Gluten Free Fitness

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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!

Beachbody - Stream Beachbody

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.

Gluten Free Lectin Free

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Gluten Free Lectin Free

I read too much.  I study this stuff too much, I listen to every bit of information I can find on celiac disease, gluten intolerance, nutrition, exercise, and all of it. Sometimes I think my head may explode.  One thing I am unflinching on is my right and ability to change my mind.  I have ideas and positions on things, but if I learn something that makes me change my mind, I will.  I reserve my right to flip-flop should the evidence point me in that direction.  I reserve the right to be wrong, and to change my position. And so do you.

There are always new ideas being explored, new bits of information being discovered, and with each one of those things there are individuals that put their own spin on them. Let the confusion commence. Wouldn’t you agree?  I am sure you have experienced the same… right?

Isn’t it confusing enough without the news outlets adding to and feeding on the confusion? For every hypothesis or idea that is put forth, there is almost certainly a bit of research somewhere that can support it.  Almost as certainly, there is also a bit of research that will refute it.

It’s all about the spin.

I’m not implying a huge conspiracy theory, but I am saying that data can be twisted and skewed to support almost anything.  It doesn’t always happen, but it can.  Simply keep your eyes open and take in all of the information, then make your own informed decision.

One of the confusing issues I’ve been learning more about lately is lectins.  More specifically, the role of lectins in autoimmune disorders, specifically celiac disease as the focus of discussion on this site. There is some evidence that it could be beneficial for those with autoimmune disorders to avoid all lectins.  Lectins may be implicated in dysfunction with the hormones that make us feel full.  There are some who feel very strongly that the evidence points in this direction, and there are others who think it’s a load of hooey.

What are lectins?

Lectins are proteins that bind to carbohydrates or glycoproteins (proteins that contain carbohydrate chains). These proteins termed lectins (from the Latin legere, “to select”) have the ability to bind to specific carbohydrate molecules. Lectins allow cells to bind or communicate with each other and are found in every living organism, including viruses and bacteria, with most of them being harmless. This stems from research as far back as the 1880’s.

So I continue to learn in an attempt to make an informed decision.

This particular branch of my own personal nutritional education came from some of the research I was doing when I posted the original “Paleo Diet for Celiac Disease” post.  Lectins are in many carbohydrate sources, both gluten and non gluten containing.  They are generally found in tubers, grains, and legumes.  The argument is that lectins can cause or exacerbate autoimmune disorders (and possibly contribute to leptin resistance, which deals with weight regulation.)  This paper was fairly neutral on the subject, but did raise the idea that lectins could affect the intestinal flora (gut bacteria,) which as we’ve learned recently could have a significant impact on celiac disease and gluten intolerance, along with other gut disorders.

It’s really interesting stuff and as far as I’m concerned, it needs more study. If you find additional information, please feel free to school me. Am I going to give up my rice?  Not yet, although I am reserving my right to flip flop.

I was in the car, listening to a podcast with Matt Stone of 180 Degree Health.  I dig Matt’s perspective because he is always learning and questioning things.  He said one thing that really hit home; the discussion was about the Paleo way of eating, and the thing that Matt said that struck me so strongly was this:  (paraphrasing as I didn’t pull over)

They’re focusing on the wrong bad guy.  Instead of worrying so much about Neolithic foods, we should be more concerned about the food that has come about in the 20th century.

Well yes! Now that makes sense. It’s less about the corn, and more about the Corn Pops. I’m all for maximizing our nutrition, for making it healthy and tasty and awesome.  But maybe it’s just baby steps we need to take for now.  It’s not Paleo, or Atkins, or South Beach, or calling Jenny today. Just eat real food as it is produced from mother nature.

Where to start

Eat real food?  Yes… eat real food grown naturally and eaten naturally.  Food that will rot if it’s left too long, that doesn’t necessarily come in a package with all of the preservatives. This is what I’ve said all along, but sometimes it’s easy to start getting caught up in the minutiae of lectins.

