Gluten Free Fitness

Achieve Optimal Health with the Proper Diet

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Achieve Optimal Health with the Proper Diet

Being healthy seems to be unbelievably complicated; there are ads everywhere and various experts giving different advice. However, achieving optimal health and losing weight faster does not need to be so complicated. People have been much healthier in the past, before all the dieting took hold of our society. The rules used in dieting from the past have not changed and can work for us. To achieve an optimal health and lose weight effectively these, all you need is to practice the following:

Eat real foods

The simplest and the best effective way to achieve optimum health are just to focus on the real foods.  What do I mean by real foods? These are the unprocessed foods that nature has made. Eat a combination of plants and animal foods; low carbohydrate vegetables (the ones that grow above ground), free-range meat, fish, fruits, eggs (mainly the whites), seeds, dairy products (limited or none if you have sensitivity), water, nuts, and healthy fats and oils.  Stay within your carbohydrate recommended range of 20-50g. If you are healthy, lean, gluten free fit and active, eating unrefined carbs can be okay. This includes legumes, sweet potatoes, potatoes and gluten free grains like brown rice, quinoa and oats. Strict gluten free food is important for people with in celiac disease so cutting out gluten foods means we are likely consuming fewer calories, naturally resulting in weight loss. However, if you are overweight or even obese, cutting out sugars and starches along with the above suggestions can lead to added weight loss.

Lift weights and move around

In order to maintain an ideal health, it is vital to be active and use your muscles. Exercise is essential for your body, heart, brain and hormones to function properly. Lifting weights 3-4 times a week and other activities like jogging, swimming, walking, or bike riding will lower your blood sugar levels, lower your triglycerides (lipids), raise testosterone hormones and improve cholesterol rating.  Exercising also helps in burning excess calories, thus losing weight. Remember, calories are fuel so if you burn more fuel than you consume, you will shed excess weight. Exercises are more efficient when combined with a healthy gluten free diet.

When performing exercises, be sure to incorporate all parts of the body.  This is not necessary every day but look at your routines throughout the week. When you concentrate on one part of the body for any length of time, you can feel bored or reach a plateau. You can train by listening to music or conversing with your workout partner during your training.  You can also exercise by taking the stairs rather than the elevator… it really is simple changes like that that help us. Pick an effective time of the day for your exercise and stick with it. You can do this!

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Avoid ingesting toxic substances in your body

There are various things in the environment that are toxic and some of these substances are addictive. Some of these substances include alcohol, cigarettes, and abusive drugs but could also be substances like high-fructose corn syrup. The best solution to this is to practice healthy and mindful dieting, with regular exercises. Start by reducing these substances and work your way to eliminating them all together.

Get adequate sleep

Sleep like a baby. I know, for some this isn’t so simple.  Sleep is paramount to optimum health, and studies show that lack of adequate sleep is associated with obesity and heart diseases. It is highly advisable to speak with your physician if you can’t sleep properly. Most common sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and others, are easily treatable. Here are some of the tips to have a good sleep.

  • Do not consume caffeine late in the night, prior to going to bed.
  • Have a set time of going to bed and waking up at each day.
  • Avoid artificial lights while sleeping, in other words, sleep in complete darkness
  • Dim the lights in your home few hours before bedtime.

Avoid Excess Stress

To achieve maximum weight loss, one also needs to be stress-free. Stress is a recipe for disaster and can put us in the mood to eat unnecessarily or skip our exercising because of the worry we feel. Stress affects healthy dieting, exercise, and quality sleep. Studies show that excess stress elevates cortisol (steroid hormone) levels. Cortisol suppresses the immune system, decreases bone formation, increases the craving for the junk foods, , contributes to depression, and allows fat in the abdominal areas.

