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gluten-free Diet & Exercise
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Has anyone done century bike rides on a gluten-free diet? I have been a long time cyclist but I was hit by a van before getting diagnosed with Celiac. It took me about 6 years to start bicycling again. I am on Dr. Fasano's diet (basically no grains and only whole fresh foods -nothing processed). I find it difficult to do longer bike rides (over 2 hours) because of the food requirements. Has anyone found food to sustain you on longer rides, centuries, or even runners doing longer runs/marathons?

 

TIA!

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Has anyone done century bike rides on a gluten-free diet? I have been a long time cyclist but I was hit by a van before getting diagnosed with Celiac. It took me about 6 years to start bicycling again. I am on Dr. Fasano's diet (basically no grains and only whole fresh foods -nothing processed). I find it difficult to do longer bike rides (over 2 hours) because of the food requirements. Has anyone found food to sustain you on longer rides, centuries, or even runners doing longer runs/marathons?

 

TIA!

I don't know how you would be able to do longer rides or more challenging work-outs without carbs.  I do weight training and cannot just do whole foods....but I don't need to as I have healed well and am 8 years into the gluten-free diet.  Why are you restricting yourself so much?  You need carbs to accomplish distances and there are many great gluten-free grains that are whole grains, which are great for what you want to accomplish.

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I have to agree with Gemini on this one. I started weight training in January. My muscles were deeply impacted from celiac and I rehabbed them for 2 years with physical therapy and massage therapy before even attempting such strenuous exercise. I need protein and I need carbs, I have found.

 

My stamina was nil before and now, I can do almost anything again.

 

Have you read this book by any chance? The Gluten Free Edge by Peter Bronski  and  Melissa McLean Jory MNT

Very interesting! 

 

The diet you speak of is based on research done on some celiacs who still had villous atrophy and possible refractory sprue long after diagnosis and they trialed a "no grains/seeds/flours that may be cced" diet and after 6 months,they could reintroduce all alternative grains, dairy nuts and seeds,etc ... and they were fine. No evidence of gut damage.This article was recently published in Pub Med.

 

The problem is....why could they reintroduce these supposed "CCed grains" and have no damage?

I love Dr. Fasano--he's the man! :) --but I question why these patients would go back on these supposedly CCed grains--- if they concluded in the study that they "caused" the problem? And why wouldn't they recommend that ALL celiacs be on this "diet"? (I am probably asking too many questions...LOL)
 

 

"The researchers coined their diet the “Gluten Contamination Elimination Diet.” Here is the breakdown of foods with are allowed  on this diet:

Allowed: brown and white rice; all fresh fruits and vegetables; fresh meats; fish; eggs; dried beans; unseasoned nuts in the shell; butter; plain yogurt; plain milk, and aged cheeses; oils; vinegar (except flavored or malt); honey; salt. Beverages allowed include 100% juices, water, and Gatorade."

 

 

But I am not sure why you have implemented this more radical form of a restrictive  diet, unless you were instructed to do so?. 

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I'm currently training for a century ride in November and have been gluten-free for two months now.  However, I have many food allergies and haven't had any issues training in past years despite iron deficiency anemia and Thalassemia.  Let me stress that I'm not out to win even in my age category!

 

I do eat gluten-free grains, plenty of carbs!  For breakfast, I typically eat quinoa with bananas, brown rice porridge or a huge sweet potato, fruit, coffee and left over chicken/beef or canned salmon (that one always travels well in hotel rooms!)  During the ride, I bring gluten-free oatmeal bars that I bake myself, a typically bruised banana and lots of Gu packs.  For salt, I bring potato or corn chips to offset the sugary Gu and Gatoraid that I consume, along with water on the ride.  I bring extra powdered Gatoraid packed in plastic tubes.  

 

During a formal century ride, I usually pass on the food they pass out 'cause I'm worried about cross contamination (those little Cub Scouts aren't too particular!)  I never ride fast enough not to stop for few breaks.  

 

Being gluten-free shouldn't slow you down!

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When I started working out, I discovered I had to have a carb for breakfast (with protein) - butnot bread. I started making "pancakes" out of leftover mashed potatoes and sliced, cooked sweet potatoes. I just smoosh them between my palms and pan fry. I also wilt spinach and eat it with a fried egg.

Any vegetable leftover is fair game at my house.

And I'd eat two breakfasts - one within 30 minutes of waking and a second after my workout. I found I had to feed myself every 2-3 hours. If I didn't my energy would plummet and glucose would drop.

