Gluten free diet update

For those who follow me on twitter or read this blog know that I am experimenting with a gluten free diet.  I am 16 days in and it’s going well.  The thing I was worried most about is how I would manage this diet with my massive sweet tooth.  Well, there is an amazing wheat free bakery in Evanston called, Rose’s Wheat Free Bakery.  I bought bread and some cookies, and a brownie, from there a few weeks ago and while it was a bit more expensive than another bakery the price was well worth it because the bread and sweets were amazing.  The good thing is Whole Foods and most grocery stores now have a good selection of gluten free products or mixes.  I made some gluten free chocolate chip cookies a few days ago and, well all the cookies are gone, haha.  Yes, I have a problem with sweets!

The main question I get when saying I am on a gluten free diet is “why?”.  The main reason I decided to try it was to test my self control, but also because I have heard many stories of people feeling better after taking gluten out of their diet.  Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley and it usually does not fully digest because it is a “foreign” substance.  And that undigested junk in your GI tract can cause gas, bloating and other not so nice issues.  A big reason many endurance athletes are going gluten free is because gluten can mess with the body’s insulin levels because the gluten is converted into sugar.  The GI tract issues have not been a big issue for me but once the GI tract is stressed these issues can come about.  Most people who are not gluten sensitive might not feel the benefits of a gluten free diet but those of us who are crazy enough to compete in long distance events could feel the effects because fueling for those events causes massive stress on the body and the GI tract.

I have also read that a gluten free diet can help with attention issues as well as stress.  I tried to find some research to back this up but my laziness caused me to not look that hard but I probably should.  Maybe that will be something I do over my Thanksgiving break and check back in.

One thing I have noticed is with this diet I am eating better when eating at restaurants.  This is mainly because I cannot eat a whole pizza, or a big ass burger like I used to.  I usually have to go with a salad, which I don’t mind, or get something and not have the bread.  This is probably a good thing because bread, pasta, and other of those carbs are very high in calories and low in nutritional value.

Welp, that’s my 2 week update.  Hopefully I can keep it going through Thanksgiving because I have read it takes around 2-6 months to get all the gluten out of you body.  But we shall see!  (I am not a dietician, nutritionist, or doctor so if I have mistyped or said something false please point me in the right direction because I do not want to come across that I know it all!)

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5 thoughts on “Gluten free diet update

  1. Hello! I stumbled across your site after reading your post on Slowtwitch about IM Texas… I’m from Chicago as well and seriously considering taking on my first IM, which would be TX. How did you train during the Chi winter? How many hours/wk did you devote during your training?

    Good luck w the gluten-free thing! I’ve been eliminating gluten from my diet as well and I’ve noticed the benefits. One word of caution on gluten-free products, even at Whole Foods: they’re often filled with chemicals, sugars, and preservatives to make up for the gluten. Making your own stuff works good, I’ve got some easy recipes using coconut or almond flour if you’re interested.

    Take it easy this off season and best wishes in all your future races!

    • I really enjoyed Texas but luckily we had a mild winter last year. For the most part I did all of my longer cycling outside but I had to split a few rides inside/outside because of the cold or weather. I did all of my running outside no matter what, just because I don’t get that cold when running and I am not a huge treadmill fan. I would say I averaged 14-16 hours of training a week with a few peak weeks at like 18-19 hours of pure training, not including drives to the pool and what not. But it can be done with much less training of course but my goals were pretty high and I am not sure what your goals are for Texas.

      Thanks for the heads up with the GF stuff! I have not really been replacing my breads/pastas etc. with GF food, I have kind of eliminated them as of now which has worked so far. I found rice cakes which are my go to snack now and Chex cereal is GF which is nice. But I might have to take you up on the recipe offer because I know during big training I will be craving plenty of PB&J sandwiches!

      • That all sounds good about IMTX. Glad to know other Chicagoans survived the race, esp since May doesn’t allow for a lot of outdoor long rides. My goal is to finish injury-free (ideally under 16 hours but I’ll certainly take a hair under midnight lol). I should just sign up and commit myself, but it seems like such a crazy thing to do!

        Eliminating gluten is the best thing to do nutrition-wise. PB&J…. mmmm 🙂 I’ve got a good PB&J-esque pancake recipe with coconut/almond flour and I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free breads that don’t taste awful. Sweet potatoes & winter squash are all good too. When are you gearing up your training? I’ll probably seriously start after the new year, assuming I actually register for IMTX… but we can certainly share recipes!

  2. I say go for it! You can for sure do it. I just made sure when the weather got nicer to always wear layers no matter what to attempt to heat acclimate. I have found a few breads that are good, Udi’s but not sure how much extra crap is in there, and there is a wheat free bakery near me that is really good. Kind of expensive but good. I have been eating a lo of sweet potatoes because they are amazing as well.

    Just sign up and go for it! I just did training when I wanted when I wanted before January. I am not really training for much as of now, still trying to nail down my season goals and schedule but probably focus on Oly and 70.3 races this season. I would love the pancake recipe for sure. And do you use a bread maker for your breads? But feel free to shoot me an email at jhrielley@att.net with recipes and any other questions about the race or training.

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