequencing, and behavior changes affect her blood glucose levels. Look for multiple new shows per week on A Whole New Level, where we have in-depth conversations about metabolic health and how the Levels startup team builds a wellness movement from the ground up in the health and wellness tech industry.

Episode Transcript

Elena Schuber (00:06):

Stress for me is really important to learn how to curb that. Take a breathing break before you consume food. Take a breathing break if you feel yourself getting a little too riled up or a little too tense. Just stand up. Go to the water cooler and get some water. Take a little walk around. Change your environment. Change your position. Go outside, take a couple of really big deep breaths there, and then reset. It’s just being conscious minded about where you can sneak in those respites of stress. For me and for a lot of my clients, that’s what they most need help with.

Ben Grynol (00:51):

I’m Ben Grynol, part of the early startup team here at Levels. We’re building tech that helps people to understand their metabolic health, and this is your front row seat to everything we do. This is A Whole New Level. Elena Schuber grew up on the West Coast, specifically in Long Beach. She spent her early childhood out there and into her teenage years. And after high school when she went to college, well, she decided to head to Texas, specifically to Dallas. When she did, the food that she was used to on the West Coast was much different than what she was experiencing in the South. Some of her thoughts, the outlook, the food philosophy that she had evolved.


Well, after college, she made her way back out west. She ended up in LA where she’s currently a nutrition coach. Elena works with a lot of different clients in different ways. She understands that there’s so many different inputs to her health, that being things like mindfulness, that being things like diet, sleep, exercise, the list goes on. They all compound. Well, Elena started to find the unlock with Levels when she saw this data feedback loop of what was happening in her body in real time. She found little hacks, things like taking a walk after lunch, things like food sequencing. All of these things made a big difference in the way that she thought about food and the way that she communicated things to her clients.


She understands that everyone’s so different in the approach to take, because we are all different. We all have different tendencies, different things affect our health in different ways. But having the lens through Levels, having the lens about glucose monitoring in real time, that data feedback loop, well, it gave Elena insight that she could pass along to others. Now, she spreads things like education to all of her clients. She lets them know about things like blog posts, recipes, all these different things that they can check out to get a foundation of knowledge for themselves. It was a great conversation with Elena.


Here’s where we kicked things off. Now you’re a health and wellness practitioner. I mean, that’s what you’re doing. But what was it like as far as going from the West Coast, going to the South, going back to the West Coast? I’m assuming that you’ve seen very different outlooks on health and wellness given that they’re very different regions as far as the outlook on health, wellness, food. It’s not to generalize and say everyone, but you tend to get in certain pockets. Especially out in Los Angeles, you’ll have maybe a different lens than you would on the East Coast. What’s that look like?


I know that was many years ago as far as when this would’ve taken place, but what were some of the things that went through your mind when you were experiencing all these things?

Elena Schuber (03:45):

Oh my gosh, it was so great. I lucked out with my college roommate. She was from Brentwood, California, just literally walking distance from where I lived now. She and I both went out there. We look at each other and we’re like, “What? What is this?” Everything’s fried. What is queso? We had never had queso before. People thought we were these crazy Californians and these health nuts, but they hadn’t even had sushi. It was like sushi finally got there when we were seniors in college. It was fun. It was great. It was different. I mean, I went for to experience something different. I love the South. They were so welcoming, so kind. It was just a little different way of eating sometimes.

Ben Grynol (04:35):

What was it that ended up getting you into what you’re doing now with health and wellness?

Elena Schuber (04:40):

I’ve always been in health and wellness. When I was 16, I was in a horrible car accident and my head smashed through a windshield and I was in a coma. That really informed me. It was a really long, arduous recovery. I’m very grateful I hit my head where I did, because if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be here or wouldn’t able to speak. From there, I just remember when I was in the hospital, I don’t remember much from that time in my life, but I do remember when I was in the hospital, I was given these shakes called Traumacal. At the time, I was a totally strict vegetarian and I wouldn’t eat any meat, I would be fat-free everything, but these Traumacal shakes were full of fat.


That was crazy to me, but that’s it. It’s like your brain needs fats to recover and your brain needs to be sated. From there, that was when I was 16, I just developed this whole… At the time before that, I was drinking Diet Cokes and I was living the fat-free life and total vegetarian. From that experience, the neurologist told me the worst thing you could possibly have is aspartame. That’s the number one thing you have to start to give up right now. And then it was just introducing good quality fats and just reintroducing how a body needs to eat to really protect itself. Really I was recovering from my accident.


