Competing at Wildflower

As a professional athlete with celiac disease, it has been a long learning process to be healthy and strong. And not an easy one. When I was diagnosed with celiac 12 years ago and went on a gluten free diet, I thought I would see major improvements and that my body would feel better quickly. Following that diagnosis though, I had multiple stress fractures in my hips as I pursued my goals of running in college. I decided to take a hiatus from running in 2007 to allow my body to fully heal because I figured I was just in a vicious injury cycle I needed to escape from. My injuries healed and I felt stronger, but I wasn’t testing my body like I used to in competitive running.

I dabbled in triathlon for the next few years and thought I was staying healthy because I wasn’t getting injured. When I started to compete in triathlon more seriously in 2013, I fractured the 3rd metatarsal in my foot during a race at the end of the season. It was frustrating because even though it was my first injury since 2007, it was also the first time I had picked up my running volume and intensity to be able to perform at a higher level. I was determined to figure out what was going on more aggressively. I met with a couple of doctors, had blood work and a DEXA scan done. Nothing seemed abnormal. I met with my sports dietician, Sheila Leard of My Nutrition Zone, and had a micronutrient test done. This revealed a LOT of deficiencies that the other blood work did not, including my Vitamin D, which was completely bottomed out. It was interesting that the serum levels showed normal levels, but many of the intracellular levels were low. I worked hard to have a well-balanced diet with a lot of nutrient-dense foods, becoming aware of what foods contained the best form of the nutrients I needed. I took vitamin D drops since this was essential for my bone health, but didn’t take other supplements because I have always been wary of them. I continued to have more of the micronutrient tests done about every 6 months, working with Sheila along the way. Unfortunately I didn’t see drastic improvements from changing my diet. The Vitamin D came up, thanks to the drops.

We dug into this more, researching reasons why my levels might not be improving, and investigating different supplement companies. If I was going to start taking supplements, I needed them to be gluten free, free of anything that would be banned from competition, and in the right form for my body to best absorb. Sheila suggested Pure Encapsulations. I contacted them about what I was looking for and was reassured that I was good to take their supplements on all fronts! Changing my diet to incorporate a very balanced plan helped, but was proving to not be good enough. Even though I was gluten free and eating well, I was still deficient in many areas. And this was hindering not just my performances, but also my life. I started to see improvements by taking Pure Encapsulations supplements. They are clean and pure and I feel confident taking them. After trying the products and making sure they were good for me, I contacted Pure about setting up a partnership and am excited to be working with them as I continue my quest to be healthy and strong!

Lake Michigan