There are simple activities that you can practice regularly to reduce stress, like yoga which entails deep breathing technique and meditation. If the levels of stress become too high, then consider seeing a medical professional

Cutting down sugars and refined carbs

suggestions to consider:

  • Added sugars, especially in processed foods, cause a lot of empty calories in the body and unhealthy blood glucose spikes
  • Avoid canned goods that contain added sugars
  • consume low sugar products
  • Eliminate soft drinks as there are the primary sources of hidden sugars (include energy drinks, coffee drinks, shakes, and sodas)
    • Cut these sugars from your diet slowly to give your body time to adjust
  • Switch to carbonated water with a splash juice or unsweetened iced tea or coffee
  • Avoid refined carbs such as white rice or pasta, white bread and instead, take whole grain products free from gluten

Choose healthy fats

suggestions to consider:

  • Consume unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, tofu, soy milk and fatty fish or adding tasty olive oil or rapeseed oil to your vegetables.  Make easier to take healthy foods and boost your overall diet quality.
  • Avoid saturated fats and trans fats from processed meats, fried and takeout foods, packaged meals, and snack foods
  • Fill up your diet with vegetables, fruits, and gluten free products
  • Take higher volumes of fiber foods
    • Fruits and vegetables- enjoy all the fruits strawberries, oranges, apples, berries, plums and nectarines) green veggies and leafy salads.
    • Beans-all kinds of beans chickpeas, split peas, black beans, chickpeas.
    • Whole grains-whole cereals, whole brown rice, quinoa and multi grain bread.

Benefit of Gluten Free Diet

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The Benefit Of Gluten Free Diet

Gluten, probably derived from one of its two proteins, glutenin, and prolamin, and being a synthesis of these two proteins, serves mostly as a binder to flour, allowing it to confer elasticity to bread and serving as “glue” so that products using it will not come off during cooking.  Gluten is a protein found in some cereals, such as wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten gives the products (like bread for example) a soft texture and gives them an elastic quality. It is therefore essential for the manufacture of bakery products. This protein is the only one present in food that is not fully digested. It is indigestible due to its odd composition of amino acids proline and glutamine.

This diet excluding wheat, barley, oats, and rye is not very simple to implement because it often involves changing well-anchored food habits. It is necessary to cook simply with natural foods (not industrially prepared) and to highlight what is allowed instead of reasoning in terms of forbidden food. Wheat flour contains not only all the bread and pastries but also many other prepared meals (as binders for sauces). Gluten is used as an additive in most processed products: soy sauce, ready-to-use industrial sauces, cold cuts or sweets.  To reduce or eliminate gluten from your diet, your choices must, therefore, be directed to raw foods (fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, etc.) that you cook yourself, to control its composition.

Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance

It is quite common that people have digestive and health problems by eating wheat or gluten. Present mainly in wheat, barley, and rye; intolerance can result in a number of different symptoms. The consumption of gluten can lead to an allergic-type reaction. The body will produce anarchic antibodies that gradually damage the intestinal mucosa. Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is a chronic inflammatory disease of the small intestine that causes a person to react after ingestion of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Digestive disorders, anemia, and chronic fatigue, as well as stunted growth in children,  are the major symptoms of gluten intolerance. But the signs are sometimes not very specific and discrete (abdominal pain, asthenia, joint or muscular pains, etc.); intolerance is then difficult to diagnose. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include gastrointestinal problems, joint pain, fatigue and depression, chronic diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, gas and bloating, weight loss, tiredness, and irritability, etc. For those who have difficulty digesting it (gluten intolerance or celiac disease), it is, therefore, essential to adopt gluten-free food, because the absorption of gluten causes significant digestive disorders.

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Gluten-Free Foods

Here are 100% gluten-free foods:

  • Fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, grapefruit, pears, and fresh vegetables, uncooked, bought raw.
  • Potato, sweet potato, yam do not contain gluten and are a good alternative to pasta.
  • Raw meat and fish are gluten-free, but beware of bread, sauce, marinated, etc., which usually contain them.
  • Basic dairy products are also safe: yogurt, white cheese, milk, traditional ripened cheeses (camembert, county, etc.). On the other hand, melted cheese spreads, and entremets often contains gluten.
  • Oil, butter, sugar, honey, and jam are devoid of gluten.