To be back to where I wanted to be and really thrive, I needed to start to embrace some change in my diet and in my rituals. And I did. It was really enlightening, and I’m lucky that I got this information early on. I mean, this was a long time ago. That set me out from this health journey. That’s how I began. And then from there, I’ve always just been investing in it and learning about it even more. I had the greatest folks, the best parents ever, but taking care of themselves was not their strength. Unfortunately, I wish they would’ve made a couple of different choices in their lives, like lifestyle choices, but they didn’t. They also really informed me. It’s like they both departed earlier than I wish they would’ve.


It was really sad. They could have modified some things in their lifestyle to keep them still here. I started that. That informed my journey as well and really it informs how I work with my clients right now and how I live my life also.

Ben Grynol (07:42):

Thanks for sharing that. It’s really interesting because have you thought about any feeling that you might have had as far as visceral feelings when you… That’s pretty young, right? 16 years old and you’re going through recovery, but making these changes, having that introspection to make these changes where you recognize that you have to do things. Do you remember back where you have these thoughts of visceral feelings? Without seeing data, without wearing a CGM, when you start to make changes, whether they’re lifestyle changes, whether it’s sleep related, exercise related, food related, often you hear that people have these visceral feelings of, “Oh my gosh, I feel so different.”


Do you ever remember thinking that when you were going through a recovery that, “My body feels different. I’m not drinking Diet Coke anymore?” You just sort of feel different, but you’re not always sure why. Have you ever thought about that?

Elena Schuber (08:43):

Oh yeah, completely, even to this day. Every time I eat a can of sardines I’ll be like, “Oh my gosh,” my brain feels so sated. It needed that. It desperately needed that. But I remember the first thing when I was going through my brain trauma recovery, the weirdest thing to me was if I were to slip up and have a Diet Coke, I could actually feel my brain hurt. It wouldn’t feel good. I could totally feel it in my brain, and it would give me brain fog. This is before brain fog was even a term.


I could completely feel it. I could feel the effects of that in my body. I wouldn’t want it. It was nothing that I would want to have in my life. I cut it out. It was really easy for me to cut that out. Conversely, it’s like when you choose really healthy, good quality foods, you feel better. Food information. It’s just what kind of information do you want to feed it and fuel it.

Ben Grynol (09:45):

I mean, it’s like a qualitative feedback loop to yourself. Did you realize when you would drink that Coke, did you have that connection where you’re like this equals that?

Elena Schuber (09:54):

After the neurologist told me that’s the most important thing to give up, I was like yeah. So I did. And then if I were to slip up and have a little, I could feel it. I could feel it in my body. It’s wild. Most people I find these days, most of my clients, what they struggle with is they don’t take the time to really slow down and tune in and to feel the effects. They just are in the car or at their desk or typing on their computer or watching TV and they just don’t take the time to slow down and really tune in and feel what they are putting in their body and how it affects them.

Ben Grynol (10:33):

Once you find a balance or get on a path of balance, it’s so much easier to start to connect these dots. You can take under insert thing here, like under exercise, under slept. As soon as you start to do the opposite, which is fueling properly, exercising appropriately, sleeping appropriately, and you start to do all these things and you do it in isolation, you’re like, “Oh wait, that…” Takes sleep, for example. It’s like, “Oh, that actually feel pretty good.” You hear all the time where people will sleep five hours a night and they say, “Oh, I don’t really need more sleep. I function quite well.”


But they start sleeping seven or eight hours a night and they’re like, “Wait, I actually don’t feel as stressed.” They’re not sure why. You’re like, “Well, your cortisol is probably a lot lower and your glucose is a lot more stable.” They’re all of these puzzle pieces that are hard to connect back. But when you start to see the data, you’re like, “Oh, that’s happening.” It is interesting that that does happen pretty frequently.

Elena Schuber (11:33):

It does. Sleep is the best medicine for a reason. They say that for a reason. All these cliches are cliches for a reason. They’re mostly true.

Ben Grynol (11:42):

Exactly. Why don’t we get into the idea of Levels? Where exactly did that come in your journey?

