"When it’s not fun anymore, stop." That’s what I always say when people asked me if I am going to continue slalom kayak racing. I’ve taken some breaks, but it’s never stopped being fun. I’ve been on the National Team for 12 years, competed in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and raced in countless international competitions. I’m traveling four months out of the year for events, and then spending 40 hours a week in the off-season kayaking, running, lifting weights, and doing everything I can to get in better shape and sharpen my skills. My life is very active and a lot of work, but it’s always fun.
I’m 31 years old now, married with a dog and two cats. My partner Lauren was also a kayaker racer when we met and has been a vegetarian for 14 years. Many athletes rely heavily on meat to get their protein, and I was concerned that I would not be able to maintain my training load and my level of fitness without eating lots of it. But together Lauren and I began to change the way we thought about food. Instead of seeing it just as fuel that needed to be consumed, we started to be mindful of where our food came from. By thinking more carefully about what we were putting in our bodies, we realized that we could get the energy we needed for our active lifestyles without resorting to traditional and harmful eating practices.
As a kayaker, I have paddled on rivers all over the world and seen first-hand the effects of poor environmental policies, literally seeing it floating by in the forms of garbage, farm run-off, and pollution. Taking the time to think about what I eat, and making more environmentally friendly food choices is a small thing I can do to try to limit my impact on the earth. I love rivers and by consuming food that I know has been farmed responsibly can help keep those rivers clean for all to enjoy.
Lauren and I were so excited when we saw Primal Strips in our local co-op for the first time. With traveling so much it’s important to have high protein snacks that are easy to bring with me wherever I am, and Primal Strips are just that snack. I get fast protein on the go, with a great taste and zero guilt. It’s a snack I can feel good about eating.