Gluten Free Fitness

Generation UCAN: Gluten Free Sports Supplement: Part 1

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Generation UCAN is a sports supplement company I recently was made aware of, and the more I’ve learned about their company philosophy, people who comprise the company, and products; the more I like them.  This is an introduction to them, and part one of a series because there is so much to share with you about the company, the product and the science behind it, and then my testing of it that it will require a few posts.  Plus I blabber.

First of all, you’ve got to love that name.  After all my talking about “do what you CAN do” of course I dig the statement that “Generation UCAN is an idea, a feeling, an attitude, a fresh perspective. We are a new generation with a ‘Today’s the Day’ mentality…We intend to empower minds and prove that “can’t” is a thing of the past. After that, we plan to host charitable fundraisers, tackle childhood obesity and stick a flag on Mars.”  Right?!?!

The main unique component in the products that UCAN makes at this point is called SuperStarch.

SuperStarch

It is a complex, slowly digesting form of a specially processed (non GMO) corn starch.  SuperStarch was formulated originally for one of the founders of the company’s son, Jonah, who was unable to process carbohydrate like most of us can.  He was requiring feedings every two hours, and his family wanted to find a way to make him less dependent on constant influxes of food.  Scientists were commissioned, and SuperStarch was formulated.

From UCAN’s website:

This complex carbohydrate provides a steady release of glucose, keeping blood-sugar levels (energy) steady much longer. This discovery is like gold for our athletes. But for Jonah, it just meant a chance to sleep through the night. It meant a chance to get out and play baseball or on the ice and play hockey in the cold Connecticut air with his parents watching proudly. It meant a chance to live.

So what does this mean to us?

Again from UCAN’s site:

Generation UCAN powered by SuperStarch puts the body in its ideal performance state, allowing for:

  • Optimized performance with energy when you need it, without the spike and crash.
  • Sustained energy with extended delivery of glucose, keeping you above baseline longer.
  • Enhanced fat burn from suppressed insulin response, tapping into your body’s fat stores.
  • Speedier recovery as your body begins rebuilding with our protein enhanced products.
  • No gastric distress, by emptying the slowly quickly and digesting slowly in the intestine.
Testing

I want to mention that Dr. Jeff Volek has been involved with the testing of SuperStarch, and if you have heard anything about Dr. Volek, you probably know that he is known as a low carb guy for sure.  The majority of his research and writings have been dealing with the benefits and usage of a low carbohydrate diet.  When UCAN wanted their product tested, they wanted a skeptic.  Someone who would truly test the product with no preconceptions of its efficacy.

They found that in Dr. Volek, and an independent double blinded study SuperStarch was found to be the carbohydrate that really doesn’t act like a carbohydrate.  It gives the beneficial aspects of carbohydrate on performance, but without an insulin spike that can be detrimental.  If you are interested in the sciency stuff, there is a lot of information on UCAN’s website that you can peruse.  It’s really interesting (if you are a nutritional science nerd like me, that is.)

Gluten free

Plus, UCAN’s products have been independently tested and found to be free from gluten.

They are also pursuing gluten free certification.  They currently have 2 main lines of products, an electrolyte/SuperStarch blend sports drink mix (primarily for endurance cardio events, like cycling/running/etc) and a recovery powder (a whey protein and SuperStarch blend, can be used prior to or after activity dependent on what you are doing.)  There are additional products in the pipeline which will be coming soon.

This information was all very cool for me to learn personally.  I have reactive hypoglycemia, which means when I ingest a large amount of carbohydrate, my blood sugar tanks (as in, goes too low) afterward.  My husband has the same issue, and we both experience it primarily related to exercise.  Fueling a long bike ride of greater than 2 hours can be a challenge.

Also, I have had issues with osmolality of common commercial sports drinks (basically my stomach gets upset because the liquid doesn’t digest properly, that whole pesky sodium/potassium/sugar balance thing.)

Osmolality.com describes it well:

When eating foods with high osmolality due to high electrolytes, amino acids and simple sugars, why do people suffer discomfort?  When nutrition of high osmoticity is ingested, large amounts of water will transfer to the stomach and intestines. Large amounts of water in the gastrointestinal tract can cause distention, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and shock.  The body tries to keep the osmoticity of the contents of the stomach and intestines at approximately the same level as that of the fluid surrounding them.  There is great variation from one individual to another in sensitivity to the osmoticity of foods.

