From keto enthusiast to cholesterol conscious – Don’s Aware Journey
Profile: Don Eteghwia, 25
Hobbies: Gym and BJJ
Occupation: Medical student
Health goals: Lower my cholesterol levels and improve my heart health
A former founder turned medical student, Don has always been fascinated with longevity research and biohacking. Recently, he’s been exploring how blood testing with Aware can help him track his fitness progress, live a healthy life, and maintain his current biological age for as long as possible. We sat down with Don to discuss his Aware insights, how he learned that his keto diet may be behind his raised cholesterol levels, and how he finds balance in his day-to-day life.
What has fueled your health journey up to now, and how has Aware helped you on this path?
When I was a teenager, my friends were really active. They inspired me to practice various sports and keep my body in constant motion. I also became fascinated by supplements to build my muscle mass and how different diets can optimize my body’s capabilities. That’s when I came across Aware, a pretty handy way to get a snapshot of how my lifestyle impacts my body.
Can you tell us a bit about your main health goals?
Now that I'm 25, I believe I'm in the prime time of my life. My ultimate goal is to sustain my physical and cognitive performance for as long as possible, which includes supporting the health of my organs. Understanding what’s most beneficial for our individual bodies is essential, I think. For me, combining healthy nutrition and staying active is the best way to achieve my goals. Since food is where we get our energy from, it's nice to consider what we are using as fuel for our bodies.
What challenges have you come across on your health journey?
Finding a balance between work, studies, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be very demanding. I believe many people face similar challenges. Integrating healthy habits into your daily routine and eating well on a daily basis can be tough. I try to stick to a personalized diet based on my needs and exercise regularly. In general, I live healthily without overthinking too much.
What lifestyle habits or changes have you implemented to support your long-term health?
I prioritize sports and physical activities that not only benefit my health but also bring me joy. I focus on resistance training and strength-building exercises to ensure my workout routine is well-rounded. On top of that, I like to track and measure my progress, which includes monitoring my diet and overall lifestyle. By analyzing and comparing my test results, I can make informed decisions and continue improving my health over time.
Did your first Aware health check test yield any surprising discoveries?
When I had my first blood test, I was following a ketogenic diet primarily centered around animal protein. To my surprise, the results showed that I had elevated cholesterol and uric acid. This was a turning point, highlighting the significant effect certain diets can have on our bodies, and that each individual tends to react differently. The results motivated me to be more conscious about my eating habits and explore alternative ways to meet my protein needs while lowering my cholesterol. It also made me curious about retesting after changing my diet. I’m excited to see how my results change next time around.
The ketogenic or keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating approach. Research suggests that while it may promote weight loss and other health benefits, it can lead to elevated cholesterol levels and a heightened risk of cardiovascular events in some people. So it's a good idea to routinely check your cholesterol levels if you’re on a keto diet.
Want to know how to improve your heart health and cholesterol levels? Check out our article: Evidence-based ways to lower your cholesterol naturally
You recently transitioned from being a founder to studying medicine. What inspired this career shift?
I've always been curious about longevity and biohacking, and I like to stay up-to-date on the latest research in these areas. This interest ultimately led me to dig deeper into the subject by studying medicine. Plus, I’ve always dreamed of building a healthcare company. While I figure out what my path will look like, medical school will give me the knowledge I need about the human body and preventive medicine to pursue my goals.
Do you have any health tips or hacks you'd like to share with the Aware community?
My main advice for staying on top of your health is to be minimalistic. Finding the right balance can be difficult, so I suggest starting small and prioritizing quality over quantity. For example, rather than aiming to work out every day, setting a realistic goal of 3 sessions per week can help you stay motivated and keep progressing. Committing to achievable targets can help you push a little harder with each session.
“Start small and let go of excessive overthinking”
We are Aware 💜
Got a story to share? We’d love to hear it.
Tell us about your health journey with Aware here.
June 1, 2023
August 8, 2023