My name is Jen, and I am beyond excited to embark on this journey with all of you beautiful people. I am a professional athlete, Princeton alum, adventure addict and, you guessed it, nutrition nerd.
Ask those closest to me, and they are sure to paint a similar picture: I eat lots of fruit and veggies. I love cooking good food for my friends. Farmers markets make me happy, and I make some kick a** banana bread. Their words, not mine. Yesterday was the third request this week. It's only Tuesday.
So what is my vision for this blog? Think Carrie's Sex and the City column, but substitute her sexcapades with the endless shenanigans that make up this incredible yet unpredictable lifestyle. I will talk about the things I am doing related to fueling my body, foodie adventures, nutrition hacks, promoting a more sustainable world and a bit of everything in between.
Bottom line: I'm all about empowering those around me and sharing what I learn along the way. The good. The bad. What is working and what is not.
It has been a long ride, and I am still gratefully driving down this road of life and self-discovery. One thing is for sure: I believe in the power of food as medicine and preventative healthcare. According to the Pew Research Center, turns out the most desired topic of study among American adults is health. No wonder the weight loss and nutrition industries are booming and the focus is on what we eat.
Here is the multi-billion dollar question: What should we eat to promote health and consistently be our best selves in life, love, work and beyond?
We all want to be healthy, not only for ourselves, but also for the people we love most in this world. I have been on my own path for some time now, and at this point, my diet is primarily plant-based. Michael Pollan was onto something when he said, "Eat whole foods, mostly plants, not too much." I wasn't always this way though. So let me give you a quick sense of how I got here.
My mom and I Facetimed last night, and according to her, I always had a "sensitive stomach." Okay. What does that mean? For starters I was lactose intolerant since I can remember and acid reflux had become one of my best friends. Before the whistle would blow to start my youth soccer games, the question was always, "Where is Jen?" Eventually, they stopped asking. "We know! She's in the bathroom." Sure enough, I would come sprinting back to the field just in time for kick off. I had this thing timed down to the second.
I was a running joke, literally. It just always seemed like something I ate had not sat right. I remember thinking, "I've been playing sports my whole life, but how is it that I still haven't figured out how to avoid this?"
By the time college rolled around I was starting to connect the dots, but the sneaky pre-game and post-meal upset stomach had become my perception of normal. This is how it is, and I just have to live with it. Right? I wholeheartedly disagree now. My body was trying to tell me something, but I just didn't know how to listen.
Over time, I naturally started avoiding the things that made me feel sick. Fried foods and dairy were the first to go, and then my assistant coach suggested I try gluten-free to further reduce inflammation. Sure, why not? Just one more thing to cut out.
At first this seemed to help, but over time I started noticing another strange symptom. My joints would swell, which often coincided with certain foods. Many doctors reassured me this was nothing, but I could not wrap my mind around what seemed so clear. Something I was eating was repeatedly causing an inflammatory response, and now it was beginning to affect my life and training more than ever. Eventually I found my answers in the form of a blood test that revealed many sensitivities and a leaky gut diagnosis.
I finally felt like I had regained control, and I had never felt so empowered. I ended up following an elimination diet and doing a lot of my own research. Later on, I stumbled upon a plant-based nutrition course, which fueled my passion for this way of healing and fueling my body.
Long story short, I have found that this journey is all about listening to our bodies and creating balance, not rules. Together let's focus on whole foods, simple eating and using our dollars to support more of what we want to see in this world :)