Wheat is Murder? Eating Tips for Triathletes

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by Chris Hague

Eating Tips for Triathletes

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving last week! For me, this Thanksgiving was quite different from years past. Traditionally, I would participate like everyone else and gorge myself on the whole Turkey Day spread, loading my plate with  everything and anything in sight. However, this year I was a lot more vigilant in what I was consuming–not calorically but nutritionally.

A week before Thanksgiving, a friend of mine who had just read the controversial new book, “Wheat Belly,” by William Davis, decided to go Wheat and Gluten Free (WF-GF).   According to Davis, wheat regardless of whether it is whole grain, sprouted, or refined, causes inflammation in the gut which hinders recovery, causes stress, and destroys healthy gut flora thus leading to weight gain, lethargy, and immune system suppression.  Being incredulous of all food studies unless I experiment on myself, I decided to give it a try.

While I did not consume a lot of wheat since I rarely eat bread, cereals, baked goods, it was not a drastic step. Nevertheless, I wanted to see what would happen if I took my this diet to the next level. I was surprised to find though how food companies sneak wheat into most everything. I had to toss my soy sauce and replace it with a wheat free version. My frozen yogurt–my occasional indulgence–had to go (I should not be eating this anyway). I had to find a good WF-GF granola (thanks to Udi’s and Kind grains, this was easy to do). With so many products now containing wheat, I began reading the food labels with vigilance.

I was not however EXTREMELY vigilant about this experiment. If a product said that it was produced in a factory that also processed wheat but did not contain wheat itself, I ate it. If a food had a wheat item like the sesame sticks in my favorite trail mix and the crust on my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, I just removed it and ate the rest. Moreover, since I am training 17-20 hours a week these days, I still ate some grains like quinoa and granola to help fuel my training.

Here is what I have noticed thus far:

  1. No more sniffles: I have found that my constant annoying stuffy nose has stopped and that my sinuses are also clearer.
  2. Faster recovery: I used to have some residual fatigue after most days, and it took me about 30 minutes to properly warm up. After going WF-GF though I have found I recover much more quickly usually 6-12 hours.
  3. More energy: After meals, I feel like my energy is more steady without the food coma or the cravings to eat more.
  4. Less cravings: After the first couple of days, I found I no longer craved wheat containing products like cookies and cakes. If they are put in front  of me they are still tempting but not as much

Now this is far from a perfect experiment with lots of confounding variables but I do think that the WF-GF diet is helping. I am only half way through and I already want to take it to the next level by eventually removing any product with traces of wheat and eventually the grains like granola.

As I have said numerous times diets are a case study of 1, so experiment on yourself and if it works. Believe it or not once you get started its easier than you think.

Click Here to pick up your copy of Wheat Belly at Amazon