Gluten Free Fitness

celiac disease

4 mistakes people make when going gluten-free

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4 mistakes people make when going gluten-free

Gluten-free foods have become commonplace in grocery stores, restaurants and cookbooks. For those who suffer from celiac disease, this is a huge win, because there are now so many options. And for those who feel extraordinary benefits from decreasing gluten because of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, inflammation or their own personal nutrition journey, living a gluten-free life is quite doable.

On the flip side, gluten-free living has become quite the trend. People are unnecessarily cutting out a lot of foods from their diet, spending a lot of money on other foods, living in extreme ways and potentially causing more harm than good. When deciding to follow a gluten-free diet, it is important to ask, “Why am I doing this?” and “What is the best way for me to live gluten-free based on my needs?”

Let’s discuss some of the common mistakes made by many who are eating gluten-free and assist in understanding why one would make this choice.

Mistake #1: Assuming a gluten-free diet is a healthier diet

Many folks go on a gluten-free diet because they think it’s healthier. They happily buy all the gluten-free products in the markets, thinking they are a healthier choice solely because they’re gluten-free. They’re thrilled with all the gluten-free cookies, cakes, treats, and sweets out there because they are shopping with one rule: “Buy gluten-free.”

Avoiding gluten is not necessarily a guarantee of improved health! Gluten is what makes food have great texture, bounce and fluffiness. Have you tasted some of the gluten-free breads out there? Not so fluffy. When food manufacturers remove the gluten, they usually have to add a lot of ingredients and fillers — all gluten-free, mind you — to make the food tasty.

If you think eating gluten-free is going to help you reach your health goals, go for it. But you’re going to have to add some other rules when grocery shopping. A gluten-free cookie is still a cookie, and if it’s filled with dozens of processed ingredients to improve texture, it might be unhealthier than a “normal” cookie. Take some time to decide what other rules you want to add to your plan so it will help you reach your goals. Also, take time to read the ingredients of all foods you buy. Are they in line with what you want to put in your body?

Mistake #2: Not paying attention to how your body feels

Many join the gluten-free world because of inflammation and energy issues. In health and wellness circles, gluten-free diets are often recommended for these reasons. People start eating gluten-free hoping it will fix their ailments, but they’re not considering the bigger picture. Often, there are a multitude of things involved with inflammation, and it requires some mindfulness and awareness to get wise to the true symptoms and triggers.

Often, people will go on a gluten-free diet and feel some relief, but is it because of the gluten or is it because they are suddenly not eating cookies every night? Or is it because they also started avoiding some other ingredients?

Are you truly feeling better? You may convince yourself that the gluten-free diet is making you feel better, but in fact you still have the symptoms of inflammation. Take some time to examine how your body feels. When you notice you are having symptoms — whether it be headaches, digestive issues, joint pain, a skin rash or inflammation — start monitoring when you have those symptoms and the degree of severity. If you pay attention, you can feel confident that the effort you are putting into improving your health is working.

Mistake #3: Conflating a gluten-free diet with a low-carb diet

Many people go gluten-free and are convinced it’s the best plan for them because they lose weight, gain energy and feel better. Was eliminating gluten truly the catalyst to improved health? Or was it cutting out a lot of sources of processed wheat, such as cookies, bread, crackers, cereal, pastries and more? A gluten-free diet and a low-carb diet are two very different things. I encourage you to understand why you are doing what you are doing and make decisions based on that. If you are trying to lose weight, going gluten-free may not be necessary, but avoiding processed carbohydrates and sweets as well as increasing your vegetables, proteins and plant fats may be the best choice. If you are going gluten-free simply to give yourself motivation to avoid all bread and cookies and crackers, that’s fine . . . as long as you don’t fall into Mistake #1, where you start buying gluten-free breads and cookies that may be calorically and nutritionally worse than the gluten-rich product. If you want to follow a low-carb diet, you do not have to go gluten-free. Again, ask yourself: Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Mistake #4: Confusing clean eating with gluten-free eating

I am a fan of clean eating. Many blame gluten for their inflammation issues. Yes, gluten could be the culprit, but it might be all the other processed ingredients. Some of you are cutting out gluten and not seeing results. If you focused on clean eating and decreasing all the added ingredients that are found in processed food, you might get the results you want.

It’s easy to jump on the latest fad. Instead, create a plan that makes you feel good. Read ingredients, pay attention to your body and be sure you are eating in line with your goals.

Berman is a registered dietitian, a personal trainer and owner of Jae Berman Nutrition.

Reference: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/4-mistakes-people-make-when-going-gluten-free/2017/02/01/dd718360-e400-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html?utm_term=.f7faf4c365d7

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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!