UltimateHuman.Org Interviews Ashley Perona

UltimateHuman Team Feb 09, 2023
31 People Read
Ashley Perona Interview
Table of Contents
  1. What originally inspired you to get into health/ wellness?
  2. What’s your favorite part about working in health?
  3. What do digital nomads in particular need to know about staying healthy?
  4. What’s something new in health/ wellness you wish more people knew about?
  5. If you could wave a magic wand and fix something about the modern-day healthcare system, what would it be?
  6. What are you most excited about in the future of health?
  7. Is there anything else you’d like to add? A message you’d like to share?

Ashley Perona is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, and biohacker from Mesa, Arizona.

In 2019, she left "Corporate America" and started planning to explore the world. Her travel partner is her husband Cameron & she's been to 47 countries, all 7 continents (including Antarctica), checked off 94 "bucket list" items... and still counting!

Now, she's committed to showing other digital nomads how they can travel and stay healthy at the same time.

The best place to find her online is on her website (everwandertravel.com) and on YouTube & Instagram: @EverWanderTravel

Now, here's her exclusive interview with UltimateHuman.Org:

What originally inspired you to get into health/ wellness?  

It was feeling like sh*t, quite frankly. Pardon my French!

I grew up in a household where Fruity Pebbles was considered a nutritious breakfast and we drank Coca-Cola like it was water. My parents use food and alcohol to cope & both are obese and close to type 2 diabetes. Scary.

In my late teens and early twenties, I ran the gamut of all the eating disorders. I was desperate to stay thin and had no idea how to be healthy and skinny at the same time.

In my late twenties, I slowly realized my unregulated stress resulted in various substance addictions (numbing the pain with caffeine, Adderall, alcohol, e-cigarettes, and Xanax). I was what you might consider "successful," yet I had an empty feeling inside... like I had one foot in the grave.

Leaving Corporate America in June 2019 was the best decision I’ve ever made. It enabled me to start eliminating one destructive behavior and addiction at a time, gain more knowledge, and focus on my health. Ultimately, I became addicted to feeling awesome every single day.

Fast forward to today — my husband and I have been full-time global nomads since September 2021. It’s amazing, but it’s brought on a whole new set of challenges. Staying healthy on the road is no easy feat.

My health was all out of whack in 2022:

  • I contracted H. Pylori from India or Bhutan

  • I found out I have hydrogen dominant SIBO coupled with a sulfur sensitivity

  • My LDL was elevated

  • My Vitamin D was low

  • I found myself in the pre-diabetic range

  • And my hormones/cycle was never so out of whack in my life

I went into full research mode, turned my body into a science experiment, hired a naturopath, intimacy coach, and relationship/communication coach, and took so many supplements... it was insane.

It wasn’t easy or cheap while traveling, but I successfully converted my body "from a trash can into a temple."

There’s still so much for me to learn and improve, but I feel so much better after healing my gut and managing my stress more effectively.

Recently, I've even stopped taking Adderall, which I had been taking since 2007.

What’s your favorite part about working in health?

My favorite part about prioritizing my health is understanding what different levers do to my body, mind, and energy levels — in real time.

I truly believe health is wealth.

It makes me sick thinking about how long the government & other institutions have been lying to us. I believe Big Pharma wants to keep us sick and that they prevent government officials from banning toxic ingredients & chemicals in our food.

The system is so weighed down and doctors seem forced to treat symptoms instead of the root causes of diseases (like Alzheimer's, dementia, MS, ALS, or Parkinson's) that are running rampant these days.

But, I believe there’s hope — especially for those who know there’s a better way.

I absolutely love sharing my findings & insights with anyone who’s ready to embark on their own unique health journey.

What do digital nomads in particular need to know about staying healthy?

In order to stay healthy on the road, digital nomads need to remember 2 words:

Appropriate planning.

A couple weeks prior to arriving in a new city... I research various gyms, studios, fitness centers, and/or personal trainers.

Being diligent and leveraging technology is also key:

Typically, I use a combination of Google Translate, email, text, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Google Maps is my travel companion — especially private Google Maps lists.

I research, find, and save the following businesses in every city we visit:

  • Gyms, studios, & personal trainers

  • Meal prep delivery services

  • Healthy cafes + juice bars

  • High-end grocery stores + butchers

  • Healthy restaurants

  • Biohacking facilities (infrared sauna + cold plunge)

  • Massage therapists

I also try to plan active and fun activities like walking, exploring, scootering, hiking, yoga, kayaking, biking, scuba diving, skydiving, etc.

Your plans should also take into account that you'll likely be eating out a lot...