I added almond and coconut flour baked goods, too. Breakfast cookies (almost no sugar).

But starchy veggies were key for me, as well as leafy greens. Oats took a bit of work. I still do better without gluten-free grains...but I can do rice.

Veggies are my go-to. I literally can't eat too many. My body always wants a veggie (with a chunk of protein).

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I am on a diet like yours OP, and so are my children.  My daughter is a distance runner.  She ran cross country in high school and is now in college.  I work out a lot myself.  I haven't done a century bike ride, but I will go longer than 2 hours bike rides and hour runs.  I did a mini triathlon a few years ago and trained for that with miles swims in addition.  I'm not sure if your question applies to what you can bring along with you, or to general nutrition.  For general nutrition, I do dairy so I get fat and protein there.  A google search will let you know that there are carbohydrates in other foods besides grains.  As far as taking along, for my mini triathlon, I brought stuff and didn't even feel the need for it.  I was too concentrated on trying to pass people who passed me on the swim.  That super tight swim cap made my head spin.  I hadn't swam with a cap before and it really got to me.  I was close to last getting out of the water despite the fact that my training times had been good.  Do you have a dehydrator?  If not, you might want to get one.  Banana chips are good and so are potato and kale chips.  They fit into those little pockets quite well, and replace those power bars that people like to eat.

 

I'm sorry that you hit by a van.  Drivers need to be more careful around cyclists.  I don't know how many times someone has come too close to me.  I have had many friends injured and run off the road.  It must feel great to be back to it again.

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Thanks to everyone who replied. To answer why I am on this diet, I was instructed to do so because I couldn't clear my rash and the dreaded GI problems for some reason. It reappears if I re-introduce gluten free grains. My hope is to only be on it for another 6 months to a year then try to re-introduce again. I have become super-sensitive to food. I assume because I was misdiagnosed for so long. My sister and I have horrible neurological problems from gluten so I wonder if our brains and bodies are on hyper-drive when it comes to even trace amounts of gluten. But I am hopeful that my body get with the regular gluten free program because this diet SUCKS -so difficult!

 

dilettantesteph: food dehydrator! I hadn't thought of that because dried fruit isn't allowed but I assume if you do it yourself it would be ok. Thanks! I only get very limit amounts of diary because of a diary intolerance. (D'oh, stupid food intolerances!!)

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I was dairy intolerant on diagnosis and for years before that.  After 6 months to a year I was able to have it again.  I am on this diet for the same reason as you except no rash.  I was able to re-introduce a rice from Thailand.  That's on the Fasano diet anyway.  I haven't yet been able to introduce other stuff.  I was pretty sick on diagnosis so it might take me longer to heal.  Also, it took longer back then to come up with this reason as there hadn't been much published about reactions to low level gluten contamination yet.  

 

If you eat meat you can make beef jerky with a dehydrator too, though the spice that they sell for that would probably not work on the diet.  I have a suggestion to try fresh spices from the produce section.  You can dehydrate them in season and then make your food more interesting year around.

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A no grain diet doesn't have to be low carb - can you eat things like potaotes, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, bananas, plantains?   Baked potatoes and sweet pototatoes are pretty good cold, as are pancakes made of shredded potatoes or sweet potatoes. Can you eat honey?  That could be a good energy source, especially mixed with some almond butter.

 

You should check out some of the paleo sites, like Mark's Daily Apple - there's a lot of people on their forums that do endurance events on a grain-free diet. 

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I tend to disagree that carbs are needed for distance events.  Carbs can, I think, be beneficial for sprint-type activity, but for distance, your body needs to be burning fat for fuel, and I think that a load of carbs will simply delay the process by which your body starts to metabolize those fats.  This has certainly been my experience in ten-to-twelve-plus mile obstacle course races (think Tough Mudder, the longer distance Spartan Race events, etc.) and also on some longer hikes (just this past weekend we hiked Humphreys Peak in Arizona -- ten mile round trip, 3300' altitude gain, topping out at 12,633').  The conventional wisdom is to carbo-load the few days prior to these events and to bring some form of carbohydrate-rich stuff to use during the event.  I find I need none of that.  I bring water, of course, and some salt/potassium packets along just in case of cramps (though I have not experienced cramps while running any of these events).  Oh, I eat a low-carb, grain-free, mostly-paleo diet.  Primarily meat, fish, birds, and lots of green, leafy vegetables.  No potatoes or other starchy foods.  I eat fruit only occasionally, and limit that to a handful of strawberries or blueberries (are those even fruit???).  I do not change my diet prior to races/events, except possibly to eat a bit less the few days prior to help kick-start the fat burning.

