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Kara Collier: Nutritionist, NutriSense
My Day | My Life
BY PETER BOWES | SUNDAY AUGUST 21, 2022
Kara Collier is the director of nutrition at the metabolic health company, NutriSense. She is, by her own admission, obsessed with all things to do with personalized nutrition, metabolism, glucose, preventative health and longevity. In this episode we learn about Kara’s day, built around a solid and regular night’s sleep, focussed nutrition and exercise and the luxury of a work-from-home lifestyle.
Connect with Kara: Bio | Twitter | LinkedIn | NutriSense
Carlee Hayes, lead dietician at NutriSense: Why continuously monitor our glucose levels?
Carlee Hayes: My Day | My Life
Analyze in real-time how your blood glucose levels respond to food, exercise, stress, and sleep. Nutri| Sense is offering LLAMA podcast listeners $25 off your first month of subscription. Use code LLAMA at checkout. Affiliation disclosure: This podcast receives a small commission on your purchases from Nutri| Sense. It helps to cover production costs and ensures that our interviews remain free for all to listen.
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My Day | My Life explores the lives of people who have, in one way or another, mastered the art of aging. Whether it be through diet, exercise, mindfulness, spirituality, nutraceutical interventions, social connections, generosity or fulfilling careers, we discover the essential elements to living life with purpose, and perhaps, longevity.
This episode was sponsored by Vitality Pro Longevity Supplements, here to offer the latest products in longevity science focused on improving and supporting your health as you age. LLAMA podcast listeners can receive a 5% discount on its products. Use the code LLAMA at checkout – www.Vitality-Pro.com
Transcribed using Sonix AI. Please check against audio recording for absolute accuracy.
Kara Collier: I am 28 years old. I’m a morning person, so I like to start my morning off pretty early, typically around 530. And I do have an alarm, but I would say 80% of the time I’m waking up before my alarm. I tend to be most productive in the morning, so I do have a small morning routine that I follow before I jump into work. When I wake up, I first do some stretching, so usually about 15 minutes of stretching, some yoga poses, kind of moving my body around. And then I drink a lot of water with lemon in it to just rehydrate myself from the night. And then depending on the time of the year, I try to get about 5 minutes of sunlight. I try to spend at least a minute. It doesn’t have to be very long, a minute or two with a kind of gratitude mindset. I know for a lot of people maybe that seem soft or woo woo, but really putting your mind in the right state and a positivity mindset really helps to get the day started off well.
Frame of mind when I’m first waking up. This is something that I think needs to be intentional. It can be very easy to just kind of wake up and you immediately start thinking about the meeting you have or the task you have or the worries that are on your mind.
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And so this is something that has changed for me in recent years, is waking up with an intentional mindset of being more present. So just kind of observing what’s around you, observing how you feel looking outside, trying to take it a little bit slower and be more present as something that has really changed the way I think about things the rest of the day and being a little bit more present in the moment.
I typically don’t eat something until closer to ten in the morning, so usually about close to 4 hours after I’ve woken up. This varies depending on my meeting schedule, but usually I just have water with lemon in the morning and some black coffee and then eventually I’ll have my first meal of the day. And typically this is some sort of egg based breakfast, lunch, brunch, call it what you will. Typically a few pasture raised eggs, some non-starchy vegetables, some fat source like ground meat or avocado or something else in that sense. And that’s usually how I start my nutrition. So start my first meal of the day. In general, I tend to think about nutrition in terms of larger, less frequent meals, so I usually have 2 to 3 meals. That’s my first one, but I really think about building it around protein and non-starchy vegetables. I started as a registered dietitian, so I’m classically trained in nutrition and my career began working in the hospitals, helping patients who are really sick, trying to get them to make nutritional and lifestyle changes.
That led to a lot of frustration and lack of changes because it’s not a great time or place or setting to help people make behavior change. So from there, I went to more startup world and discovered my love for entrepreneurship and that eventually led me to where I am now, which is being a co-founder and the director of nutrition at Nutri Sense.
