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BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA—At just 16-years-old, Marcus Vlahovic of Baton Rouge, LA was already attending college and focusing on his career, when he got an unwelcome diagnosis just a few years later. After experiencing neurological and intestinal damage, a blood test confirmed he had celiac disease.
“My mom was diagnosed with celiac disease years ago, and being plagued with nutritional and health issues for a long time, I knew I had a fairly high chance of having it myself,” he stated.
If left untreated, the condition can damage the lining of the small intestine, preventing it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. Eager to reclaim his health, Marcus adopted a gluten-free diet—which he admits was very hard to do when the south, of course, is known for its delicious, fried foods. The Bayou State is certainly no exception.
“I had to swap over to tapioca and rice bread, corn pasta, and lots of fruits and vegetables,” Marcus stated. “However, even with the plethora of gluten-free items on the grocery store shelves, my diet was still lacking. The truth is a lot of gluten free foods are processed and full of sugar and empty calories in an effort to replicate old gluten fan-favorites and tastes from millions of childhoods.”
While processed foods are tasty and highly addictive, health experts say it can come at a price. Research has shown that processed foods can lead to chronic inflammation, brain fog as well as organ and bone destruction due to phosphate additives. They are also often loaded with pesticides, health experts say. For Marcus, even though he stuck to eating lots of fruits and vegetables every day, he found that he still wasn’t getting the essential nutrients his body needed.
“It wasn’t just bread that took away my frequented source of iron, manganese, and selenium – I found that I wasn’t getting hardly any nutrients that I needed,” stated Marcus. “Eventually, I created a list of everything I needed for every day, and I gawked at it. How was I supposed to remember to eat all of these foods, and would I want to eat the same foods every day? That’s un-American – in fact, that’s inhuman – I crave variety!”
Marcus tried finding apps that placed an emphasis on tracking nutrients—not just calories—but found none. That’s when he decided to create his own app. After a lot of hard work, design and effort, he launched Sustainabody in mid-February. The app makes nutrient tracking easy while providing ample food suggestions for individuals determined to reach their nutrient and weight loss goals.
“A lot of the weight loss apps today limit users to crunching numbers, counting carbs, and keeping tabs on their fat and protein. Anything else, if there is anything else, is hidden behind a pricey paywall,” stated Marcus. “We want good health to be accessible to all people, no matter what.”
Louisiana currently has the highest adult obesity rate in the country. Nationwide, more than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese. Sustainabody is on a mission to help change that. While many of today’s popular diet apps largely focus on calorie counting, Sustainabody goes well beyond that to help promote healthy living. It is the only diet tracker that records not only calories but detailed vitamin and mineral levels.
“With Sustainabody, I no longer have to constantly worry about what nutrients I may be lacking as a celiac – or as a human being!” explained Marcus. “The ease of being able to check my nutrient levels on my phone is such a tremendous help for me because there’s so much that I am at risk of being deficient in due to my dietary restrictions.”
From bodybuilders to vegetarians, the app has been well received by the public, and to further enhance the user’s experience, Marcus and his team at Sustainabody plan to release several updates this month. The updates include features from recipe creation to integrating new artificial intelligence functions.
“Ultimately, I hope that people around the world will be able to improve their nutrition and reach any health goal they have while enjoying good food. That’s the whole point of Sustainabody,” expressed Marcus.
Sustainabody was also recently accepted as an ALPHA Startup to present at Collision, a popular tech conference in New Orleans, in early May. The event has been dubbed “the best technology conference on the planet.”
To learn more about Sustainabody, click here. The app can be downloaded for FREE on iTunes. Users can also opt for an ad-free experience with Sustainabody Ad-Free for $1.99. The app will be available on Google Play in the near future.