Elena Schuber (11:52):

I’ve heard about it for a while. It’s so funny, even before I learned about Levels, before you guys were around, really it was important for me to have my clients have their glucose level tested for me to know their resting glucose level and all of that information. It’s so valuable. I mean, it just is so informative, and you’re fasting glucose level and all that. So then this popped up. I was hearing about it through different podcasts. This popped up. And then one of my good friend’s husband, he was one of the first people I knew to actually get it. and then one of my best friend, she got it too. And then I was like, okay, I’ve got to just get it. Because I’m like, if she’s doing it, I can totally do it.


I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to figure out how to set it up and all that stuff. We both started doing it together and it was really fun. It was like we wore Levels patches. It’s like a badge of honor. It was really fun. I remember this one time, it was so funny, she was having an argument with her husband, and then she calls me and she tells me. She’s like, “Oh my gosh, I am looking at the spikes on the Levels app. It’s like just from this place of being stressed, it’s spiking my blood sugar.” Who knew that stress would have that much of a massive effect on blood sugar levels? People just think or I used to think it was just food. It was fun, and it’s such good information.


It’s so valuable just to have this information. It’s liberating how much agency you have. I remember one time I was going to this new restaurant just opened down the street. It was a decadent meal. But we walked there and I was just so surprised. I was like, I did have the piece of bread and I did have the bite of desserts. But because we walked there and because we sequenced it with lots of vegetables in our order, it was just like my blood sugar on the app, it was one of the best days blood sugar wise I had. I was like, “This is exciting. Are you kidding? I could still have that little…” It was just like the bread that you’d want to have at the restaurant.


I only had one piece, and I did have the dessert I want to have, but I didn’t have the whole thing. I had half. But I was like, this is excellent. My blood sugar was low and flat. I got a great day on my Levels app. I was like, this is great. I think that the key was walking there to the restaurant, enjoying it, taking our time, really getting nourished by the food and having a really great time, and then sequencing the food the way we did with the vegetables first, and then walking back. I mean, I’m like, heck! If you want to have a good treat yourself, this is the solution. This is the formula. It was the proofs in the pudding.


It’s right there. I know everybody is different, but for me, I was so excited. I was like, this is great. I didn’t even have to deprive myself of the bread or the dessert.

Ben Grynol (15:09):

When you’re getting these insights, have you taken these learnings and shared them with clients so that you say, “Hey, this is what I’ve learned,” because there are certain principles that objectively taking a walk after a meal makes a big difference, when you have certain food, and it is generally a good principle to have light exercise like that anyway. But I’m making the assumption that some of this information might be new to some people and maybe other people will have a different foundation for their health and wellness journey as far as how far along they are in understanding some of these principles. What’s the general reception when you share this?

Elena Schuber (15:47):

I mean, it’s exciting. It’s really good. I mean, people, they’re really open to it and it’s different information than they’re getting from some other doctors. It’s just interesting. Not to throw anyone under the bus, but it’s just like there’s so much agency we have. There’s so many lifestyle choices that we can make to help improve our conditions, and it’s not what we’re hearing from the doctors. It’s interesting. The proof is in the pudding. It’s on the app. It’s smack in front of you. The data is there. It’s like you can’t really argue with that. It’s just interesting some things that my clients are getting from their doctors of things that’s okay to eat when you have certain conditions like diabetic.


It’s just like really? That’s not what has worked for me and for some of my other clients. People are really open-minded too. It just makes sense. The food sequencing is exciting and people don’t know about it. People that I have spoken with and my clients, that’s pretty much a new thing for them. Even the walking, one of my clients was like, “Oh really? Walking after dinner?” I’m like, “Yeah, it does. Go for it. Just let me know how you feel after you try it out with your family, after dinner and walk with your family. Let me know how it goes and let me know how you feel. Let me know how you sleep afterwards.”

Ben Grynol (17:19):

When seeing data, when people have that information about the way certain foods affect them, I think it’s a lot easier to see where you can say, “Oh my gosh, I’ve had that thing my whole life and I never realized that was the outcome.” You start to connect all these dots. Because we’re all going to metabolize things differently, it is a nice feedback system to say, hey, now I can actually make decisions and make choices based on what makes me feel good. It’s almost back to the stories that you were sharing around the way that you would feel when you consume certain food and you have these feelings where you go, it’s kind of colloquial, but to say, “This makes me feel good. This makes me not feel so good.”


