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Gluten Free Fitness

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Gluten Free Dieting

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GLUTEN FREE DIETING

We are at red alert because of the evils happening within us on a daily basis. This has led many of us to be ready for anything that poses a threat to our safety.  Sadly, because what is really killing us, albeit softly, is that which we not only readily embrace but earnestly seek after. You may have heard the phrase “digging your grave with your teeth”.  It sounds so clichéd and doesn’t make any kind of reference to it’s meaning so wait until you hear what the stats are saying.

Gluten is one of the latest bad guys in town with about 1% of Americans having celiac disease. The worst part is that only about 5-10% ever get diagnosed. This is, in part, because celiac disease has little or no symptom. Gluten is a form of protein majorly found in foods such as wheat, rye and barley. Some dieticians also strongly include oats in this category. Foods made from gluten grains will obviously also contain gluten. Gluten is common in our most staple foods, therefore; a gluten-free diet will be a major challenge for many of us.

Celiac disease is an abnormal immune response to gluten. The digestive system of a person suffering from celiac disease will not be able to use nutrients in food which often leads to diarrhea, bloating, gas, intestinal damage and in worst cases, death. It is necessary for a person with celiac disease to completely avoid foods containing gluten. But it is not only celiac people that should stick to a gluten-free diet; some people are also allergic to gluten and is referred to as gluten intolerance. While gluten intolerance is not as serious as celiac in that it doesn’t disrupt the immune system, it causes some digestive issues like the ones mentioned above and it is more common than celiac.

A gluten free diet is a complicated choice because most of our regular foods are gluten rich, however, attention to gluten intolerance is also increasing. As the need for a gluten free diet increases, there are increasing substitutes for gluten without the feeling of missing anything. To be totally gluten free, you have no choice than to read a lot of food labels and then plan your diet so as to exclude every trace of gluten from it. You may need the help of a dietician with this one and we are right here to help you achieve this feat.  To make up for all that lost protein, your dietician or other medical professional may suggest nutritional supplements and eating a lot of fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables to help your body function at optimal level.

You might experience some experts condemning the gluten-free craze.  Shocking… I know! But it is the smart choice for people with digestive issues that can not be explained, especially considering the fact that celiac doesn’t have prominent symptoms. Many people don’t ask for testing, nor do medical professionals order gluten testing, for diseases they don’t even show signs of. If you are suffering from symptoms that you can’t explain but you know something is not right with your body, it is better to be safe than sorry and find a way to get tested. Moreover, there are many foods, supplements and other food options out there that are more than capable of making up for our gluten break. So, eat safe, and choose a gluten free diet.

If you have any questions or comments on this, send them our way at http://glutenfreefitness.com/contact/

Live purely: I am a purely elizabeth Ambassador

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Purely Elizabeth Ambassador

That’s right, kids… I am a Purely Elizabeth Ambassador

Way back in 2009, the year I started GFF, I reviewed a muffin mix from a new company called purely elizabeth.  At that time, purely was brand new to the scene, the gluten free food “trend” was just starting to take off, and there were very few companies that were attempting to use whole grains that were gluten free and also had some sort of nutritional value.  It was all starches, all the time.  Elizabeth was doing something groundbreaking by offering better for you muffin and pancake mixes.  I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth at a gluten free expo here in South Florida in March of 2010.  She is truly a special lady with a huge heart.  She and I definitely have the “generally healthy eater with weakness for baked goods” thing in common too.

Fast forward to 2012, and purely elizabeth has grown immensely.  They have expanded their product offerings, and are now available in Whole Foods (!) but all the while have maintained the dedication to good taste, good ingredients, and good nutrition.

The products are certified gluten free and vegan, non-GMO, and the cookie mixes are certified organic.  The ingredients are all top notch, and ones I would use if I were baking from scratch.

It’s not just about the food, though.  Purely elizabeth also promotes living purely, which we all may define differently.  For me, it’s moving my body, fueling it well, resting adequately, and choosing the positive perspective whenever possible.  And living purely also incorporates some tasty, nutritious treats of chocolate chip cookies after a long bike ride.

Purely elizabeth is a company whose products and values align very well with my own.  I am honored and pleased to have been chosen as an ambassador.  

If you’ve not checked out purely elizabeth yet, go to their website and read about how awesome they are.  Then, go to Whole Foods (they’re on sale!) and get you some.  OR, you can always order online.

Aside from awesome baking mixes and granola, if you need some more info for generally eating a healthier gluten free menu, check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for lots of articles to get you started.

Getting out of your own way

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Getting Out of Your Own Way…

You Can Do Much More than You Think

(Thank you, Sean.  Post today inspired by a friend asking me a question this morning.)

As some of you may know, I’m back on the road bike.

