Talking to showbiz reporter Richard Arnold after it was announced that she was taking part in the ITV skating show Stef said: “It’s a little scary.” For Stef, who lost her lower right leg and foot at the age of 15, the task is going to be much greater. But the athlete is more than up for the challenge saying she “cannot wait”. Having already begun training for the skating show, Stef had to make sure that she was keeping her athletic physique.
Like many athletes the lockdown proved tough and training was extremely difficult to stick to, but Stef is a woman of many talents, having been an actress, model, athlete, academic and now a keen baker.
Talking to Express.co.uk she revealed how she coped when the world went into lockdown.
Stef said: “I just accepted, ‘you know what, I’m just going to enjoy this, I accept I’m going to put on three or four kilos, and I’ll lose it later.’
“I know this is a pretty big statement, but I do in fact make the world’s best oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. Really I just tried everything. I nailed sourdough, I was pretty proud of that.”
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Being stuck at home with fellow athlete and wheelchair racer husband Brent Lakatos, Stef was able to reflect on her career and what the future may look like.
She said: “If Covid has taught us anything it’s that guarantees don’t exist. We don’t know what the world is going to look like now each week, or month to month.
“I know I’m coming to the end of my professional career. I’ve had an amazing time.
“I’m 36 and I’m so thrilled my body is allowing me to keep doing what I love. I’d be doing it in my 60s if I had my way.”
In order to make sure that she keeps on top form Stef takes interest in her gut health.
Gut health describes the function and balance of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Ideally, organs such as the esophagus, stomach and intestines all work together to allow us to eat and digest food without discomfort, but sometimes this is not the case.
Gut health is incredibly complex and is of great interest to researchers. Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.
The term “gut microbiome” refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines. A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.
“The gut microbiome is the most important scientific discovery for human healthcare in recent decades,” James Kinross, a microbiome scientist and surgeon at Imperial College London told The Guardian.
“We discovered it – or rediscovered it – in the age of genetic sequencing less than 15 years ago. The only organ which is bigger is the liver.We don’t really know how it works.”
Due to the crucial role it plays, it is vital to understand the signs that your gut might be unhealthy.
Healthline provides the seven signs that point an unhealthy gut:
- Upset stomach
- A high-sugar diet
- Unintentional weight changes
- Sleep disturbances and constant fatigue
- Skin irritation
- Autoimmune conditions
- Food intolerances.
For Stef, gut health is something she takes seriously. And in order to maintain her personal gut health and peak performance she uses a water-based food supplement.
Both her and husband Brent use Symprove – a product that contains four unique strains of live and active bacteria and works to colonise the gut and work in tandem with present bacteria.