In 2012, Celiac.com reported 1.6 million people follow a gluten-free diet without a celiac diagnosis. Many non-celiac endurance athletes have begun to adopt this eating style either to control weight or to reduce inflammation. There are pros and cons to following a gluten-free diet if you are a non-celiac athlete.
Let’s look at the pros first.
1. Focuses on the “Whole”. Eliminating wheat, oats, barley and rye helps reduce processed food intake when done correctly. Although it’s important for endurance athletes to include adequate amounts of carbohydrate in their diets, consumption of gluten-filled grains is not required. Following a gluten-free diet can promote the consumption of more nutrient-dense, whole-food choices.
2. Reduces GI Distress and Inflammation. Gluten can trigger an inflammatory response in the body among both celiacs and non-celiacs. Tummy troubles and training-induced inflammation are prevalent among endurance athletes. For many athletes, elimination of gluten products improves both issues and, therefore, leads to a boost in performance.
3. Eliminates Intolerance Risk. There are varying degrees of gluten intolerance/sensitivity, and the Celiac Disease Foundation cites that one in three people are at least mildly gluten intolerant. They may have fewer side effects than a true celiac, but gluten protein still wreaks havoc on their bodies. Cutting gluten from the diet eliminates any health risks associated with gluten consumption among individuals who have sensitivities to the protein.
Now, let’s go to the cons.
1. Lack of Nutritional Value. While today’s grocery store shelves are lined with an array of gluten-free products, the problem is the flours used to manufacture these products often result in calorie-dense, nutrient-lacking final products. The most common wheat replacement ingredients include rice, corn, potato, cassava and soy. All of these flours are inferior in nutrient composition to whole-wheat flour. The gluten-free stamp on food does not guarantee high nutritional value.
2. Potential Weight Gain. Many gluten-free products are higher in calories than their gluten-containing counterparts due to the type of flours used. As a result, unwanted pounds can become a factor for athletes. For those opting to eat gluten-free in order to lose weight, this is a double whammy.
3. Expense. Oroweat whole-wheat bread costs $2 compared to Udi’s gluten-free bread at $6. These foods add up quickly, especially for endurance athletes on a tight budget.
Basically, athletes can benefit from gluten-free eating when the focus emphasizes high-quality, nutrient-dense whole food choices. If you’re purchasing a packaged gluten-free food product, carefully read the label. Choose whole-grain, gluten-free foods or those containing brown rice rather than white rice.
I think I mentioned a few posts ago that I was reading Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program. I am slowly making my way through the book (I’m just so tired at night that only a few pages get read at a time!). But I thought I’d share some of things the author Leslie McDevitt says that I find interesting and applicable to many people raising puppies.
In the preface of the book, I think she makes a very important point about raising future performance dogs in a balanced way. She says that many people think of only what the performance dog should know and have a time frame in mind of when the dog should know it by. These owners are paying more attention to their own needs or wants than to what the puppy is telling them about his personality. I like her quote, “The puppies tell us all the time with their behavior what the best training structure and the best timeline is in terms of our expectations for what they should be able to do. All we have to do is listen.” I couldn’t agree more!! Enjoy your puppy! Make a promise to yourself not to let your own interests and competitiveness affect your puppy’s growing and learning process or put any pressure on the relationship you are forming with your puppy.
On that note, here are some puppy pictures!! She is getting so big! I can’t believe she is 13 weeks old already!
Where is Envy?? There she is! She loves to hide under my bed!
And O.M.G. is my schedule packed over the next 43 days! I’m ridiculously excited about all of it, but I’ll be traveling like crazy and it starts this weekend!
Friday I leave for Door County, which is supposed to be an absolutely gorgeous part of Wisconsin, to ride the Century Ride! I know! That weekend is here already!! The summer has flown by! But I’m stoked!
My next trip is to Delaware to visit friends who I haven’t seen in eons! Okay…eons is a little bit of an overstatement, but it feels that way, so cut me some slack! And the weekend I visit is officially the first day of Autumn (my favorite season with some of my favorite people!) which is absolutely perfect as we will be watching football (go Hokies!) and attending Oktoberfest!
Next I am flying to Blacksburg for a weekend to go to a Hokie game and see another one of my best friends! When I graduated I said it was my goal to go back to one game a season! This will be season #2 of returning to Lane Stadium! And I think I have convinced some other friends to come down for the occasion as well 😉 Oh, and I made that cake myself for a tailgate one year!
Then a friend may possibly visit me the weekend after my trip to VA…hint hint, friend who I haven’t seen since who knows when! It’s been well over a year!
And after that is Indianapolis for CanAm (NAFA Nationals Flyball tournament) which is going to be 3 full days of Flyball with 7 rings running simultaneously! Only the craziest Flyball event ever! And I can’t be more excited about the team I’m going to be running with! (Callie has no idea how much fun she is in for! And Envy has no idea how many people are excited to meet her!!) AND this will be my second weekend in October seeing one of my besties!
My goodness! Cheers to a fun-filled but insanely packed next two months!!
But, don’t worry, I will continue working out and baking and cooking and blogging! Speaking of which, here are some of my recent workouts:
– Wednesday: 20 minutes hip strengthening + weights; 19.2 mile indoor ride; 1.25 mile walk
– Thursday: 20 minutes hip strengthening + weights; 17.0 mile indoor ride
– Friday: hip strengthening; 18.2 mile indoor ride; Insanity Class; 1.25 mile walk
– Saturday: 30 minutes hip strengthening + weights; 14.6 mile indoor ride; Flyball (yes, it counts)
– Sunday: 25 minutes hip strengthening + weights; 15.4 mile indoor ride; 1.25 mile walk
As of Week 13, I have ridden a total of 1,136.61 miles this summer! Craziness!!
But I have been eating a lot to make up for it, don’t worry! =) Funny story–I brought a space heater into my office because I’m always cold. Even in the summer. Fact of life. My coworker says it is just an indicator that I need to put on more body fat–haha! Well, in an effort to eat somewhat healthier I made this pasta over the weekend with ingredients I just had lying around the house. Let’s call it: Tomato and Onion Pasta with Whole Wheat Linguini. Enjoy!!
Tomato and Onion Pasta with Whole Wheat Linguini
– 1 tbsp EVOO
– Salt and pepper
– 1 onion finely chopped
– 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
– One 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
– Basil (dried also works!)
– 8 ounces whole wheat linguini
– Cook pasta until al dente.
– Heat the 1 tbsp EVOO and heat pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Stir in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Stir in basil. Keep warm over low heat.
– Mix the two together when both are finished cooking!