You can almost bucket these things out into two separate categories and you say, “Yeah, I’m going to lean into the thing that makes me feel better because generally people want to feel better.” Nobody says, “I want to start my day and feel really bad today.” No one does that. The outcome is not having that foundation to understand what is making people feel a certain way. It gets a lot harder if you don’t have the data in front of you, but being able to understand the general principles makes a big difference.

Elena Schuber (18:29):

It’s like a big fun science experiment, the science experiment of life.

Ben Grynol (18:33):

N-of-1, that is what Dr. Sara Gottfried talks about frequently where she loves the N-of-1 trials. When the box showed up at the door, it seems like it was a new experience.

Elena Schuber (18:45):

Right. It was. I’m not the most tech savvy gal in town, so it was really helpful that I could call up my friend and be like, “Oh my gosh, it’s here.” But I found the Levels videos, especially the one of how to put it on and how it didn’t hurt, those were very helpful. It was exciting. I got the box and it was really easy. Even me, I had no problem hooking it up and downloading the app. It was very well laid out. I didn’t even need to call my friend for help.

Ben Grynol (19:22):

When you started using it, what was that experience like the first few days as far as seeing the actual data?

Elena Schuber (19:31):

It was just eye-opening. Some of the stuff I was just a little sad that it was kind of spiky, but there’s tweaks. You could put some chopped nuts on it and couple it with fiber and it will not be as spiky. Sweet potatoes. Yeah, of course, those are very starchy vegetables, but there’s a little couple things you can do to make them less spiky. Carrots, that was a little sad for me to see. I used to eat so many carrots in college. My palms were bright orange and the soles of my feet were bright orange. I had an orange tint about me because of all the carrots I consumed.


You couple it with nut butter. There’s tricks you can do, a little hacks you can do, or guacamole or what have you to make it less spiky. No, it was really interesting. I mean, that’s the best thing. It was liberating. It was interesting. It was just infrastructure. Information is power. It was good. I was really diligent about taking pictures and logging every single thing. I know that sometimes people can get in their head about that, but I found it to be very helpful. I like the whole you can just take a picture of it and it’s a piece of cake.

Ben Grynol (20:51):

Were there any big surprises as far as something that you didn’t realize that you were eating regularly? I mean, there are certain foods where you might know. Hypothetically, a piece of cake, it’s like, oh, of course, that’s going to spike. But other things where you would consume it more frequently and thought like, oh my goodness, I didn’t realize it was that big of an impact.

Elena Schuber (21:13):

I’m already a really diligent person, consumer, so there wasn’t anything shocking. But the best thing was, like I said, was the fact that if I wanted to have part of a dessert and that piece of bread, all I had to do was walk to dinner and then walk back and eat my vegetables first. It didn’t even spike me. That was just super liberating. That was exciting to find that out.

Ben Grynol (21:43):

Were there certain lifestyle changes that you started to make given that you’ve already got this foundation going into it, but little things… I mean, behavior change is hard, right? It’s not one of those things where you snap your fingers and you go, “Behavior change,” and it just happens. It’s something that we all work at constantly throughout our whole life. That’s the reality of it. Were there things that you started to make micro changes as far as little behavior changes with going for walks or sequencing food, just little things like that where that has now become a routine?

Elena Schuber (22:20):

Yeah. My friends, they always make fun of me about how much I walk. They’re always like, “Don’t ask her how far it is because she’s always going to say it’s not that far.” I’ve learned. My friends don’t trust the distances I walk. I’ve already been a really big walker. But I think for me the most important thing was the food sequencing. That was interesting. It makes sense. Skip the bread basket, order the salad and start with the salad first. I’ve always eaten that way though. I’ve always liked salad and that’s how I always have been advising my clients too.


It’s like, load your plate with vegetables and eat those first, and then you won’t want so much of the other stuff, other items that are available. And then if you want the bread, eat it last. It’s just a smart way of consuming. I’m lucky that I knew some of this stuff, but the food sequencing was really exciting. That was great.

Ben Grynol (23:25):

The fact that so many restaurants, and it’s not out of ill intent that they just start with the bread basket pulling up on that and that becomes this…

Elena Schuber (23:33):

Or the chips.

