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Amy Fisher Wednesday, 28 December 2011 07:44 TWEET COMMENTS 7

Zero Tolerance - Page 3

Food for thought

For gluten-free runners, the big question becomes, "What can I eat?" Gluten-free flours made from rice, soy, corn or potatoes are all gut-friendly choices. Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded or marinated), fruits, vegetables, rice, potatoes and most dairy products are also safe.

If a gluten-free diet seems spartan without favorite desserts or treats, think again. Health food stores like Vitamin Cottage and Whole Foods have long stocked their shelves with gluten-free cookies, crackers and other foods. Now, chains like King Soopers have also jumped on the bandwagon, and some restaurants such as P.F. Chang's China Bistro have added gluten-free menu options.

In January 2007, the FDA published a proposed rule to establish a definition for the term "gluten free," so consumers could easily identify safe foods in grocery stores.

Getting personal

An entire diet and lifestyle overhaul can be overwhelming, so consider enlisting a certified nutritionist who can develop an eating plan tailored to your needs. A nutritionist can take the guesswork out of what to eat, and significantly cut down on the trial-and-error recovery phase.

Dr. Caroline Smith of SportSense Company, based in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, specializes in working with individuals by blending food and fitness. "It's all about choices. You get to decide how you want to feel and perform," says Dr. Smith. She helps clients make food choices based on their activity levels, genetics, blood type, body type and metabolic profile, and recommends that a celiac's nutrition plan is custom-tailored to include the right ratio of fats, carbs and proteins at each meal.

Smith even provides clients wheat and gluten-free sports-nutrition options like gels and shakes that can be ordered by contacting her through her company's website (www.metabolismmagic.com). Kella DeLaRosa, a past client of Smith's, noticed a remarkable change in her performance on the trail shortly after eliminating gluten and following her nutrition advice. "After about three days, my mental fog and sluggishness lifted, and I began to experience a more sustained energy level, even during long runs."

What to expect when you're detoxing

The old adage, "It's going to get worse before it gets better," often applies to those starting off on a gluten-elimination diet. Like many detox processes, it can cause irritability, mood swings and erratic energy levels. Trail runs may become harder, or you may not even have the energy to muster a run.

And it's common for gluten to cause a heightened reaction if it's taken out of the diet and then accidentally (or not) ingested during the elimination phase. Says Dr. Smith, "Over time, the healthier the body gets, the more stable it becomes. Then, if you eat something bad, you'll feel the effects much quicker." The bottom line here is to resist the temptation to cheat.

Mentally and emotionally, changes can occur during this phase as well. It's not uncommon for an individual to go through stages of grief, ranging from denial to anger to depression. There are a plethora of support groups for celiacs; check the Celiac Disease Foundation website (www.celiac.org) for a list of chapters across the United States.


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