Monday, December 8, 2014


Hey Fit Fam ...

One thing that really bothers me is when people talk about going on a gluten free diet to lose weight. IT IS NOT A FAD!!!!! It's a way of life for those that have Celiac, wheat/gluten allergies, etc. But for whatever reason some people think it's the "popular" thing to do. But trust me .. all that stuff "labeled" gluten free can still make you just as fat as the wheat filled version. In fact, most of that stuff is WORSE for you than the gluten filled versions. A GF "diet" works for many of these people because it is common sense that if you ate a bunch of things like white breads, pastas, sweets, etc. - and you take them out - you will lose weight! I'm not saying everyone shouldn't try to be gluten free because I think overall gluten is a good thing for anyone to avoid. But ... please stop making it some "fad diet"...K? Okay .. off my soap box and onto the point of this blog.

As some of my long time readers and social media friends know .. I have an auto-immune condition called Celiac Disease (which explains my sensitivity to the entire gf diet being a fad). I was diagnosed back in 2006 after having a host of symptoms on/off since 2001. For the most part I have been symptom free since going "gluten free" - unless I accidentally ingest gluten. However I often still have celiac like symptoms for NO reason.  I cook 99% of my meals at home .. so I know gluten can't be the issue. So what could be causing my stomach to have these same symptoms? Celiac Disease symptoms GREATLY vary from person to person (which is one reason they call it a mystery disease).. but for me ..  my stomach will abnormally swell up after eating (I literally look pregnant at times .. my little celiac belly I call it, lol), sometimes it's just looking and feeling a little more bloated than usual for no reason, burning/pain in my upper abdomen (think the peak of a hunger pain that never goes away) and also (sorry TMI guys) sometimes I will go several days without "going to the bathroom".  I don't need to change the amount of fiber I eat.... I get the right amount. I take a great digestive enzyme and a quality probiotic. I even started doing "essential oils" and found a tea that I am obsessed with (entire blog post on this coming soon). But still ... I was having some (or all) of these symptoms more days than not. It has caused me GREAT stress .. especially on show weeks. I mean .. the worst thing that could happen would be a prepare and dedicate my life to getting ready for a show .. and boom .. my stomach swell up for NO reason! In fact ... it did happen at the Tn State Championships. But thankfully it didn't start until moments before I went on stage for the "Overall". But by the end of the night (and even in some later pictures) .. you can see where it had started to swell.

Anyway .. after lots of research I began to wonder if in addition to Celiac I may also have a sensitivity to something called FODMAPs ((The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. These short-chain carbohydrates are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily fermented by gut bacteria.))

Many people with stomach issues (particularly IBS) seem to be sensitive to these short-chain carbohydrates. Essentially, they can't be properly absorbed by the small intestine in some people and then are fermented by bacteria and produce unpleasant symptoms. In fact, some researchers/doctors are starting to wonder if those that think they are sensitive to gluten (self diagnosed/non specific gluten sensitivity), are really NOT sensitive to the gluten at all (which is the protein found in things like wheat, barley, rye, spelt, some oats, etc), but possibly intolerant to something else! They believe that it may in fact be the "carb" they are sensitive to in wheat (not the protein .. i.e. gluten). This one particular "carb" in wheat is called "fructan" and just one member of a group of short-chain carbs (FODMAPs) that could be responsible for irritating many peoples tummies! In addition to fructon (which as mentioned is the "carb" in wheat and apparently also in garlic and artichokes), FODMAPs also include Fructose (found in some but not all fruit), Lactose (some but not all dairy) and Galactans (found in legumes).

The more I looked into it ... I discovered that pretty much ever single "side" I eat contains one of these FODMAPs and is on the NO list for those that should be on a Low FODMAP Diet! So I started to wonder that if in addition to having Celiac .. maybe I also can't tolerate these FODMAPs as well! Here is the chart I am using. There are SO MANY out there...but this is the one I found to be pretty helpful. *please do your own research as I am not an expert or nutritionist* 

Currently I am doing my own meal plans and am in "off/improvement season" so it's the perfect time to see if this works for me! This week I am wiping out (almost) all the foods on the "NO" list. However they suggest you eliminate ALL foods on this list for at least 6 weeks .. then seek the help of a doctor/dietitian and at that point you can add in foods from each individual group since you may be able to tolerate some of the them.  I'm not gonna go that all out yet.  Yes .. I probably should. But I'm not willing to give up all my healthy foods just yet. The only "no" foods I am keeping in (in small quantities) are asparagus, greek yogurt and obviously Whey protein powders. I'm sure there are others that are hidden in things I eat that I will miss as well (like my seasonings are bound to have onion & garlic powders .. not sure if powders are included in this or not).  I am keeping in asparagus here and there because there were times in contest prep (like show day) that asparagus was the only veggie I ate and I didn't seem to have major stomach problems those days .. so I am trying to keep it in. But also because it is a STAPLE once I get back on contest prep, so I need to see if I can get better while still eating for now I am leaving it in.  I am also keeping in some yogurt (a very specific low carb/low sugar one). Dairy is pretty much the only thing I take out during contest prep -- so I haven't had it in so long and love it so much that I'm not ready to give it up already, lol!  I only have a few tablespoons of it and not even everyday. Also I am obviously keeping in whey protein .. that is a vital pre/post workout stable and isn't going anywhere. haha. I once took dairy out of my diet for a month - including whey - and in my opinion there is just NO replacement....and yes I tried them all!

So I am saying goodbye to my beloved roasted broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts. Also to apples, garlic, onion, mushrooms and possibly avocado (avocado isn't listed on all "no" lists). The other stuff on the list I don't really eat anyway. I'm not sure how I'll handle "cheat days" .. but guessing I'll throw the low fodmap out the window for that!  If I don't notice much of a difference .. I'll get more serious with having NONE of them. Trial and error... but it is certainly worth a shot for now!

One exciting thing with this elimination is that I discovered a new foods I am IN LOVE with!!! Until today I had NEVER had parsnips. Why didn't someone tell me how amazing this root veggie is?!?! I am ADDICTED!!! I ate them roasted today with roasted carrot sticks as well ... and  a "Feta Quinoa Turkey Burger" with spicy low sugar ketchup! Because I know you all will want this recipe .. I am posting a separate blog with the yummy details! HOWEVER .. my parsnip bubble was burst a little after I did some research on them. They apparently have a very high glycemic index :( This breaks my healthy little heart. haha. So .... I'm going to have to chat with my mentor about the best way to incorporate them into my off season plan.

I am anxious to see how I feel in a week or two! I'll keep you all posted .. but if you are having tummy problems .. why not give it a try yourself! Can't hurt!

Eat Clean. Train Dirty.

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