I struggled for a long time to understand my body. I have gone through phases of my life where I have been both too thin, and also have felt excessively bloated. I have struggled with my relationship with food in the past, and at times been afraid to eat when I know I’ve needed to because of these issues. Getting to the bottom of understanding my nutrition has been an ongoing journey and I feel really proud of how far I have come.
For a while, I knew certain foods were ‘triggering’ for me, and would inevitably mean I wouldn’t feel great after eating them but I mostly tried to ignore that reality. I actually just accepted that feeling bloated was a symptom of eating a big meal or stress. But in 2018 I was diagnosed with celiac disease.
Celiac is an autoimmune disease - and actually, 60-70% of celiacs are female. Celiac disease can be triggered at any age, and many people live their lives undiagnosed. Celiac disease affects at least 1% of the population, but recent studies found it may be closer to 3%. Left untreated, celiac can lead to anemia, infertility, and some cancers. Despite how pervasive it is, “gluten free” often gets lumped in with “vegan” or “vegetarian,” even though ironically it has nothing to do with chicken, meat or fish.
Learning and understanding my personal nutrition better has been a big part of my personal growth over the last years; finding both confidence and athletic performance in nourishing my body properly.
Regardless of being a professional athlete, I think it’s really important that all of us feel our best day in and day out. But it’s not easy, even if you know what you need I have found that the food market can be incredibly confusing and full of greenwashing. What is good for one person isn’t always going to be the best for another.
I do believe strongly in understanding what works for each of us on an individual level and also in eating real food. What we eat affects who we are and our health. We all have certain sacrifices we may need to make in our own lives to feel our best, and I think that taking away the stigma out of talking about our individual nutritional needs can be helpful.
That has been an ethos in my life and is why I started SEND Bars. Because people should have access to delicious, nutritious food that makes them feel their best.