Some of you may have already heard the supernature story and know that all our chocolate snacks started off as experiments in our kitchen, with my mom mixing and matching different recipes to try to come up with some healthy and tasty alternatives for us to have. Well, that’s pretty much the summary on the back of the book and today I thought it might be fun to share a little more details from under the cover… Don’t worry I won’t give you the full novel ;)
For those of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Laura and I am the daughter of Noele and Brendan- the founders of supernature. As a kid for as long as I can remember, I suffered with pretty bad eczema. Eczema causes your skin to go red and itchy and can be caused by numerous things. I think the main irritants for me were pretty standard: most detergents and soaps, chlorine, weather changes, wetsuits and, of course, that good old vicious cycle of stress… you get stressed, your eczema flares, your eczema makes you more stressed, your eczema feeds off said stress and gets worse- I think you get the picture. There were periods where the itch drove me pretty nuts (peak itch was met with an antihistamine injection in my right bum cheek), but all and all it’s mainly just the fact that at 13 years of age you kind of have enough to be dealing with aside from wondering what people think about this red rash working its way up your arms and legs😅.
So you have this rash that is just a bit of a nuisance really, what do you do about it? Well, we did the rounds, everyone seemed to have something they could recommend and we tried all of the lotions and potions. After we had been experimenting with creams for a while and nothing seemed to be working, my mom finally decided it was time to book the dermatologist the day I came home from school saying “mom nobody wants to hug me, they think I’m contagious”. So next I went to dermatologists who prescribed me more creams and told me my eczema was purely to do with external factors and that food wasn’t related. Given my mom had trained as a health coach by this point she had learnt a lot about the importance of what you were putting into your body and struggled to accept that the food I ate wasn’t influencing my skin. Hence, when the doctors’ only answer was to prescribe cortisone creams we figured it was time to start looking at some more alternative routes.
Side note: Cortisone has some pretty nasty side effects and definitely not something you want to be using for the rest of your life.
Anyway, long story short, through my mom’s research and recommendations from friends, I eventually ended up with a kinesiologist who believed that food had to play a factor because as the old saying goes “we are what we eat” and if I’m eating certain foods then that’s what’s involved in making my cells and that’s what’s involved in causing this reaction. He felt my eczema was essentially my body not being able to deal properly with getting rid of the bad stuff and so told me to make certain, specific but not very radical changes to my diet. Unsurprisingly, the recommendation I struggled with the most was…. “cut down on sugar”. You see, I don’t know about you guys, but telling 13-year-old (and often 20-year-old) me to “cut down” on sugar, meant I made basically no change whatsoever and probably just thought about eating sugar even more than usual. I still remember the kinesiologist telling me I would need to reduce it and my mom saying to me “Laura you do realise that means having a sweet thing a couple times a week not every day, right?”😂… Yeah, radical change was required.
And sure enough, upon my return the next session the kinesiologist was clearly a lot more optimistic about my willpower. I got a bit of a shock when he sat me down and told me I needed to not only cut out processed sugar ENTIRELY, but to cut out all wheat and cow dairy on top of that! I mean I was struggling to REDUCE my sugar intake, and now he was telling me to cut out all three! In the end, the funny thing was, cutting it out completely was nearly easier than cutting down, because as we know, sugar is pretty addictive, so if you’re not eating it, you’re not craving it. But naturally, even though I wasn’t craving it as much, as any of you with diet restrictions will know, going to someone’s house or a restaurant when you’re trying to avoid dairy, wheat and processed sugar, pretty much labels you the fussiest eater on the planet. I remember being completely fine with just eating before I went out, or leaving a few things off my plate, or just being a bit more relaxed with the diet if I was visiting someone, but it was more the feeling of not wanting the people hosting to me to feel bad for not having something I could eat. Hence…. Cue the whole reason I am telling you this story…. SUPERNATURE WAS BORN!... Well, the very beginning traces anyway. Mom realised I was feeling a bit awkward going to sleepovers and parties where I couldn’t eat any of the snacks or treats and would start making some alternative ones for me to bring. When I had people over she would try to make a mainstream dessert option as well as a healthy alternative. The wonderful thing was, because they were so tasty, most of my friends would ask for her homemade treats instead of the sugar option, which was not only pretty big praise for my mom’s cooking, but also pretty fab for me because the sugar-, gluten- and dairy-free option became the norm- suddenly I wasn’t the kid with the awkward diet anymore. And that’s why one of my parents’ key goals with supernature was to create something for the people like me out there who had specific dietary restrictions, so rather than bringing our own treats and snacks everywhere, we could go into a store and buy something like everyone else. I think that approach is what makes me so proud of them when it comes to supernature because it really is a passion project. They didn’t see why people should have to choose between eating something healthy and eating something tasty and convenient. Whether it’s because you have diet restrictions or simply value putting natural food in your body, why should it be so hard, why not let the healthy alternative be the norm?
Anyway, sorry the pitch just starts to flow out of me I can’t help it. Where were we? Ah, yes, rambling away about my life… So after a year of sticking as strictly as I could to the diet, I eased off a little bit. I’d detoxed my body and my eczema had seriously improved. I still got the odd flare up, hey, I still do now, but a “flare up” now means a little patch of eczema for a little while. It’s manageable, I know if I have a crazy unhealthy week or two, paired with maybe a change of weather, I might see some signs, and then I know to take a step back and make some changes to my diet. But now with supernature its so much easier to steer clear of processed sugar because for me they really are the perfect natural alternative- just as convenient and just as tasty.
The final bit about me, and a pretty recent addition to my schedule, is writing these blogs and our newsletters and helping to look after our social media pages. I’ve come to realise that I am a bit of a rambler… you may have realised this also. So I am delighted to have a place to share my ramble with all of you, and I will continue to ramble about anything health, fitness, or anything else I think of whilst there’s still people who fancy reading it. I’m definitely no expert but all I can do is share my experience, and if anyone reading this is suffering with eczema or similar conditions, I hope it's nice to know that you're not alone and maybe having a play with your diet could help you too!