Um, yeah.  So I’m sensitive. What of it?

The upshot of all this is that there were lots of reasons that Generation UCAN products appealed to me.

(Side note: If you are doing exercise lasting less than one hour, you do not need a “sports drink” of any kind.  Yes, nutrition before and after.  But let’s not go nuts and replace all the calories you’ve expended if you are trying to lose fat, mmmkay?)

Then, there’s the company attitude and philosophy.  If you check out their Facebook page, you’ll see all sorts of inspirational quotes and pictures.

Generation UCAN is an idea, a feeling, an attitude, a fresh perspective. We are a new generation with a ‘Today’s the Day’ mentality.

You can see why I identify with this company’s perspective.  It’s like I’m talking to myself 😉

If you are interested, I highly recommend you spend some time clicking around UCAN’s website.  It’s super user friendly and intuitive with a ton of information.

See, this is why I’m splitting this stuff up.  I’m over a thousand words already, for Pete’s sake!

As always, if you need more info on living a healthier Gluten Free and Fit life, there’s lots of resources on Gluten Free and Fit 101 that can help.  Have at it.

Step Away From the Resolutions: Make a Lifestyle Tweak Instead

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Step Away From the Resolutions: Make a Lifestyle Tweak Instead

Yup, it’s about that time again.

The time of year when drunken (or not) love is professed, lofty goals stated and unrealistic items wished for.

It may be a few years old, but my post on How to Avoid a New Year’s Resolution Fail still holds true.  Go ahead, go read it.  I’ll wait. Then come back.  I’ll be waiting.

Since that time, there is one more point that I think is truly crucial when it comes time to make a lifestyle tweak.  Or resolution.  Or goal.  whatever you call it, it’s really the same thing, right?

Make your goals, or resolution, or whatever…behavior/performance based, not just outcome based.

Now, what the heck do I mean by that?

Here’s some examples to show you what I mean, and this is one of my goals.

Outcome based goal: This year I will win my class in the Masters division in a local Figure competition.

Behavior/performance based goal: This year I will train and prepare as if I will compete in one Figure competition.  I will choose a date and comply with a nutrition, cardio, and resistance training plan in preparation.  Regardless or not if I actually choose to step on stage, I will reach that date in my best physical condition to date.

So what’s the difference?

In the first example, I cannot control who else is in my class, what condition they are in, the judging, the weather, or the alignment of the stars.  There are many factors that are not in my control that will affect if I can achieve that goal.  In the second example, each one of the items mentioned is strictly within my control (excepting any unforeseen injury, of course.)

Just for grins, here’s another personal example.

Outcome based goal: This year I will improve my time in a metric century (cycling terminology for 62 miles, 100 kilometers)

Performance/behavior based goal: This year I will follow a properly periodized cycling and resistance training program to increase my average speed and power on the bike

The difference between these 2 examples is that there may be a hellacious wind on the day of the metric, which is entirely possible here in south Florida and could absolutely affect the time it takes me to complete the distance.  That would certainly affect the outcome, but not the process I completed to get there, which is really the important part anyway.

Take care of the process, and achieving the goal take care of itself.  Without completing the processes and behaviors day in and day out, the goal(s) will never get achieved.  (Unless you find the goal fairy, in which case please give her my email.)

Also, as much as possible, make your behavior based goals these 5 things:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time Bound

I’m not sure if that’s what the person who came up with the SMART acronym had in mind, but that’s what I use it for.  So, instead of saying “I will drink more water” say “I will drink 3-4 liters of water daily.”  Or, instead of “I will exercise more” (let’s say your exercise is exactly nothing at the current time) you may not want to set a goal of hiking the Grand Canyon.  Maybe start with “I will walk around the block once after dinner every night, and by the end of the next month I will go around twice.”  See what I mean?

Don’t get caught up in the resolution hoopla.  Decide to make changes, whenever you feel as if you are ready to give yourself the kick in the rear you need.  ‘Cause really that’s the most important part, not the date on the calendar.

If you’d like to share your lifestyle tweaks, feel free! If you’d like some assistance in tweaking your tweak to make it SMART, leave it below and we’ll help out.

If part of your tweaking involves a healthier spin on your gluten free life, there’s lots of resources on Gluten Free and Fit 101 that can help.  Have at it.

Even with all that, Happy New Year!!