The Health Benefits Of Gluten-Free Diet

In addition to people with celiac disease, there are other medical conditions whose gluten-free diet is beneficial. These advantages include:

  • Whether athletic or not, individuals who suppress gluten often feel better and more physically fit. They are also more resistant to epidemic diseases.
  • A better digestion, and therefore a flatter belly
  • A significant reduction in digestive disorders (stomach pain, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea …)
  • A stronger immune system, more resistant against inflammations, migraines but also joint pain
  • A renewed energy and vitality, accompanied by a reduction in depressive states
  • Improved skin texture with a brighter complexion
  • A decrease in water retention
  • Weight loss (this is not systematic, but it is often the case)

Effects Of Gluten Diet

Why are so many people addicted to cereals and bread containing gluten? Beyond the addictive effect, our eating habits, our perception of food and our taste are perfectly conditioned since our youngest age. This is how we persist in the mistake of eating the same foods throughout our lives, without wondering if these foods are suitable for our digestive system. Gluten contains complex proteins that are difficult to digest because we do not have the enzymes necessary to break down these large molecules.

Our digestive tract does not have the proper enzymes to digest gluten. Consequently, our stomach must produce acids which can cause a digestive slowness, a significant inconvenience in sportsmen. Moreover, its consistency can block the movements of the intestine and cause bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Finally, gluten would affect performance by promoting the storage of glucose as fat.

Why Is Gluten Used In Processed Foods?

Manufacturers add as much gluten to processed foods (prepared meals, bread, etc.) only because gluten is known to increase our production of ghrelin (appetite stimulating hormone). Also, gluten like all other cereals acts by decreasing our resistance to leptin (hormone promoting satiety). The more you eat processed foods containing gluten (such as white meals), the more likely you will be to suffer from food complications and all the illnesses associated with it. Always focus on full cereals that will increase satiety, even if this type of food is not a sustainable alternative to promote full health.

Gluten-Free Diet Improves Fitness Performance

Digestion is a major energy consuming. This is why so many athletes seek to lighten their diet to keep optimal energy. Since gluten is very difficult to digest, there is no doubt that removing it completely from its diet amounts to saving a vital energy that can be reserved for physical exertion.  A gluten-free diet could increase metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, facilitate the use of glucose and thus improve the entry of nutrients into cells.

Today, the only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet but it is difficult to avoid any trace of wheat, barley, rye and other gluten food because these are hidden in virtually all foods, from beer to pastries. People allergic to wheat and those with gluten intolerance, whether you have been diagnosed or have not checked, are the individuals who will benefit dramatically from a gluten free diet. Try it for 30 days and see for yourself the difference it makes.

Take advantage of the benefit of a gluten free diet today and start enjoying a happier and healthier life.  You will find it to be easier than you think.  Follow us and learn.  Follow us and start feeling better.

Check out some great information from previous postings: http://glutenfreefitness.com/top-9-gluten-free-diet-benefits/ and http://glutenfreefitness.com/awesome-benefits-gluten-free-diet/

Gluten Free Tips for Healing after Injury

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Gluten Free Tips for Healing after Injury

If you are on the G-FF Facebook or GF-F Twitter, you may have heard me discuss injuries.  A few months back, I twisted my ankle and fell, giving myself a grade two ankle sprain.  I heard and felt the dreaded “pop” as I fell.  Luckily, I landed softly in the hedge.  Mind you, I wasn’t exercising or running, I just had too much going on in that minute and fell on my own sidewalk. I headed back inside, rinsed off my travel coffee mug, grabbed an ice pack, and off to work I went.

About a week or so later, I felt much better.  Swelling was minimal, range of motion is almost equal to the other side, and the feeling of instability is subsiding.  Not to mention my awkwardness still taking up space in my head.

I have learned through the years that it is preferable to let an injury heal properly and then return to activity.  Rushing it is not worth it.  Future injuries are much more likely if the original was not allowed to heal.  However, I am also an athlete, and so when injured get a bit cranky.

I have a friend that has been dealing with a stress fracture in her foot for several months now, and she is dealing phenomenally well with the change in her routine.  After the first round of anger, disappointment, and frustration, she is channeling her efforts in a new physical manner.  (I am very happy to report that she is able to do resistance training, on track to getting back to her endurance routine)

Talking about our recent injury experiences, I decided it was high time I wrote a few tips to help keep yourself sane, and speed along your healing when injured.

The 5 Physical Tips:

  • In an acute injury, RICE.