At Nutri Sense I do a lot less dietician work and a lot more building the company kind of from the ground up, but also building a team of dietitians underneath me. And this has been a game changer in terms of careers, in contrast to working in the hospital, and that we’re really helping people in a way that I was searching for when I started in my career, but was very difficult to do in some of the constraints of the traditional health care system. My goal really is the same as it’s always been, and it’s to help as many people as possible with their health journey. But then now I’m thinking about it more in scale, so less working one on one with clients, but teaching a team of dietitians and building a company that can reach as many people as possible. So my goal is not only to help people with their health journeys, but also be a leader for my company nutritionists and inspire others to reach their full potential at a personal level as well.
I am fully remote and we have actually been remote as a company since we started, which was actually pre-pandemic. So I’ve gotten very used to the remote lifestyle and it has a lot of perks to be able to be very productive at work, but also incorporate some more healthy lifestyle behaviors.
I am able to eat when I want to eat. Not within the constraints of when everybody is going to lunch. Also to work out when I want to work out, which is maybe different than in the constraints of going into an office. So I love being remote. I think it helps me be in control of my time. And as my day progresses, I mentioned I have those kind of larger, less frequent meals. So I have kind of a late breakfast and then an early dinner and I try to stop eating pretty early before bed. And I like to work out before that kind of final meal. And so work out every day really tend to focus my exercise around strength training. But I also have a day of kind of aerobic, more HIT activity, but mostly weight lifting for the five days of the week and then on the weekends doing more sports and activities. But I build my day around working and being productive, which interspersed movement walks quick set of 15 squats, whatever I have to do to kind of keep my body moving.
I kind of think about healthspan through the lens of movement and exercise and certain nutritional principles, guiding principles that I like to follow. And then also that really high quality sleep that I’m pretty strict about and and mindset, I would say is kind of that fourth component that are really what guide my health decisions.
Typically at least an hour before bed, but it’s usually closer to two. Turn off all screens. So my phone goes in airplane mode in general. I don’t have any notifications on my phone, so I’m working a lot. I’m at my computer a lot, so if I’m not at my computer, then it can probably wait until I’m at my computer next. So I don’t have any notifications on my phone, but I do like to turn on airplane mode regardless and then I really enjoy reading. So reading is just something that for me is both pleasurable. But I also can learn, I can wind down, I can relax. So I typically spend at least an hour before bed reading and then I also journal daily. So some of that journal is just reflection. Some of it is also thinking about what I have faced difficulties that day. So more of a learning perspective. And that’s where mindset I think plays a role of thinking about failures or difficulties. Anybody who does anything, entrepreneurship knows there’s tons of those, but thinking about them as points of learning rather than stress or difficulty. And that’s kind of part of that routine as well.
I used to exclusively read paper books pre-pandemic, and then when I was just at home more, there was less library access or books I was purchasing. I did switch to electronic for a lot of it and then kind of have the light changing filters on my screen and then the blue light glasses as well to try to mitigate that as much as possible. But I have found that the electronic is better for more organized and systematic note taking with the reading though. So it’s been a little bit of a positive change overall. I think switching historically I’ve been what I would consider a terrible sleeper in that I took a long time to fall asleep. I woke up very easily. I’m still generally a little bit more of a light sleeper than I think most people are. I’m not the person that would sleep through an earthquake or a fire drill, but my sleep has improved so much by just being consistent.
I’ve tried a lot of different things to improve my sleep and that is by far the most effective is going to bed and waking up within that 30 minute window every day. So the more consistent I am, the more likely I’m to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep. Other things have helped as well. You know, I don’t drink very much alcohol. If I do, I definitely don’t do it right before bed. And I do have that earlier dinner trying not to eat anything at least three or 4 hours before bed. Those things really help as well. But the consistency in the wake and sleep time has been the biggest improvement in my sleep quality.
I think the mindset at the end of the day is, is really thinking again about learning progress over perfection. There’s a really excellent book that I would recommend to people that’s called Four Thousand Weeks. It really talks about viewing difficulties or problems as developing a taste for having problems. So problems are inevitable. Stress is inevitable. And thinking about it through the mindset of ‘I’m developing a taste for this problem, how am I looking at it objectively? How can I assess how the day went?’ It’s kind of how I try to end the day when I’m journaling and the mindset I’m putting myself in.
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, shares ideas but does not offer medical advice. If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.