Ben Grynol (23:34):

Just this empty food. It’s not necessarily nutritious. That becomes the beginning of your meal. It doesn’t mean avoid that at all costs, right?

Elena Schuber (23:45):

No. I mean, keeping the stress at bay is really important. It’s exciting how much agency we have. It’s just like taking a moment to ground and just to feel the breath and the body before you consume and operating from a relaxed state. If you are consuming food, just feel really great about your choices and just really create a calm environment for yourself, and that’s just even throughout the day. Stress for me is really important to learn how to curb that. It’s just taking a breathing break for yourself. Take a breathing break before you consume food. Take a breathing break if you feel yourself getting a little too riled up or a little too tense. Just stand up.


Go to the water cooler and get some water. Take a little walk around. Change your environment. Change your position. Go outside, take a couple of really big deep breaths there, and then reset. It’s just being conscious minded about where you can sneak in those respites of stress. For me and for a lot of my clients, that’s what they most need help with. When they’re operating from a place of calm and of ease and relaxation, they can make smarter choices, and they want to make smarter choices because they want to feel good. People know how to eat healthily.


If you ask majority of the people, what’s better for you, a cheeseburger or a carrot stick, people know. If it’s a grass-fed burger from Force of Nature, that’s a different story. But it’s just really getting ahead of your stress and operating from a place of just feeling grounded, just feeling relaxed, calm, even if you’re not… Personally me, I have massive water damage in my house right now. That’s okay. I’m not going to let that affect me. I’m going to do what I can to get ahead of my stress. I’m going to take those moments to calm my body. If it’s stepping outside, feeling the sun on my face, just taking in those deep breaths of that beautiful fresh air, that’s so important for me and for most of my clients too.


It’s just to take those little breaks, find that time where you can just… If it’s only one deep breath, just take it. Treat yourself, you deserve it, and then reset. And then have a fresh perspective. And then you can make smarter choices when you’re in a relaxed state of mind, when you want to feel good in your body, when you want to continue that. You want to take care of yourself when you just let your shoulders relax, let your jaw relax. Take a big breath. It’s our body’s natural way is to feel that. The body wants to feel good. Our job is to get out of the way and clear out all of the obstacles that are halting us from doing that.

Ben Grynol (27:05):

You’re going to remember this sound bite for a while. Mindfulness, it’s integral though. It’s not possible to make sound rational decisions when we’re redlining. I mean, we make decisions, but sound and rational. It’s harder to have a strong north star… Take the behavioral economics approach where when our biochemistry gets off, that being like we’re in a heightened emotional state, objectively we just make subpar or poor decisions as compared to when we’re not in an emotional state. It becomes a lot harder where if you’re in that heightened emotional state, you’re in a state of constant stress, your cortisol is high.

Elena Schuber (27:52):

Your blood sugar is high and you see the spikes.

Ben Grynol (27:56):

Exactly. You’re under slept. We can keep saying compound, compound. All of these lifestyle factors make such a difference. But let’s just say colloquially your “biochemistry” is maybe not normalized, it’s not at a good average baseline, we’re just going to make poor decisions. And that can be the decision to not exercise. There might be an impulsive retail purchase that somebody does and then they have some remorse after. They think, “Ah, I didn’t really need that extra white t-shirt,” or something. Everything compounds and compounds. It’s important to keep reframing and think through small changes that we are in control of. That being mindfulness, right?


We are in control of being able to say, “I am going to take a break. I am going to go outside. I am going to walk for 10 minutes because I might not feel that I have the hour to exercise.” What I can control is say, “Can I reduce that window to still get that sunlight on my face?” Again, take five minutes to do some deep mindful breathing and think through the way that you feel. It’s going to change over the course of the day. It’s not, hey, I did this once and now I don’t need to do it again for another six or eight weeks. That doesn’t work.


What does work is establishing healthy routines for all of us that we’re able to make different decisions, especially when we want to. I don’t think anyone in the world is like, “I don’t want to be the best version of myself.” Everyone is constantly trying to find that pocket, and there’s so many inputs to doing it. It makes such a difference.

Elena Schuber (29:32):

Our bodies want to feel good. We just have to get out of their way.