“What a long, strange trip it’s been…”

Although I have been an active, athletic person most of my life (although a clumsy one, I cannot lie) I have certainly had my fair share of ups and downs, injuries and accidents, surgeries and setbacks.  I detailed a bit about them in this post, but in case you don’t feel like reading that here’s the Cliffs Notes:

  • Rode horses
  • Got hurt, had knee surgery
  • Rode bikes
  • Got hurt, had knee surgeries
  • Lifted weights and wore high heels
  • Got hurt, had more knee surgeries
  • Finally got cleared to ride the road bike again, started riding and having fun but not training too hard or much
  • Dislocated my elbow
  • Scheduled follow up MRI showed that the patches that have been surgically placed in my knees look good, but there is  a new area of damage in the right knee (this area appears stable at this time, and we are going to follow up MRI in 6 months and see what happens.  There is no good surgical solution for repair in this area which is the central tibial plateau of the right knee.  We also still have no clue why this damage keeps occurring.  There’s been no trauma, I do not have widespread arthritic changes in the knees, but pieces are cartilage just keep shearing off for no apparent reason.  Very frustrating.)
  • Decided what the hell.  The cartilage keeps disappearing anyway, I may as well see if I can train harder and get better.

This last point is the most important one

Prior to about the past 2 months (since I got cleared to ride again after my elbow dislocation) I always rode in very organized, controlled, paced groups.  It was fun, it was social, it was exercise.  But I wasn’t really pushing my limits or seeing what I could really do.  But, for the first time in my life, I was riding my bike without knee pain.  It was pretty amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I still have discomfort, but it was nothing like the debilitating can’t-get-up-from-the-couch-dammit pain I’d had in the past.

My husband and I talked about the whole situation, since I was incredibly disappointed to learn that there was more damage in my knee.  Thankfully, it is not causing any symptoms for me.  We decided that I may as well do what I wanted to do, train how I wanted to train on the bike, since what I was doing (being cautious) was obviously not helping.  Why not?  I really had nothing to lose.

And bless the Goddess, after 10 years that incredible man of mine still knows my abilities way better than I do.  I had preconceived notions of what I was capable of doing and how I was capable of riding.  He did not.  I’d never really tried to ride fast.  I just thought I couldn’t.

He didn’t hold that limitation to be self evident

There’s a fast ride around here, it’s referred to as “Mike’s ride” because back in the day there was actually a Mike’s Cyclery shop that it started from.  The shop’s no longer there, but the ride is, and it’s an infamously fast ride.  Never in a million years did I think I could do this ride.  And Jeff, knowing me so well, knew the best way to get me there was to trick me.

Had he said “Let’s go do the Mike’s ride” I would have said he was out of his ever loving mind.

So instead he said “Let’s ride to the ride” (where the ride starts from.)  Then it progressed to “let’s ride with them until they start going fast, they go slow for a long time”, then “let’s just ride up to Hillsboro.”  I did, and I made it with the group, and I rode fast, and I was shocked.  Basking in surprise and success, I quit while I was ahead, turned around and went home.  Positive reinforcement for the win!  Next time, I went a little further with the group, until shortly I was doing the whole ride.  Shocking.

But here’s the real kicker, the real turning point.  One Sunday not too long ago it was ungodly windy, as it is so often here in South Florida during the winter and spring.  We went to do the Taft ride, another infamously fast ride.  And it was windy.  If you’ve ridden a bike in the wind, you know that a windy day can make the difference between a lovely ride and a gut wrenching suffer fest.

This ride was hard.  Really hard.  It started hard and got harder, and then got even harder.  The group of riders, which had started huge, completely splintered apart in a crosswind across a highway.  We were riding so hard I literally thought I was going to have a heart attack, or that my lungs were going to come out through my nose.  Snot was running down my face, I was gasping for air, my heart rate was pegged well over 180), and I was suffering like a dog.  This whole time my husband is sitting out in the wind, working twice as hard as he could have been just to keep me as sheltered as possible from the wind.  That day, I didn’t finish with the first group (not many people did) but I rode in with a big group of people.  I finished.  I did it upright (until we stopped, at which point I promptly almost fell down and sat on a curb for a while.)

I learned that my capacity for suffering (which is a good thing in cycling, it means the ability to push beyond your comfort zone and stay there) was a lot higher than I had thought.  I learned that I could ride fast in bad conditions.  I learned that truly, the only thing holding me back from being a faster rider was my preconceived notions of what I could and couldn’t do.

And since then, my abilities have improved exponentially.  I finally got my mind out of the way of my body.  With no knee pain, and my head out of the way, I am riding more (time and mileage) and riding faster than I ever thought I could.

What could you do if you just got your mind out of the way?

No obstacles. Only challenges. 

If you’re here for the gluten free stuff, go check out Gluten Free and Fit 101.  Lots of stuff there.  And don’t let your head get too much in the way of what you can do.