Check the end of this post for details on how to win a R1000 voucher to Hyde Park Corner.

I haven’t blogged much lately. There are a few reasons for this but the bottom line is I’ve been busy and stressed. My brain is moving in ten directions at once and I can barely remember my own name, let alone blog.

It’s not the greatest feeling. As recently as 30 minutes ago someone said to me, “Slow down, Heather. Take 14 deep breaths.”

But the universe works in mysterious ways. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that amidst all this craziness I was invited, as part of a blogging campaign, to do something I would never have done otherwise: Get my DNA analyzed at Health Works, a funky health shop in Hyde Park Corner.

Health Works in Hyde Park

Hyde Park Corner is a fancy shopping mall — a Joburg institution, really — filled with high-end restaurants and stores. But Health Works is different. The owner, Linda Weech, is a self-proclaimed “old hippy girl” who used to work in the clothing business but eventually switched over to health food and supplements because “health is more creative than clothes”. Linda opened Health Works nearly 25 years ago and has been in Hyde Park ever since.

Inside Health Works. Linda is behind the counter.

Linda works closely with her colleague Tandy McLeod, who is a bit of a hippy girl herself and also knows a lot about diet, health, and DNA. These two women have taken a boring store in a mall and turned it into a fun, relaxing, zen kind of place. There’s even a buddha corner.

Health Works zen buddha corner.

My DNA Analysis

The Health Works DNA analysis is not ancestry DNA — the one where you find out the geographical origins of your ancestors and track down your long-lost adopted cousins. (Incidentally, my family recently discovered one such long-lost cousin through an ancestry DNA service in America. Shout-out to cousin Jeffrey!)

The Health Works DNA analysis is about — you guessed it — health. The genes we’re born with can tell us tons of information about how our brains work, what kind of diseases we’re prone or resistant to, and what diet and exercise regimes we should follow to live healthy, happy lives. This is the kind of information I learned from Tandy during my DNA analysis.

Here’s how it worked. For my first consultation, I went into the shop and talked with Tandy and Linda about which DNA tests I wanted to do. I chose the “DNA Mind” test, which looks at my genes in relation to brain function, and the “DNA Diet” test, which analyzes how my body responds to various foods and exercise.

Tandy pricked my finger and did a blood test (I’m A+, in case you’re wondering) and swabbed the inside of my mouth for DNA. Then my sample was sent off to the lab for analysis and I came back a few weeks later to go over my results with Tandy.

My blood gets tested.

I won’t go into a ton of detail as the analysis is extremely in-depth. But I will say this: After weeks of criss-crossing the globe, fighting illness and horrendous jet lag, arguing about politics, running myself ragged in the quest for an ever-elusive South African visa, getting a new passport, losing/finding luggage and laptops and phones, hitting curbs and getting flat tires, launching a book, shooting a wedding, crying incessantly, and allowing stress and anxiety to make my life — and the lives of those around me — downright miserable, it was a joy to sit down with Tandy in a quiet room and talk calmly about my mind, body, and what makes me me.

Tandy and I talked about serotonin and dopamine, about my family history of addiction, about my problems remembering names and my teenage struggles with body image and weight. We talked about boxing and bunjee-jumping and binge-eating and my love of cheese. We talked about olives and avocados and magnesium and melatonin. We talked about love, passion, life, and death.

I walked out of Health Works feeling way better than I did when I walked in, and with a better understanding of my own mind and body.

Thanks Tandy and Linda for helping me understand myself a little bit better.

The prices of Health Works DNA analyses vary and are discounted when one purchases multiple tests together (e.g. the DNA Mind analysis and the DNA Diet analysis, which I did). The prices generally range in the vicinity of R2000 per test. Contact Health Works at 011-325-5168/9 for more information.

Contest!

As part of this campaign I have a voucher worth R1000 for a lucky reader to spend at Hyde Park Corner. (My apologies for not getting myself together soon enough to give this voucher out before Christmas — see complaints above.)

To enter, please go to my Instagram (@2summers) and find the photo of Linda and Tandy in Health Works. Add a comment to the post saying you’d like to win the voucher to Hyde Park Corner. I’ll randomly select a winner on 1 January. Good luck!

I wrote this post in partnership with Health Works, Hyde Park Corner, and Hello Joburg. Opinions expressed are my own.

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