Ben Grynol (29:35):

Exactly. We’re working at making an impact to the metabolic health crisis from a number of angles, that being glucose monitoring, that being the future of bio wearables, the idea of multi-molecule monitoring. They’re things that we’re just exploring from a vision standpoint. Where could this world go? What do we need to do to be proactive in having agency over our health and wellness? The biggest foundational piece is this idea of education, starting at the foundation, the base level.


That if we can get people to start to understand metabolic health and make their own changes without using a CGM, without using some feedback loop and saying, “What can you learn and how can you spread that work?” What are some things that you think about that we can do better, that we can make more changes to make the impact that we’re set out to make on the world?

Elena Schuber (30:30):

Well, you guys are doing an amazing job just right off the bat. Way to go. Way to bring this vital information, this important information to the masses. I appreciate that. For me, from the people I deal with, their main issue is, I mean, it’s really valuable to have this information, but it’s like how to implement it. You can have all the information of the world, but if you don’t implement it, it’s not going to be effective. How can I possibly make these little changes that are going to add up to allow yourself to feel your best in your body and to live optimally? It’s just clearing out some of that clutter. Whether it’s family issues or home issues or work issues, it’s kind of just like adopting.


First, you have to start. I always say just first, it’s breathing, breath first. Befriend your breath. Breathe first. That’s slowing down. It’s just taking a little moment for yourself, taking that time, taking that little breathing break, even if it’s just rubbing your hands together and just doing that, just doing that, or placing the left hand on your heart, the right hand in the low belly and taking one big inhale and one big exhale, just starting there, and then having that clarity of mind, resetting. I mostly help my clients identify where they can give themselves a little time for themselves, create space for themselves and reset their priorities and helping themselves clear away some things that they need help with.


That’s mainly what I do. But also having the community factor. I know you’ve done a lot of things to enhance the community aspect of it, and not everyone is a community minded person. But for me, it was really helpful to know someone that was already engaged in this app and this process and to go through that with her. That was great. That was very helpful. I know you’ve done a lot of things with your Facebook community and with the cohorts and all that stuff. I think that’s very valuable. A lot of the programs I’ve been involved with that do have that online check in forum, that’s very helpful to build that.


And then also, you guys are doing a great job and I love the blog posts that you send out. I love the information. It’s always clear. It’s always easy. I love your podcast. I mean, very clear, very easy. I know a couple people that would love to be part of this. Just to make it a little more affordable with it, that would be great. But other than that, you guys are thumbs up all the way.

Ben Grynol (33:34):

When you and your friend were using Levels, was it from a community? Community is N plus one, right? Community could be like 50 people, but the minimum is you need one more person than yourself. Was it the accountability factor or the shared experience or some blend of both or something else?

Elena Schuber (33:53):

It was a blend of both. Because the patch, actually it’s attractive and it stands out. It’s a black patch on the back of your arm, so it’s very easy to see, especially from a distance. This one time I was walking to the farmer’s market and this guy jogs by me. He’s like, “Levels!” I was like, yeah! It was just so funny. I was like, oh yeah! There’s a lot of people around here that probably have this app on right now and they’re probably all at the farmer’s market. But it was fun. It was good to see. It’s a prideful badge, like a badge of honor to be part of the community.


My health is important to me and I want to do something about it because I can, because there’s so many things we can do. Like Mark Haminelly says, your genes load the gun, but your lifestyle choices hold the trigger. That’s it. I mean, it’s so exciting how much agency we have over our outcome. There’s definitely exceptions to the rules, but for the most part, generally speaking, there is so much we can do to take care of ourselves and to inform the rest of our lives and how much and how well we want to live.

Ben Grynol (35:11):

Yeah, it makes a big difference. We always informally say it internally, Levels in the wild. It’s either a community member who sees another community member or we see it internally where it’s never gets old. We always get a lot of joy internally when somebody has the Levels in the wild spotting. It’s a big difference, but it is that shared experience, right? Because then it’s almost a conversation starter where it becomes this point of mutual interest. You also are interested in your health. You’re interested in optimizing. You’re going on a health and wellness journey, learning to understand your glucose levels, learning to understand these impacts.


It is an interesting thing because we find in that Venn diagram of overlap of interest, we’ve got all these things to make up our identities, but then it becomes this mutual part of the Venn diagram, all of these concentric circles. You go, “Oh, there it is. We’re both team Levels.” It is very cool. If you’re thinking about things that you’d be interested in getting more data or getting more insight into your own health, are there any other biomarkers that you think about?

