Biohacking The System: an Interview with Brittany Ford
We are thrilled to be joined by Brittany Ford (she/her), entrepreneur and holistic wellness expert.
Brittany’s business, Biohacking Brittany, centers on a wholesome approach to health and wellness that takes into consideration all aspects of life. We are so inspired by Brittany’s practical, optimistic take on health, and are so pleased that she was able to join us for a quick chat! Read on to find out more about biohacking, Brittany’s journey to therapy, and why you should definitely try out the sauna the next time you can safely do so.
This interview is part of Wellnite’s series of eye-opening interviews offering varied perspectives on health and wellness. There is no singular path to wellbeing, and we are so thankful to be joined by our amazing guests. The views expressed in the following interview are the participant’s own, and are not indicative of Wellnite’s stance on mental health and wellness. This interview has been edited only for length and clarity.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Brittany Ford. I have a business called Biohacking Brittany. I am a registered holistic nutritionist by trade, and I am also a “biohacker.”
Even outside of my work, I am very driven by health - it’s probably my #1 passion. I really try to be as healthy as I can in all areas of my life. I really got into health and the natural health world about 10-11 years ago now, when I was a teenager and dealing with specific health issues. That propelled me forward with my career and my values and all sorts of things, so…yeah! Here I am now, and still loving it and learning so much every day.
What’s your go-to self-care activity?
If I’m feeling down - tired, lacking energy - I really like to use the sauna. It’s a really relaxing thing for me to do. I get a lot of mindfulness in the time that I spend in the sauna - a lot of inward thinking and reflecting on problems. I might listen to a podcast while I’m in there, or to music. The sauna is definitely something I turn to if I need a pick-me-up.
Could you give us a short intro into what biohacking is?
I define biohacking as holistic self-care for optimal health. Basically what that means is that instead of only looking at a specific pillar that can make you healthier - such as nutrition - biohacking is holistic and wholesome in its approach. It also looks at stress, sleep, exercise, hormones, your mental health…all of these different things that make you you, and that either make you healthier or take you away from being healthier. It’s a very holistic practice, and the goal is optimal health.
I always tell my clients that it’s not necessarily perfect health - it’s just about optimizing your health from where you are right now. No one has perfect health, right? Even the people who we might look up to on social media, influencers…no one has this perfect glistening body with no problems. It just doesn’t exist within the human race. Stepping away from aiming for perfection and leveling up from where we are now - that’s what I really really like about biohacking.
I first got into it when I had that realization - probably 2, 3 years ago now. I realized that even though I was studying to become a nutritionist and I understood food and supplements very well, it wasn’t necessarily enough for me to become healthy, and for me to heal some of the things that I was facing at the time. When I started looking at things like sleep, hormones, stress, some of these very important pillars of your health…that was when I was actually able to see success. I got on the bandwagon really early with biohacking and have loved it ever since. Now it’s gained so much popularity and is growing really quickly, which is really cool to see.
How do you help yourself sustain a holistic healthy lifestyle? What are some tips that you can give to someone just starting out?
Of course in the beginning it seems kind of overwhelming. It seems like, “oh, I have to look at all of these different things and optimize them, I don’t know how to do that.” But what I have found is that I typically will start with one pillar, or one area, and work my way through it, and then look at something else.
For example, in 2019 I wasn’t sleeping very well, and it was affecting my mood and energy. So for all of 2019 I just focused on sleep. And of course I was still eating healthy and exercising, but I wasn’t trying to get abs and sleep perfectly and reduce my stress and have a baby all in one year - I was really focusing on one thing. So I’ve moved through specific areas and have learned what works for me and what doesn’t work for me.
When I deal with clients and we have this same discussion, we talk about the issues that they’re facing and the concerns they’re having. So if it’s sleep, or skin, or stress, we break that down and try to find the root cause, and then we work on that. We’re not really looking at anything else until the symptoms and signs that you’re dealing with are resolved or at least better, and then maybe we can look at something extra in the future. It’s really just breaking it down one step at a time. It takes time! And you really fall in love with it, because you get to know yourself really well. It’s really cool to quantify yourself and to see what works for you and what doesn’t work for you, and to see how it impacts your life. The best part of biohacking is the results - it’s being able to work ten or twelve hours days or more, and not feeling exhausted by it, or not gaining a ton of weight or have acne or whatever these symptoms might be. It’s being able to be very productive and being very healthy day in and day out - and that’s the results you get from biohacking. It’s very cool.
Similar steps, for someone starting from the beginning. Break it down. Look at your life, look at your health, and think about the specific areas that you would like to work on right now, and go from there. Once you’ve dug deep enough into there and start to see results, then we look at different areas.
Tell us about a person who was/is important to you on your wellness journey.
In terms of wellness, I’ve read a lot of books and talked to a lot of people on podcasts…I don’t think there’s one person specifically who has impacted my mental health, but there’s definitely people in the biohacking world who have shaped how I view health. The big players, like Dave Asprey, Ben Greenfield, Dr. Taz…I would say a lot of what I do now is influenced by them.
If you’re comfortable sharing, could you tell us about a time where you reached out to someone to seek help? Tell us a little about what motivated you to reach out, and how you overcame the challenges that come with that.
I’ve recently started seeing a clinical counselor. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for so long, but delayed it and delayed it and…now that I’m in it, looking back, I don’t know why. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to “do the work” as they say. Seeing a therapist has been really phenomenal, and I’m very surprised at the results I’ve seen in my mental health. I started up in fall of 2020, going every couple weeks, and it’s been so helpful, especially with COVID and everything that everyone is dealing with right now.
Mental health issues are on the rise…suicide, depression, anxiety, these things that are crippling for a lot of people. Also those who had an underlying tendency towards [mental health issues] that was triggered by everything happening in 2020. I’ve talked to my therapist about this and she said that she is so booked - she’s never had this many clients in her life, because so many people are needing mental health support right now. I think it’s amazing to hear that people are reaching out and getting comfortable doing that. Therapy can be taboo, I think we’re moving away from that but for a long time it was this idea of “oh, something’s wrong with you, you need to go to a therapist. You’re mentally not stable.” But now, we’re moving towards this time of everybody being in therapy, regardless of age or gender or whatever they’re going through. Everyone is seeing a therapist in some form or another, and I think that’s very very cool and needed.
My therapy sessions have been so helpful to look at things that happened in my childhood - the ways that I grew up and how those are still impacting me today, as someone in a relationship, as an entrepreneur, as a woman. We don’t need to go down that rabbit hole, but the misogynistic culture that we live in is pretty bad - you don’t really realize how it shapes you as a young girl until you’re an older woman and you look back at these things. And so that has been really interesting, and really helpful.
For anybody reading this, if you want to do therapy and you’ve been thinking about it - seriously, do it. I have been so surprised by the results. I never went to therapy before, and I never understood talking to somebody and getting an outward perspective from them would help me distance myself from thoughts and things that have happened in the past. That it would help me to help me move on from them. I never thought that you could actually get those results. I thought it was more like, “oh, I’m going to talk for an hour, and then that’s it.” But no. You actually grow through it and you let go of things, and it’s remarkable. I really recommend it to basically everybody.