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Gluten Free Athletes paleo primal diet nutrition celiac sport athletics-min

Gluten Free Athletes

I was very interested to read that the top Tennis Player Novak Djokovic has a gluten-free diet – and credits it with making significant improvements to his performance. Given that gluten intolerance can manifest as aches, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, it makes a lot of sense for athletes in particular to avoid gluten. Especially as it is not possible to have a gluten deficiency – why wouldn’t you cut it out of your diet?

Gluten Free Athletes paleo primal diet nutrition celiac sport athletics-min

It turns out several of the Olympians from the London 2012 Olympics did so on a Gluten-Free diet. Initially I assumed this was due to a Coeliac diagnosis, but it appears to be becoming common knowledge that ditching the gluten can improve performance and stamina. I wonder if at the 2016 Rio Olympics we’ll see even more Athletes going Gluten free – and perhaps taking it one step further and adopting a Paleo Diet?

US Swimmer Dana Vollmer went gluten (and egg) free due to an intolerance, but apparently found it made a significant difference to her performance. She went on to win Gold (twice!) at the Olympics – I wonder how much of her win can be attributed to her diet?

Pole Vaulter Jenn Suhr went gluten-free just last year after being diagnosed with Celiac disease – and also won a gold medal…

Canadian Swimmer Nare Brannen went gluten-free on the advice of his coach last year – and has had minimal injuries, he believes, as a result.

If you’re an athlete, amateur or otherwise, I’d be very interested to hear what differences you noticed going gluten-free. Do you think there’s going to be a big increase in gluten-free (or better still Paleo) athletes by the time of the 2016 Rio Olympics? I’d love to hear your comments, below!

Eat more gluten magazine article paleo network-min

Eat More Gluten!

I can’t wait for the day when the “health” magazines start advocating more of a Paleo approach, with real food and eating of  fat encouraged.  But it seems like we still have a long way to go.

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I came across the snippet below in the March edition of “Weight Watchers” magazine.  Just in case any of their readers had been considering avoiding carbs, they warn that

“carbohydrates provide the body and brain with their primary source of fuel and are essential for energy levels”

Interesting. I tend to have fewer than 50g of carbs a day, so presumably I must have no energy?  Yet, bizarrely, I find I have more energy than ever before.  Just yesterday I had so much energy I felt compelled to break out into a sprint on my way home.  But I must be mistaken! It says so in a magazine after all.

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Without eating enough carbohydrates you might get

“fatigue, light-headedness, headaches, sugar cravings and irritability”

and they advise that you choose carbohydrates like

“wholegrain bread and cereals, grainy crackers, oats, fresh fruit and low-fat dairy”

Well, I’ve somehow managed to avoid any of those symptoms.  I’m not sure that avoiding sugar cravings, by eating foods that break down into sugar, really counts either.  And as for low-fat dairy being a good source of carbohydrates?

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The other article I read was from the March/ April 2012 edition of “Australian Diabetic Living”.  They ran a piece on Celiac disease.  The question was

“Should I avoid gluten products, just in case I might have Celiac disease?”

My answer would be that since gluten has detrimental effects on so many people, even those who don’t test positive for Celiac disease, it certainly should be avoided by everyone.  Given how long gluten stays in the body for, I think a strictly gluten-free diet is the right approach, for everyone.  Did they come up with a similar answer?

“No.  You can actually make it harder for your body to digest gluten if you cut most of it from your diet without good reason”.

Unfortunately there were no references for this startling revelation, which I’d have been very interested to check out.  So basically the diabetic magazine wants its diabetic readers to make sure they eat lots of gluten – which often come hand in hand with the not so diabetic friendly refined carbs?

What do you think?  Do you struggle to find the energy to function without bread and cereals?  Do you make sure you eat lots of gluten, to, er, help your body digest the gluten that you eat?

Eat more gluten magazine article paleo network-min

Gluten Free in WA expo Coeliac western australia

Gluten Free in WA

Gluten Free seems to be becoming an increasingly popular way to eat – which can only be a great thing.  Gluten appears to not be tolerated well by a significant number of people – far more than realise they have an issue with it.




A Paleo diet is gluten-free, so would seem to be the ideal solution for Coeliacs.  I was disappointed by the complete lack of Paleo food at the Sydney Gluten-free expo – everything was processed and contained grains and legumes.

Another Gluten Free expo has been announced for 17th & 18th March 2012, in Perth, WA.  Hopefully this one will be a bit more Paleo friendly?

Gluten Free in WA expo Coeliac western australia

Gluten Free Expo Conference Paleo Event

The Sydney Gluten Free Expo

I went along to the Gluten Free Expo yesterday, at the Sydney Showground.

Gluten Free Expo Conference Paleo Event

I’m not sure why now, but I expected it to be very Paleo friendly and full of Vibram clad feet. Surely going completely grain free would be the natural conclusion for those with Coeliac disease? Ditching the bread and refined carbs in favour of real, whole food?

The Gluten Free event was sponsored by Coles and the stands were almost all offering packaged, processed food. Crisps, pasta, processed meats, ready meals, breakfast cereals, cakes and sweets. They all seemed to have removed gluten and replaced it with more sugar, other grains and lots of chemicals. I studied the ingredients on every stand and managed to find one little jar of spices, that would get the Paleo seal of approval! One product!

Gluten Free expoPerhaps a Paleo stand at next year’s expo beckons!

Going Gluten Free?

It’s well worth trying to remove Gluten from your diet. So many people don’t tollerate it well, without being full-blown Coeliac. When constantly exposed to Gluten, it’s hard to even realise what impact it has on your body. It isn’t until all traces of Gluten are out of your system that you can begin to understand how it affects you.

Gluten intolerance seems to be strongly correlated with inflammation issues such as IBS, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, autoimmune diseases, HD, ADD, ADHS, Autism, indigestion, stomach complaints and many other health complaints.

If you’re looking to go Gluten Free, the Whole30 is a great program to use to kick this off with! I haven’t ever heard of anyone regretting going Gluten Free!