Slipping into the Rabbit Hole of Your Quantified Self
Your doctor tells you to lose some weight, get more exercise. You hear walking 10,000 steps a day is an easy way to start. You download the app on your phone to begin counting, making sure you carry the phone all day. “Wait, what is this – 4,367 steps the whole day?”
You text your sister. She suggests a challenge and downloads the app before bedtime. As it always goes in a contest with your sister, things escalate quickly beyond the race to 10,000 steps a day.
Counting steps leads to the weight loss challenge. You receive an email from the developer of your walking app with an offer of another app to track calories, saturated fats, fiber. This sounds promising. You don’t even tell your sister about this one, thinking you’ll gain the upper hand. (Of course, she receives the same email and is downloading the app right now.)
How can you creep ahead of your sister in this contest? You scan the Internet looking for ideas, and there it is: You can submit your saliva for a DNA test that will tell you just which foods to eat in what quantities to optimize your weight loss. Bingo! The Upper Hand!
It’s happened; you’re slipping into the rabbit hole of your quantified self.
What Is the Quantified Self?
Believe it or not, there are thousands (if not millions) of people across the country and the world who have taken it upon themselves to learn the inner workings of their bodies, their minds, their spirits, even, by gathering as much data about themselves as humanly possible and applying it to their lifestyle.
They track their exercise. They track their food intake. They track their heartbeats, their blood pressure, their glucose levels. They track their brain waves. They track their moods. You name it, people are tracking it.
And in tracking it, they seek to improve. They seek better health. They seek greater fitness. They seek more stable moods.
With DNA testing, they seek improvement right down to the chromosomal level to make their lives the best they can achieve. In 2007, writers Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly coined the term “the quantified self” to describe this data-driven quest to understand the individual’s inner workings.
“But, wait a minute,” you think. “I’m just trying to beat my sister in a weight loss contest. I’m not trying to become some quantified human being.”
DNA for a Greater Good
Still, you’ve learned some valuable lessons about yourself, your exercise habits, your eating habits, your general health that are good to understand and put to use going forward.
Maybe it’s time for you and your sister to put this weight loss competition behind you and sit down over a glass of wine to share your newly gained knowledge of yourselves.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you a bit, or take you too much further down the rabbit hole, to learn that a DNA test could also guide you toward the ideal wine when sitting down with your sister.
Seriously, some of the same scientists who have been applying genetic studies to your health and well being also help determine which wines are best suited for your palate based on your taste preferences, as well as your genes that influence taste and smell.
The company, Vinome, (vino + genome = Vinome) combines these scientists’ love of science with their love of wine to create the unique opportunity for you to find your new favorite wines. They’ve even made it more palatable for you by gathering a storehouse of tested wines to satisfy your thirst.
Now, that’s information you and your sister are sure to agree on and happily toast.