It’s easy to start looking at the differences in eating methods and approaches to food, but it’s much more effective to look at the similarities, and incorporate those into your life. There will always be differences, but focus on the commonalities.

The biggest one-eat real food.  Eat naturally gluten free real food.  Meats, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, dairy (if you can tolerate it) nuts/seeds, oils, nut butters, rice, potato, etc.  There is a BOUNTY of naturally gluten free foods.  Here’s my top 5 favorite gluten free carbohydrates sources too.  (yes, quinoa has saponins, which are anti-nutrients)

And you can always check out Gluten Free and Fit 101.  Which I think I need to add to again after learning more and more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! What’s the easiest way for you to live gluten free and well?

Parting (with Gluten) is Such Sweet Sorrow…Or Is It?

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Parting (with Gluten) is Such Sweet Sorrow…Or Is It?

Imagine this…

You’re in the doctor’s office.  You’ve been through a battery of tests, you feel like doo-doo on a stick.  Your hair is falling out, your body aches, and you have no energy.  You’re scared to death, because so many of your friends and acquaintances have either been diagnosed with cancer lately, or know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.  You sit, on the hard chair, and you wait for the doctor to enter the room.  It seems like an eternity that you are waiting (and depending on the doctor it might be.)  You really want to try to read your chart, but they’re slick and have it on the other side of the door.

So you wait…  And you wonder…

Am I sick?  Is this going to be bad?  I know I’m sick, but exactly how sick am I?

And you wait some more, and the worst case scenario in your head keeps getting worse.

Finally the doctor enters the room and shakes your hand.  “How’re you feeling?”  Just dandy, doc, that’s why I spent 2 hours of my life in your waiting room, and my hair is falling out. But what you really say is “OK.  What did the tests say?”

He flips open your chart and rummages through the papers at the front.

“Let’s see here…negative, negative, normal, good, oh wait.”

An eternity passes.  Maybe 5 seconds.

“You tested positive for celiac disease.”

What the $%*& is celiac disease?

If you have a good doctor, this is where they give you solid information, and maybe a referral to a dietitian.  If not so good, or just poorly educated, you might just be told to not eat gluten.  Here’s another option if you require a “2nd opinion” –

I have seen/heard people who are just furious that they are no longer supposed to eat gluten, and have to give up (gasp!) “regular” food.

Seriously?

No, really.  Seriously?!?!

Think back.  When you were scared straight in the doctor’s office, and you thought you may be dying – is (insert glutinous favorite food of your choice here-pasta, cereal, bagels, etc) really that big of a deal?

No, really.  Think about it.

  • Do you have to go through chemo?
  • Take lots of toxic medications?
  • Be on medicine for the rest of your life?
  • Be separated from family and friends?
  • Do you have to have surgery?
  • Do you have to go through physical rehabilitation?
  • Are you sentenced to a life of chronic pain?
  • Will you be able to ever eat anything again?

No?  Didn’t think so.

All we have to do is not eat gluten.  We have the choice, and the ability, to heal ourselves.  A diagnosis of celiac disease can be a blessing in disguise.

It’s all in how you choose to approach it.  And yes, it is a choice.

You choose.  In the immortal words of Bruce Springsteen, “you gotta learn to live with what you can’t rise above.”

Why just live with it when you can rise above, and let living gluten free enrich your health and your life.

It really is a beautiful “burden”. You choose.  Your perspective on celiac will color every bite of food you take.

You choose.

Choose to see the huge, wonderful, varied world of naturally gluten free foods.  The bounty of meats, poultry, fish, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, oils, etc and so on and so on!  Look at what you CAN eat, not what you can’t.

For more reading about my philosophy on living gluten free:

The Easiest Gluten Free Diet

And if you want more, Gluten Free and Fit 101 has a lot more in store, including more ideas for dairy and gluten free protein powders.

And that should give you enough reading for a while.

If you STILL want more, or you just want a step by step, simple, checklist  approach to cleaning up your diet, check out 7 Quick Start Tips to Living a Healthy Gluten Free Fit Life

So what will you choose?