  • Rest-self explanatory
  • Ice-10-20 minutes at a time, make sure to have 1 layer of cloth between your skin and the ice/ice pack.
  • Compression-if needed and swelling is apparent, you can wrap the affected part with an elastic wrap. Don’t pull too tight, you don’t want to cut off your circulation.
  • Elevation-this is where you get your affected body part up above the level of your torso.  Think-prop your leg up on a bunch of pillow with the remote control or a book.  “Honey-can you get me some tea?  I have my leg elevated with ice on it.”
  • Gently move the affected part within a pain free range of motion as much and as often as possible.  Rule of thumb in general: is it hurts, don’t do it.
  • Be sure to maximize your nutrition.  Eat high quality, bang for caloric buck food. This is not the time to try to lose fat.  Do not restrict calories.  You need calories to help rebuild and repair.  Shoot to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight on a daily basis.  Stay well hydrated
  • Sleep.  Lots.
  • Consider supplementation. Ideally you are getting a ton of great nutrition from your food, but these are a few that I have found helpful.  They are not necessary by any stretch, but they may help.  Many athletes will take advantage of any edge to potentially get back to sport quicker.  Of course, please always check with your medical professional.  So, in no particular order:
  • L-glutamine-a conditionally essential amino acid.

L-Glutamine is especially interesting to celiacs, as it appears to be heavily absorbed in the gut and aid in gut health.  It’s been anecdotally used in the strength community for recovery for a long time, but the research does not back that up.  Research does show it is absorbed primarily in the gut-which for us is a good thing, as healthy gut=more nutrients absorbed=optimal healing.  I wrote about L-glutamine as a supplement for gut health here.

  • Probiotic, especially if your injury required antibiotics.  Antibiotics negatively impact the “good” gut flora, so you want to restore that.
  • Multivitamin, perhaps some extra Vitamin D, and a Calcium/ Magnesium combo to cover nutritional bases.
  • Proteolytic enzymes .  Similar to digestive enzymes, but specifically for systemic use for protein.  These act in a similar manner as a non steroidal anti-inflammatory like Advil, with less worry of side effects.
  • Good food. I know I said it already, but it really is that important.

         

The 5 Mental Tips

  • It’s OK to be mad and upset for a while. It’s completely normal to have an emotional response to injury.
  • Don’t stay mad.  Allow yourself to move through the stages of mourning.  Yes, it’s been determined that reaction to injury in an athlete is very similar to stages of grief as outlined in Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ book On Death and Dying.  Obviously there are differences as well.  However, the 5 stages are:
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

It’s OK to recognize, accept, and then move through each one of these phases.

  • Take charge of your return to wellness. Plan it out.  Give yourself control.  What CAN you do?  Focus on the activities you can do, and set goals for yourself based on those activities.  No negative connotations.  This is not bad, it’s just different.  Your injury may have been out of your control, but you can certainly control your path back to sport.  Make concrete plans and a blueprint for your recovery.
  • Be positive. This sounds silly, but visualize your return to doing what you love.  I also imagine a tiny little construction crew inside my body, repairing, spackling, repainting all the busted up bits.  Visualize sending healing light and the nutrients from your food to the injured area.  I know, it sounds trippy, but I’ve found it helpful.  Laugh if you wish, I completely understand.  Don’t get me wrong, you have to also take the appropriate action to make yourself well.  All the visualization in the world won’t make a bit of difference if you are passed out on the couch with an empty package of sugar laden gluten free donuts and a 5th of vodka.
  • Set yourself up for success. Be realistic when setting your time frames for progress and return to sport.  Guidelines given by your doctor, therapist or other health professional are given for a reason.  It truly does take time for healing to occur, and regardless of how much we maximize our healing, we can only speed it up so much.  To some extent, time must pass.

In a perfect world, we would never get injured.

Chances are good that at one point in your life, you will be forced to take a step back.  When that happens, arm yourself with these tips to keep your sanity, and the sanity of those around you.

If you’re new to G-FF, please make sure to check out Gluten Free and Fit 101.  Feedback has been awesome, and for that I thank you.

In the words of Helen Keller: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Share your injury tips in the comments!

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