 

Prior to my celiac disease diagnosis in November of last year, I would eat very limited grains in the form of a terribly delicious, very unnatural, breaded and fried chicken patty several times per week (otherwise, I tried to eat well!).  That was actually fortuitous in that the gluten was certainly doing its work on my small intestine and antibodies.  I was either asymptomatic or experiencing not-normal celiac disease symptoms, and was undergoing endoscopy for another reason.  Blessedly everything looked good except for signs of celiac disease in the small intestine (biopsies taken and confirmed for villous atrophy).  Subsequent blood work confirmed the diagnosis.  Of course, since diagnosis I have quit eating that delicious chicken patty, and learned to source my food much more carefully, and stopped eating out, and... I think everyone here knows the rest.

 

All that written, I do not have experience in long bicycle rides, and perhaps there is a difference in nutritional needs?  Anyway, my point is that I have experienced great results in mid-distance strength and endurance events while maintaining a limited carbohydrate diet (at my level of competition, which is very middle-of-the-pack to be sure).

 

Best of luck!

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    • Mnoosh,    Can you give us a link to the article you read about the increased risk after being diagnosed and maintaining a strict gluten-free diet??       IMO,   You are over reacting to a misprint or most likely a misread article.
    • Yes!  With dairy, celiacs can often have a temorary lactose intolerance due to damaged intestinal villi (where the enzymes normally are released to digest lactose).  Of course you could be naturally lactose intolerant based on race or age.  It is best to stick to a whole foods diet while you are healing.  Really, is ice cream or potato chips going to provide you with nutritional value?  Stick with naturally gluten free foods like meat, fish, fats,  veggies (even those with carbs like sweet potatoes or winter squash) and fruit.  Avoid that processed junk as you may react to the additives right now.  Later, you can add back in dairy (test) and other foods you miss and crave.   Good luck!  
    • Take a deep breath and calm down!    The incidence of cancer with Celiac Disease is rare.......it can happen but the vast majority of people never have that experience.  You may have somewhat enlarged lymph nodes due to inflammation from undiagnosed Celiac but that will all calm down and go away once you get going on the diet.  Believe me, there are many of us that have things happen during the diagnosis and early recovery period and everything turned out just fine.  There is an elevated risk for some cancers with Celiac but that risk goes back to that of the general population after a couple of years on the gluten-free diet. I cannot remember the exact time frame but it is somewhere between 2-4 years, I think.  So many of us went years without a diagnosis and when it was all figured out, we have gone on to be healthy with little complications.  Really...do  not worry about this.  Concentrate on learning all the ins and outs of this disease and how to live gluten free happily.  We are here to help you and guess what? The diet is not as bad as some make it out to be. Many things can be made gluten free and are every bit as good as their gluten counterparts. The diet may not be convenient but it is not hard. I would not lie to you!   
    • Well....one common symptom that most celiacs have when they are diagnosed (or undiagnosed) is anxiety.  So, there is a risk of cancers, but science has demonstrated that that risk goes down on a gluten free diet (if you have celiac disease).  In goes down to the same risk as those without celiac disease.   I kind of was a basket case.  I drive my family a bit crazy because I was anxious.  I felt a bit stupid too.  I guess I had a little brain fog going on too.  All that resolved after I healed. Welcome to the fourum.  Read our Newbie 101 thread under "Coping" (pinned at the top of the page) and learn about hidden sources of gluten and cross contamination.  I think most of us do not worry about cancer. We mourn the freedom to eat anything anywhere!   I did not have swollen lymph nodes, but I am sure others have and they did not have cancer.  Hopefully, they will chime in and set your mind at ease.  If not, you can search for "lymph nodes" at the top of the page (little magnifying glass).  There are lots of members with the same issue!  
    • I was recently diagnosed as having celiac and to be honest the part I'm having the most trouble with isn't the change in food or lifestyle. I'm really upset about what I've read about the risk of cancer increasing with celiac disease. I think this is playing into my fears because I currently have lymph nodes all over my body-my Doctor says they are not considered swollen or concerning, but I don't usually feel nodes. The lymph nodes and horrible diarrhea for the last 3 weeks were what got me into the the doctor for lab work. My blood work came great so I'm wondering if anyone else experienced lymph nodes reacting when they found out they were celiac? Also how do you deal with anxiety surrounding the increased risk of cancer? Thanks!
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