Thursday, August 19, 2010


I'm not talking about "Atkins" or "Paleo" or any one of a hundred specialized diets - I'm talking about eating better. Having a better diet. This time around (I'm talking about specific Ironman training) I want to be leaner and lighter come race day, and I know I'm not going to get there simply by training hard. I've got to start eating better.

I was reading Slowtwitch (I know, right?) and was intrigued by a pro athlete talking about eating gluten free. Additionally he was championing probiotics in the form of specialized yogurts and supplements. Now I'm not one to just jump on a particular diet, so I'm researching this stuff.

Gluten Free is a diet generally brought on by folks who are allergic to gluten. Gluten is, essentially, paste - food glue - made by bleaching wheat, and is also made by barley and rye (nooooo, not barley!). Generally, folks diagnosed with Celiac disease go Gluten free. Since Celiac Desease is reported to effect only 1% of the population, even if 75% are undiagnosed, chances are I'm ok. So why go gluten free?

Well, Gluten foods are processed foods, plain and simple. Now I'm getting back to the Paleo diet principles; no processed foods. I'm sure more research needs to be done, but in the one article I read (yea, lazy, just one...) the test group used (200) had 25% of them showed adverse effects of gluten proteins in the intestines. Some studies have shown that 100% of test groups show anti-body response to gluten proteins in the digestive track - meaning what? Wheat Gluten probably causes damage at some level to our digestive track. Means what to me - I'll digest more nutrients and cause less damage by eating non-processed foods (wheat). Sounds kinda like a no brainer. A quick Google search of "positive effects of Gluten" found only article after article of the reasons to eliminate it from the diet. So I'll work on that, for sure!

I was gonna list out some foods that had Gluten, ones to avoid... but at this website, I see that a simple list is way too long! Very dissapointed to see that beer is on list. Fortunately, there are some Gluten Free beers - made from grains like sorghum, millet, rice or buckwheat - all "safe" grains. I don't know on this one - the whole point is to move from processed foods - and I'm not (at least I don't know it yet) Celiac diagnosed, so I guess I could drink a "normal" beer, right?

The other point to this new diet for me is the probiotics piece. Holy moly! A quick wiki search of probiotics shows me that the different types of these buggers is staggering! Looks like there are many benefits to having them in you, and unless I'm dying, no real detriment. The benefits, of course are specific to individual "brands" (strains) of microorganism, so what's a unhealthy eater like me to do? I've only seen ONE non-paid-for recommendation of a "general pro-biotic" supplement - Floragen 3 - so now really, I don't know. I get that the supplimet needs to be coated to make it to the intestines, past the stomach. I also get that probiotics are pretty specific in form and benefit. I just want it to be simple. I don't think, based on this reasoning, that yogurts or other non-coated supplements have much of a chance of making it to where it will do much good. But I could be wrong, no, I'm probably wrong!

So my next project will be to start looking at what I eat and getting rid of the processed foods. That's relatively easy to identify, not very easy to execute. This probiotic piece is gonna take some more looking into. Any of you have any ideas, recommendations, experiences? Thanks!


Unknown said...

I'm currently reading the newest Jillian Michaels book and one of the things she says a million times is "if it didn't have a mother or grow in the ground you shouldn't eat it." Makes good sense.
I've toyed with gluten free too but just can't get there in my head.

momo said...

this one is a landmine. :) i think going gluten free is a really difficult thing to do - and if gluten doesn't affect you negatively - then why cut it out? and believe me, you will know if it does.

one of the things my gi doc recommended was align. it is not cheap but it helps to replace the good bacteria in your system. the problem is, you have to be on it for at least a month to notice the difference. i've been taking it about three weeks and i truly believe its working.

remember, too, that what you are eating is fuel for the IM machine you're becoming. just like you wouldn't put crappy gas (or something like crisco for example... ) into your car's gas tank - it stands to reason that if you want your body to perform optimally, that you probably shouldn't be putting crisco or transfat or a whole lotta big macs into your engine either.

you'll get there, big guy! i think this is a struggle for everyone. and when you start training to level that a lot of us do - it becomes even more important - hence all the threads on slowtwitch!

greyhound said...

You ought to talk with Ryan Ironman Barrett. He's a big unit like you, but damn skinny and FAST.

Ben Greenfield also has a gold mine of nutritional info and recently wrote a book on race weight matters.

Tea said...

wow. ok then. You know I still think you're a sexy beast. But hey if you want to eat a little better, go for it!