John O'Connor

Founder of GeneFood

Hi, I’m John O’Connor, founder of Gene Food. I am passionate about nutrition, genetics, and startups. Gene Food combines all of these interests into one project for me, and I couldn’t be more excited to get our message of personalized nutrition out to the public.

Like many who find their way into a career in health and wellness, I struggled with my own health issues before realizing I didn’t fit the template offered by our current system of medicine and nutrition. Prior to finding a health regimen that worked for me, I vacillated back and forth between different diets on the recommendation of a whole host of influencers who all swore “the science” was on their side. Nothing is more frustrating than having a well meaning commentator tell you how good something is for you, only to learn it doesn’t work for your body. Creating Gene Food is my attempt at helping people begin the process of learning what works for them, not what has worked for someone else.

In my journey towards a better understanding of my own unique needs, three mentors helped me tremendously along the way.

First, Mia Barbrick, a healer and acupuncturist based out of Laguna Beach, California. It was under Mia’s care that I first saw how powerful ancient healing modalities can be when applied to the right patient by the right practitioner at the right time. Mia took me under her wing with herbs, common sense wisdom and friendship. Spending a few weeks with her was, and still is, one of the best things I can do to regain my center. 

Next, Dr. Stephen Brody, a Stanford trained endocrinologist and anti-aging doctor in San Diego. Dr. Brody introduced me to the world of advanced lab testing that is sadly off-limits for most Americans. Through extensive blood work, I saw what the future of personalized medicine can look like. For the first time, I was exposed to lipid markers like Lp(a), VLDL, LDL-P, Lp-PLA2 and cholesterol absorption markers as well as genetic polymorphisms such as APOE and MTHFR. The idea that people metabolize nutritional inputs differently based on genetics fascinated me and was one of the primary drivers behind creating Gene Food. 

Last, I completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training under Gerhard Gessner, a member of the faculty of the University of San Diego as well as the owner of Prana Yoga in La Jolla, CA. Through Gerhard, I learned that Yoga is far more than just the asana practice. The science of Yoga can be applied to all facets of life and is rooted in cultivating good habits. 

To that end, and to explore the relationship between good habits and good health, I went on to become a health coach trained at Duke IM. 

So, in sum, would you call me a nutrition expert?

I hope not. 

I’m not a nutrition expert. 

What I am is a John O’Connor expert.

I know my body and what it needs. 

What I want for Gene Food customers is that they can each say the same for themselves. 

I’ve now spent years as a “citizen scientist” conducting research with the hope of creating a sophisticated road map to personalized nutrition. Founding Gene Food allowed me to scale this work with my own research team. The Gene Food Podcast gives us access to some of the smartest minds in nutrition and medicine. 

With the help of Dr. Aaron Gardner and our research team, our mission at Gene Food is to empower people to embark on their own unique health journeys. When attempting to find a diet and lifestyle that worked for me, I struggled under the influence of vocal advocates for one size fits all solutions that left me confused and frustrated. 

As a result, our content at Gene Food is designed to offer insights that can help people develop diet and wellness habits that work for them, not ones that worked for someone else.

We hope to use the emerging science of nutrigenomics to craft personalized regimens that meet people’s unique needs so they can show up in the world as better, happier versions of themselves.

John O'Connor's Latest Articles

Heart Health Cholesterol Genetics
September 12, 2019

I Went on a Mezcal and Pizza Bender – Then I got my Blood Drawn

I’ve written previously about the results of various lab tests I’ve had done – HbA1c, lipids and Lp(a), Sitosterol, food sensitivity, tissue transglutamanase. For the HbA1c post, I even brought… Read More

August 22, 2019

The Vegan Omega-3 Problem (and how to solve it)

Vegan and vegetarian diets are growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. Even those of us who are not full on vegetarian can agree eating less meat is… Read More

Genetic testing
August 3, 2019

5 trusted sites that process raw 23andme and Ancestry data

Since 2017, the market for consumer genomics products has been exploding. With an estimated 20 million people having now ordered genetic testing kits, it’s only natural many of us are… Read More

June 19, 2019

Why I micro-dose fish oil supplements

Fish oil supplements are a controversial topic. As we touch on in our fish oil buying guide, most fish oil supplements contain rancid and damaged fats and the content of… Read More

morning coffee
May 23, 2019

Why Coffee is Bad for Me, but Might be Good for You

You know what I would like to do right now? Drink a cup of coffee (an Americano from La Colombe to be exact). Then have another. After that, I’d bring… Read More

April 26, 2019

Are Bananas Healthy?

Science Grade: Normally, the most I would do would be half a frozen banana, but I ate two bananas yesterday in a smoothie I bought at the gym after a… Read More

April 26, 2019

The 11 Best Natural Antihistamine Supplements to Get You Through Allergy Season

I have written previously on the blog about my battle with histamine intolerance and the protocols I used to “right the ship.” That post became quite unruly at 5,000+ words,… Read More

April 24, 2019

Why Food Sensitivities Can Be a Moving Target

Science Grade: Do you have food sensitivities but don’t have a good handle on what you can and can’t eat because the reactions seem to always be changing? This blog… Read More

April 17, 2019

My Experience Eating Raw HoneyComb: What Are the Health Benefits of Bee Products?

I’ve always been somewhat conflicted when it comes to honey. On the one hand, honey has many reputed health benefits, especially manuka honey, which has shown promise as a topical… Read More

April 12, 2019

When a Gluten Free Diet Isn’t Enough to Heal the Gut

I had a friend visiting last week who has celiac disease. Watching him carefully navigate restaurant menus made me realize how relaxed my “gluten free” diet truly was. Why is… Read More

steak and high protein diets
April 1, 2019

Don’t Believe in Nutrigenomics? Take a Look at Mikhaila Peterson’s Blood Work on the Carnivore Diet

Steak for every meal, everyday. That’s the carnivore diet in a nutshell, and it’s growing in popularity. Unhealthy right? Probably. I’ve written previously about the Carnivore Diet and why I… Read More

March 22, 2019

Beyond Gout: Why Lowering Uric Acid Matters

If you’ve arrived at this blog post chances are you’ve already scoured the mountain of identical posts out there that discuss uric acid in the context of gout. But before… Read More

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