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!