Gluten Free Fitness

Gluten Free Sports Supplements: Labrada Nutrition

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I contacted Labrada Nutrition to find out about their gluten free products. Now I will say that this means, in this context, that the products are not certified gluten free, but that there are no gluten containing ingredients, and that best manufacturing principles have been followed. This does not mean that dedicated equipment has been used. So-as I always say, get the facts, then make an informed decision for yourself.

Having said that, the representative I corresponded with were wonderful. Dave Ramirez answered all of my many questions, and provided me with products to review.

There are a few Labrada products that DO contain gluten. The ones that contain gluten are:

  • Lean Body Breakfast Shake
  • All bars (see, another reason to make homemade bars)
  • GlutaLean Plus
    (This was my decision to add this one. It contains glutamine peptides, which are derived from wheat. I have had adverse reactions in the past to these, so I added this product to the glutinous list. They also have a product which is GlutaLean (not Plus) which contains only L-glutamine, not glutamine peptides, and would be safe. I will be doing an article on glutamine soon, as it can have some gut-health benefits but seems to be a bit controversial.)

I received 3 products to review:

  • Carb Watchers Lean Body protein shake in Peanut Butter Chocolate
  • Elasti-Joint Joint Support Formula
  • Pro V-60 multipurpose protein blend in Chocolate Ice Cream
Carb Watchers Lean Body

This comes in premeasured packets, so it’s convenient to take with you if you’re on the run, or even leave a few in your car or in your purse “in case of emergency.”

Nutrition wise, one packet contains 250 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrate (4 of fiber), and 40 grams of protein. For me, I only used half a packet at at time. The protein source is a blend of whey and soy proteins. The fat comes from sunflower, MCT, and flaxseed oil. The carbohydrates from Fibersol Fiber, oat flour and rice bran.

Here’s a concern. There could have been cross-contamination there, in the ingredients before they even got to Labrada. I can tell you that I had no apparent adverse reaction-but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Sweetener is acesulfame potassium and sucralose, which I can handle OK in small doses. Really the only place I get sweeteners other than stevia is in my protein powders. Obvious allergens are soy and milk.

Taste-wise, it was very sweet. That’s OK for me, because generally I use protein powders to help satisfy my sweet tooth. For this flavor, the peanut butter was very subtle. The flavor was primarily chocolate. The texture was good, a little thicker than a straight up isolate due to the protein blend, carbs and fat added.

Overall, I have concerns about this truly being gluten free and would proceed with caution. I need to look into a device to test for gluten-isn’t that out there somewhere? However, setting that aside, this is a good general purpose use product that tastes good.

ElastiJoint Joint Support Formula

If you have read my About page, you know I’ve had multiple knee surgeries on both sides. (4 on the left and 2 on the right, to be exact.) I am always trying to find a good joint support formula.

I had read great reviews about this product, and was very excited to try it. I gave it 3 weeks of use. I also want to preface this by saying I have used glucosamine and chondroitin products in the past without benefit. I may be a non-responder, but I wanted to give this a shot because it did also contain MSM, Vitamin C and gelatin. Worth a whirl.

I am sorry to report that I did not notice a benefit. Again-this may be me, and others may find differently. The product contains 2000 mg of MSM, 5000 mg of gelatin, 1500 mg of glucosamine sulfate, and 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate. The glucosamine is derived from shellfish. This is also processed on equipment that also processes wheat, peanut, tree nut, sesame, and shellfish. Again-good manufacturing processes with cleaning equipment-but caveat emptor.

The taste was drinkable, it was fruit punch, and I would recommend not sipping it, just drink it.

Pro V60 Protein Blend-Chocolate Ice Cream

This is good stuff. It does not have added carbohydrate ot fat sources like the Carb Watchers Lean Body shake, just the tagalongs that occur in the proteins. It uses a 5 protein blend-whey protein concentrate, egg protein, calcium caseinate, and 2 types of filtered whey protein isolate. Allergens are milk, egg and soy (lecithin.) Sweeteners are acesulfame potassium and sucralose again.

Nutrition wise, 1 scoop contains 160 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrate, and 30 grams of protein. Due to the protein blend, this would be a more slowly digesting protein source as opposed to like a whey isolate.

I also findprotein blends tend to bake better, like to use in homemade protein bars. The taste of this protein is phenomenal-even my incredibly picky fiance likes it. It has a nice consistency, is again pretty sweet, and has a rich flavor. Last night I mixed it with enough water to make a brownie batter consistency and nuked it for 40 seconds. Voila-protein brownie. Great way to curb the sweet tooth and keep it healthy.

Overall, Labrada was very helpful and responded quickly to my questions, so thank you very much.

For more information on Labrada products, please visit them at their website

Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Go forth and have a healthy day!

Calorie Intake and You: Calories Do Count – Part 2

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In Part 1 I talked about how important movement, any movement, is in overally daily caloric expenditure. (Now everyone-get up, walk around the house, and come back. Seriously. Or prop up your computer and stand, that’ll work.)

(You guys are going to think I’m lying, but I seriously got up and took the dog for a 15 minute walk and came back.)

