Hi nomz Fam! My name is Lauren Lee-Crane and I’m the CEO and cofounder of Semaine Health. We aim to empower women, trans, and nonbinary people to live their lives to their fullest. Like Nomz we love to be part of everyone’s wellness journey, and we’ve started with supplements that address common pain points like PMS, hot flashes, UTIs, and hormonal imbalances. We are here for all the “TMI” topics and want to break the stigma around them!
I used to hate talking about periods and hormones because culturally we’ve all been taught to think of them as interruptive and embarrassing at best, and painful and debilitating at worse.
I now talk about periods, perimenopause, and period poops all day long! What changed?
I was diagnosed with endometriosis 10 years ago.
My Period and Endo Story
As a teenager I had horrifically painful and heavy periods. I thought that was normal because that’s what my primary care told me and my OBGyn: “Yup it sucks, but that’s just part of being a woman! Here’s some birth control!”
So for years, I just downed massive amounts of pain killers and forced myself to move through life in a lot of pain and with super tampon and two pads to back up my heavy flow.
The pain increased in my late 20s and one day I was rushed to the hospital because of a ruptured endometrioma (a benign tumor that you can get in stage III and IV endometriosis) on my left ovary. Because of complications of not diagnosing me sooner, I almost died in the hospital as the doctors debated whether it was appendicitis or not, and I went into septic shock.
After a second surgery to really excise all the endometriosis tissue in my body, I was still in a lot pain but I had learned that by dismissing pain (myself and my doctors), I had nearly died.
It was a wake up call.
Women (and trans and non-binary people) and especially Women of Color are often dismissed if they express pain or discomfort. We live in a dominant culture that sees female anatomy only for its reproductive capacities and has therefore so much ignorance when it comes to supporting women at every stage of life.
Too often, common pain points like PMS or mood swings or even hot flashes are normalized. Normalizing pain whether that’s depression, anxiety, physical pain, discomfort, etc. means that our quality of life is way worse for way longer than our male counterparts.
We might not die from a hot flash, but 10+ years of not sleeping well is detrimental to being fully realized in all our capacity.
Why I Started a Women’s Wellness Company
I knew my experience of feeling alone and struggling to find answers was not unique.
With my cofounders Matt and Cath (my husband and twin sister are my copilots!), we created a plant-based anti-inflammatory supplement for people with painful periods. I was beta tester number 1 and 5 years later it’s still my life saver every period!
But we knew period pain was just one taboo topic of so many that weren’t being addressed. We listened to our customers and heard how they felt ashamed by frequent UTIs or being constipated when they were PMSing or they felt so irritable as they hit their mid-40s.
In addition to formulating clinically-backed supplements, a huge part of our mission is to break the stigma around women’s health. We do that with education that feels empowering — basically sharing what we all should have learned in our 8th grade health class: how your body works and why it does what it does. AND what tools we have available to help us through different pain points.
The more we know, the more empower and prepared we will be to deal with challenges. And they feel much less monumental when we can tackle them together and realize we aren’t alone and what we experience is common — and should be addressed with empathy not dismissal.
Dealing With Stress
I think all of us know what it’s like to feel stressed at a job. Being CEO of a high-growth start up has it’s own unique challenges, but chronic stress can affect all of us.
Our modern lifestyles are stressful: work, socializing, coming out of a pandemic, our diets, our environment. Everything has an impact on our bodies.
For instance, after a stressful meeting where I’m pitching Semaine to a new set of VCs, I’m ravenous. My blood sugar crashes and if I don’t have something healthy nearby, I’ll eat the first whatever is easiest (which usually isn’t the healthiest). This is why nomz energy bites are the best! They are easy and super healthy. I know I won’t sugar crash from them like I do from the bag of chips or cookies I’d usually default too.
Being in tune with what my body needs, is key. I try to rest when I’m exhausted, eat healthier when I know a stressful time is coming up, and establish boundaries around work and play.
Owning my own company, I can’t always listen to my body the way I want to. There are days that I have to work harder and later than I have energy for or I have to “extrovert” when my natural inclination is to curl up with a good book. But I have learned to really optimize the times I rest and disconnect. I know they are as important as getting that email out to a retail partner or meeting with my team about a new product.
I also try to temper my expectations. Stress will be a part of my life and that’s okay, but stress can never run my life. And I know stress is at the helm when I make repeatedly poor decisions about my food (hello again, Doritos!) and feel apathetic toward everything (hello, burn out).
My health journey has also taught me how important it is to understand your body better and not shy away from topics we’ve been taught are taboo. You have an inner guidance system that is more powerful than you know and feeding it good foods (like nomz), giving it rest, and trusting it is life changing.
Learning to trust my body (emotionally and physically) has made starting Semaine a no brainer even though my background is design and not business, and I’ve never started a company before! I hope that inspires some of you to dig into your own power and help break the stigmas around our amazing bodies.
More on Nourishing Your Body
- 6 Ways to Break Free of Stress
- 5 Ingredients To Avoid In Packaged Snacks
- Are There Nutrient Gaps in Your Diet?
- 10 Reasons to Drink More Water
- 5 Simple Hacks to Optimize Blood Sugar