Elena Schuber (36:22):

Yeah. It would be cool if it was kind of a one-stop shop, everything you needed in your little app mobile wise. I mean, I know there’s people that do that, but just in case people who love the Levels brand and people who just want to be loyal to it and just other blood tests that you offer, that’d be exciting. Just have it be the one-stop shop for food sensitivity or a thyroid panel or all that kind of stuff or whatever people are interested in based on that.

Ben Grynol (36:59):

Are there certain markers that you review with your clients regularly?

Elena Schuber (37:04):

Everyone’s different and everyone’s dealing with different things. But yes, there are definitely. Anytime I notice a red flag, I’ll ask to get them to give me the blood panel from their doctors so I can review things with them.

Ben Grynol (37:21):

And then how are you making changes based on the insight? I guess taking insight based on what you’re seeing, that being one point in time as far as data goes.I guess what insight are you giving clients to be able to make those changes?

Elena Schuber (37:36):

Well, it’s just empowering them with the information and then helping them really just feel it in their body, be present with themselves, and just empowering them to make these choices for themselves by just allowing them to be self-generative and just wanting to feel better, and then just learning and seeing that some of these little tricks that we do, some of these little swaps we can do, or some of these little lifestyle changes we can do really do inform other and all aspects of our life. It makes me a happier individual, a better spouse, a better mother. You name it.


I mean, it’s the holistic approach and it has the trickle effect. Your boss begins to recognize it. That’s what I’m hearing from my clients. It’s like, “Yeah, my kids think I’m a more fun mom, or my husband’s really impressed with that I’m up early in the morning at 5:00 AM doing a workout.” It’s just exciting to hear everyone’s stories and to hear how that’s affecting their family units and their work life and their friend life. Those are my favorite type of things to hear, their success stories.

Ben Grynol (39:09):

The sense of motivation really changes when you start to see results too. Some of them could be results as far as the way that somebody might report and the way they feel. That being results. They say, “I don’t feel the way that I did before,” but also results when people are on a journey where they might see… Let’s say they had more glucose variability or they had higher average glucose, and they start to see if they are monitoring, they start to see those changes. It’s like you want to keep on that path. There’s some reinforcing mechanism that says, “Hey, you’re doing well.” Once you’re doing well, whatever well is for a person, it’s like you want to make those other changes.You want to get up and do the workout. You want to keep on these paths. It is really important to get off of the hedonic treadmill of feeling bad all the time. Again, bad could just be the head nod at the keyboard in the afternoon where it’s like you don’t understand why it’s happening. But as soon as you realize, “Oh, it’s probably because of what I’m eating at lunchtime, it’s making me feel a certain way. I’m having a spike and then I’m crashing,” that makes a big difference when people say like, “Oh, this is what it feels like to just not feel that way in the afternoon while I work. Hey, that was pretty good.”


You’re not irritable anymore because of all these things. It’s natural to feel very irritated when let’s say you’ve gone through a glucose spike and you’re crashing. You might feel more irritated, or if your blood sugar is really low, you’re going to feel irritable. You change the way that you interact and react to things, and it’s this process that takes place over time.

Elena Schuber (40:52):

Yeah, well said. I mean, that’s exactly right. When your levels are level, your life’s going to be really level too.

Ben Grynol (41:04):

That’s exactly it. That’s exactly it. What are some things that you’re thinking about as far as you’re working with clients over the next few years, what are some trends and changes that you are starting to implement based on… There’s so much happening technologically from an information standpoint. That can also be a challenge too. There’s so much information out there where people can seek out this information.


Some of it can contradict. It’s like, I read this, but I also read the opposite of it and I don’t really know what to do. What are some things that you’re seeing as far as trends that you are implementing with the way that you work with clients based on how we’ll call it proactive versus reactive health is really evolving?

Elena Schuber (41:50):

They’re not for everyone. Everyone has a different personality type. But most of my clients, they wear sleep trackers and exercise trackers. They get excited to just achieve those goals for themselves. It’s just like tracking your glucose. You can see it right there. It’s just facts. It’s just take the emotion out of it. It’s just facts. Either you did it or you didn’t. But they are really getting on board with that and really trying to prioritize sleep. Everyone’s on board with that. It’s just removing the obstacles so they can actually find those priorities.