You can modify items at restaurants to reduce unneeded oils, fats, carbs, or sugars (we often send the bread basket back before it even hits the table).... make ordering dessert a special occasion... and watch your alcohol intake.

I’ve been sober since June 2020, but my husband does one dry week a month... one dry month a year... and doesn't allow himself to drink alone, or if he hasn’t worked out that day.

The point is: We treat this like a lifestyle, not a vacation.

Remember... if there’s a will, there’s a way. Plan for success and put in the work ahead of time to reap huge dividends.

Trust me, we’re still far from perfect, but it’s my goal to get everything dialed-in this year (2023).

After all, maintaining our health is what enables us to travel full-time. Speaking of the which… hit us up on the road: Here’s our high-level travel itinerary for 2023.

What’s something new in health/ wellness you wish more people knew about?

First + foremost, I wish people knew the root cause of obesity:

Cortisol and insulin levels.

Effectively managing stress, cortisol, and insulin (blood sugar) levels by flattening glucose curves may be a better focus than calorie reduction or increased exercise. Ultimately, it’s a hormonal issue.

Two mind blowing books here are "Glucose Revolution" by Jessie Inchauspé, and "Obesity Code" by Jason Fung.

After reading "Glucose Revolution," I invested in a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for 3 months & ran blood sugar experiments on myself. Note: CGMs can help us course correct our overly-processed, high-carb American diets.

I did this because a recent blood test revealed I was in the pre-diabetic range after traveling to India, Bhutan, and Dubai. And this is for myself, who is 5’5” and 115 pounds... not good. Thin people can be pre-diabetic and diabetic as well.

Learning which foods spike my blood sugar... the proper time of day... and the right order to eat my food (yes, we should be eating every meal in a specific order) has been profoundly impactful to my gut health, mental clarity, waist, and energy levels.

Secondly, it's important to understand how imperative gut health is... and the role it plays in all disease diagnoses, hormone imbalances, and overall health.

The gut truly is our 2nd brain; it’s also responsible for hormone production... and likely all disease formation.

Thirdly, it may help to implement biohacking principles like:

Intermittent fasting, blue light blocking glasses, cold exposure, sun + heat exposure, ketogenic dieting, meditation, red light therapy, breathwork, etc.

Bottom line: If you get these 4 things under control — Stress, Cortisol, Insulin, and Sleep...

You'll likely feel SO much better.

If you could wave a magic wand and fix something about the modern-day healthcare system, what would it be? 

My magic wand would eliminate treating symptoms with pills.

Instead of addressing the ultimate/ root cause, doctors are constantly over-prescribing — which may ultimately make patients more sick.

It’s a vicious cycle that needs to end.

Taking a more holistic + functional approach to medicine would do us a world of good, instead of lining the pockets of Big Pharma.

What are you most excited about in the future of health? 

New personalized medicine & treatments are extremely exciting/ promising.

For example, now there's a chance to cure diseases by targeting specific "problem" cells, instead of "carpet bombing" the entire body (i.e. chemo for cancer).

I also love that there's more nontechnical, easy-to-understand information readily available for the average person to consume. You simply need to be curious enough to read it and be motivated to change.

Lastly, the rise of functional & holistic healers is needed, and offers hope.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? A message you’d like to share?

You don't have to wait for a doctor or functional health wellness practitioner to start getting a better grasp on your health.

Be (and stay) curious —

When your body hurts, aches, and/or has tension... it's trying to tell you something... so, listen to it.

Take the information you find, engage a reputable professional to validate your findings, and have them run the specific tests before taking supervised action.

Run what you can through insurance, and if you can’t, figure out a way to save and spend the money on whatever test you need. Knowing this information is more beneficial than spending $7 on a latte or going to happy hour with your coworkers multiple days a week.

Another thing to note: Don't blindly take supplements.

You should confirm you're deficient in something before supplementing. Additionally, I'd work to get those vitamins + nutrients via your diet if you can — instead of a pill.

Health is a journey, not a destination. So, please exercise patience through the process. I promise it gets better.

After you start feeling improvements, you'll wonder why you spent so long feeling sh*tty in the first place. I know I ask myself that question daily!

Staying healthy is a lifelong journey that requires continual tweaking, follow-up, & maintenance... And it's 100% worth it.

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Table of Contents
  1. What originally inspired you to get into health/ wellness?
  2. What’s your favorite part about working in health?
  3. What do digital nomads in particular need to know about staying healthy?
  4. What’s something new in health/ wellness you wish more people knew about?
  5. If you could wave a magic wand and fix something about the modern-day healthcare system, what would it be?
  6. What are you most excited about in the future of health?
  7. Is there anything else you’d like to add? A message you’d like to share?