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

March 23, 2020

Why I Switched From Coffee to Matcha for my Morning Buzz

For the last year especially, I have been a coffee enthusiast like never before in my life. I’ve been buying “the good stuff” and even grinding my own beans. In… Read More

February 21, 2020

5 Practical Lifestyle Tips for Keeping Blood Sugar Low

When we eat carbohydrates, and sometimes even when we eat protein, the food is broken down into a simple sugar called glucose, which every cell in the body can use… Read More

February 19, 2020

In Defense of DNA Diets (They can and do Work)

If you have been Googling “do DNA diets work?” you may have found an article written by Scientific American titled “Matching DNA to a Diet Does Not Work.” The JAMA… Read More

Bowl of oatmeal with blueberries in it
November 22, 2019

Are Grain Free Diets Healthy? Why I am 75% but not 100% Grain Free

Are grain free diets “healthy,” or do they increase the risk for heart disease? As we will learn in this post, the answer depends on a number of different factors… Read More

Screenshot of the oura ring dashboard
November 21, 2019

Why I Stopped Wearing an OURA Ring

We need good sleep to be healthy. This much is not in dispute. The question posed for my review of the OURA ring, a popular sleep tracking device, is whether… Read More

Photo depicting what bacteria looks like
November 4, 2019

What are the Health Benefits of Bifidobacterium Longum?

In a previous post I wrote about strains of probiotic bacteria that improve “brain power,” Bifidobacterium Longum (B. Longum) was featured prominently. Certain strains of B. Longum have indeed been… Read More

PCSK9 drugs
October 21, 2019

My Experience With Zetia

Ezetimibe, or “Zetia” for short is an important heart drug which helps people who hyper-absorb cholesterol (and plant sterol) from taking on more of these fats than their body can… Read More

Low histamine diets
October 6, 2019

Do Low Histamine Diets Really Work? Yes, But There are Limits

I once had a date tell me it was “the nerdiest thing she’d ever heard,” but yes, I actually moved from Austin, Texas back to New York City because I… Read More

September 29, 2019

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease? Is Genetics or Lifestyle More Important?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most notorious form of dementia, with dementia being defined as “a series of conditions occurring when nerve cells or neurons in the brain die or no… Read More

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

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