Another option-and this thing I totally love, can’t believe I didn’t come up with myself and get a lot of reading done on-is the SurfShelf. It rocks. And then today I found Hulu. I may never watch TV on the couch again. But now I’m WAY off topic, and it’s only the beginning of the article. Yeesh.)

Back on it…

Calorie intake and you

In this “episode”, we’re going to touch on the importance calories you take in the food (or franken-food, or whatever you like) that you eat. Something that people tend to forget is that EVERYTHING counts. The cream in your coffee, the scraps when you clean up dinner, the extra spoonful of rice-it all counts. And it can all add up. To the tune of several hundred calories or more.

There has been a good bit of scientific research on this, and the people that “eat hardly anything and still can’t lose weight.” I will preface this with saying there are some medical conditions, medications, and issues that can make it very difficult for some individuals to lose weight. But that is a TINY percentage of the overall. And frankly-this is one area where you really don’t want to be a unique snowflake. That’s a whole ‘nother medical can of worms.

More than likely, it is an issue of eating more than you think you are.


I am going to give you a bit of research that backs up what I am saying. I will tell you, don’t blindly trust what anyone has to say about research though, not even me. Go to the source, and read the paper. Research can and often is, skewed to meet whatever result is desired. So once again-get educated and make an informed decision. (My friend Leigh Peele has a section on deciphering research in her Body By Eats, and a nice overview is also presented by the Guttmacher Institute here.) And if you are really a science nerd like me, you might want to check out Alan Aragon’s Research Review.

The paper by Lichtman et al in N Engl J Med. 1992 Dec 31;327(27):1893-8, indicated in their conclusion that:

The failure of some obese subjects to lose weight while eating a diet they report as low in calories is due to an energy intake substantially higher than reported and an overestimation of physical activity, not to an abnormality in thermogenesis.

Underreported food intake at an average of 47%!! And they are not by any stretch implying that this underreporting was done intentionally. Physical activity was overreported at an average of 51%. That’s a huge, ginormous difference between perception and reality. Another study by Asbeck et al showed underreporting in normal weight subjects. It happens. The key is actually KNOWING what you are eating, not just guessing.

Measuring vs. weighing

Some people like to measure their food with cups and spoons. While that is totally fine, and works for some, if you are trying to lose fat and feel like you are stuck, or you don’t know why you’re not losing-you may be eating more than you think. Check out the video (put together by Leigh Peele)

You can see that weighing is much more accurate. And it’s really no more difficult than measuring, in fact I think it’s easier. Get a decent digital scale and you’re good to go, you don’t have to mess with different sizes of measuring devices. Set whatever you want to put the food in on the scale, tare it back to zero and off you go. Easy-peasy.

I can guarantee you will be surprised. There are countless stories of dieters who have been frustrated to tears or homicidal tendencies, and when they began weighing and calculating their food so they were actually eating the calories they THOUGHT they were-the weight came off. If there is a magic bullet at all to the fat loss game, it’s that. Know what you’re eating.

Putting it together

Then of course, put it together so you can see what your intake is on a daily basis. I’ve been using Fitday PC for years, I like it, I have all my custom foods there, it’s easy to repeat foods if you tend to eat something often with the favorites feature-it works well-it’s familiar. I’ve tried a few others, but didn’t like them as much.

It is important to be able to log your food in weight measures like grams and ounces, not just cups or servings. So look for that.

A few that people use are Sparkpeople, The Daily Plate, Calorie King, Diet Controller, Nutridiary, a personal Excel spreadsheet, or a notebook. Whatever. NutritionData is great for getting nutritional info as well, not a tracker. Some of these are paid, some free-so it’s up to you. Fitday PC (the download version) gets a lot of positive feedback from what I have read/heard-and obviously it’s what I use. I understand that Nutridiary allows you to track in weight, so that may be a good free option.

When you get a good handle of how much energy you are taking in, and how much you are putting out (see Part 1 for details) then you can begin to make adjustments if you want/need to.

Oversimplified-if you want to lose weight and you are not-eat less and move more. If you’re happy where you’re at keep doing it! If you want to gain, eat more.

Of course, quality of food does matter. Absolutely it does. However, you can’t beat thermodynamics.

Let me know how you make out! If you use a different method of tracking, or if you use one of the methods I mentioned above and you like or hate it-speak up. I love hearing from you all!

Nutrient deficiencies in the gluten free diet: Research review by Peter Bronski

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As we all have heard, having celiac disease can cause some problems with absorbing key nutrients from foods. I wrote a post on it which you can find here. Adding to this problem is the fact that many engineered-to-be gluten free foods are highly processed, which can lower the nutritional value. (Nutritional bang for your caloric buck.)

Peter Bronksi (who was a featured gluten free athlete-you can read his profile here has written a great 2 part blog post which reviews a report that was published on celiac individuals and the lack of nutrients in processed gluten free foods. He brings up some very good points. All in all-I recommend you take the time to read the information and as always, make an independent informed decision. But-I have to say it-whole, naturally gluten free foods for the win!

To read Peter’s posts, click on the parts below:

You can also check out Peter’s cookbook: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking

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