Todd’s Mental Health Experiment

Many of you have been curious about my personal journey into the world of ketamine-assisted therapy and its potential impact on mental health. Let me start off by saying that at Stark, we are dedicated to optimizing your health, from body composition to gut health, detoxification to nutrition, and so much more. Yet, for a long time, mental well-being remained a blind spot within our holistic approach to health. Today, I’d like to share why I have chosen to explore ketamine-assisted therapy for myself, and how it might benefit a significant portion of Stark’s population—individuals who are driven, highly intelligent, and often cope with stress by resorting to self-medication, primarily through alcohol and food.

Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Inc., once remarked, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” This statement resonates deeply with me and underpins the core philosophy of Stark. We believe that mental well-being is an indispensable facet of living a fulfilling and healthy life. Your mental state not only affects your daily experiences but also influences your long-term health outcomes.

Our clients invest substantial resources into Stark, both in terms of time and money, to attain peak health. We provide meticulously designed plans and programs to help them unlock their full potential. However, we’ve observed a recurring challenge: many of them seem to be in a perpetual battle with our nearly perfect plans. They seek results, they desire a more open-minded state, but deep down, they sometimes doubt their ability to achieve it.

For many years, I’ve anticipated the day when psychedelic-assisted therapy would become a legal and viable option in the United States. I envisioned that it could be a profound addition to our toolkit for supporting our students, who are often classified as type A personalities, operate at an extraordinary level, and tend to carry the burden of intense stress. This stress often leads to self-medicating behaviors, such as overindulging in alcohol and food, which ultimately hinder their progress toward peak health.

Ketamine is a unique substance that has shown remarkable promise in addressing mental health issues. It places you in a state of neuroplasticity, which is your brain’s incredible capacity to rewire itself. During and in the days following a ketamine session, your mind undergoes a transformation. It becomes malleable and self-directed. You gain the ability to decide.

When this mental openness is combined with positive lifestyle behaviors—such as maintaining a nutritious diet, engaging in regular exercise, and embracing invigorating practices like cold plunges—you’ll likely notice a profound shift in your relationship with self-medication. Cravings for alcohol or that irresistible cafe mocha become outdated; the depression and anxiety that have held you back start to lose their grip, either temporarily or even permanently. You become the master of your decisions, and you decide that these aspects no longer fit into your life. Transformation becomes the new reality.

I embarked on this journey with ketamine-assisted therapy as an additional tool to empower myself, and potentially our students, to break free from the shackles holding me back from achieving their peak health. I believe that mental well-being is not a separate entity but an integral part of the holistic health equation. By addressing this vital aspect of health, we aim to provide a more comprehensive toolkit to unlock your full potential.

I want to be clear: ketamine-assisted therapy may not be suitable for everyone, and my experience is not intended as a recommendation, but rather as an insight into my personal journey and the potential benefits that this approach has brought to my life. I’ll let you know how it goes!

– Todd Vande Hei, Founder & CEO of Stark