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Mom Helps Novak Djokovic Stick to Gluten-free Diet 04/25/2013 - Anyone who has ever struggled with a gluten-free diet can likely identify with tennis star Novak Djokovic. The wold's top tennis player has struggled to faithfully remain 100% gluten-free, and has turned to his mom for a bit of help.

Photo: CC--Frederic de VillamilStill, the wold's top tennis player has struggled to faithfully remain 100% gluten-free, and admits being tempted by the Balkan foods on which he grew up. 

In an effort to reap the benefits of a strict gluten-free diet, Djokovic has turned to help from his mom. He says his mother’s home cooking has helped him stick to the dietary plan.

“I eat mostly at home, my mom cooks special food,” says Djokovic, whose father owned a pizza restaurant, and who grew up in a culture which features plenty of red meat, dumpling and sweet desserts.

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Djokovic has worked to avoid these and other gluten-rich foods over the past few seasons as he has risen to the top of the tennis rankings.

“It’s hard, because in our country there is a certain kind of mentality towards the food. That is not very encouraging for gluten-free diet.”

With mom's help, however, Djokovic is finding out just how delicious gluten-free food can be.

“For me it’s absolutely normal now to have that food, and back home I love mom’s kitchen. That’s the most time spent eating there.”

For now, join us in saluting Novak Djokovic and his mother in their battle to keep him gluten free, and stay tuned to learn more about Djokovic's efforts to harness his diet to improve his success on the tennis court. welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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8 Responses:

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said this on
29 Apr 2013 3:39:42 PM PDT
I often find that the general public knows very little about gluten-free, or people who need to stay on this diet. In this otherwise fine article, you include a sentence toward the end that sounds like red meat has gluten. Please be careful with your wording, as there's already enough misinformation out there regarding gluten-free food.

Ann Mitchell
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said this on
29 Apr 2013 5:13:55 PM PDT
Hi Jeanne: I have just made a comment which supports you. Thanks for your clear thinking.

Ann Mitchell
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said this on
29 Apr 2013 5:12:07 PM PDT
I support Jeanne's comment - almost everyone I know has no real idea what gluten-free means. Of course there is no gluten in meat. Gluten is in almost all grains - some more, some less. Almost all of my lifelong digestive problems were because of celiac disease, and I did not know it. Back then (I am 77) no one had any idea about celiac disease. Now, at least, some people are catching on to it.
I wish more doctors would become more open to it. I have only ever had one who was.

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said this on
07 Jul 2013 11:38:11 PM PDT
This is somewhat misleading. There are many, many grains that don't contain gluten: quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, corn/maize, millet, rice, tapioca, to name a few. I find it pretty easy to stay gluten-free with so much choice

( Author)
said this on
09 Jul 2013 4:55:30 PM PDT
Some of those aren't actually grains.

Donald Emerant
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said this on
30 Apr 2013 4:04:28 AM PDT
I agree that this article could mislead and may make people think red meat has gluten. However, it is good to write about famous people who are struggling with celiac disease. This may help others to better understand what the disease is about and how to face it on a daily basis.

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said this on
07 Jul 2013 8:44:04 AM PDT
Very interesting subject - have only discovered that i am gluten intolerant after many years of terrible stomach problems since i was a little girl. It is all so clear now.

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said this on
19 Aug 2013 11:25:40 PM PDT
I'm also from country (Croatia, EU) where it's normal to eat lots of bread, spaghetti, pizza... it's in our Mediterranean culture... I had strange health episodes: fast heart beat, pain in the bones, allergies... now I'm happy because 3 years I'm on gluten free diet and all my problems are vanished... and I want to share with others because I discovered that in my thirties.

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All Activity Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Forum - All Activity

That's good to know about Texas Children's, unfortunately I don't believe they accept our insurance. Our former pediatrician joined with one of their medical groups and we had to find a new one due to insurance. I'll check out their site though.

Texas children's hospital in the med center has a celiac center now. Good luck!

this is a very common subject on here. personally, most of my tests were negative, but i did the same thing you did (stopped eating gluten before the tests) my gi advised me to continue eating gluten free because i was so malnourished and when i stopped the gluten i actually began to gain weight. in other words, i think she was afraid for me to do the challenge bc it might kill me lolz. some people want a definite dx if they have kids that need to be tested in the future, some will not follow a strict g//f diet without a firm diagnosis (they think they can cheat just bc they were never formally diagnosed) what happened with my scope is the dr saw evidence of damage. that and my response to the diet were enough for me. she advised me to stay gluten-free and i agreed. it's been tough sometimes, but i never purposely cheated (that's how near death i was - swore i was dying of the big 'c'.......what a relief to not have that and my 'chemo' is 'impasta'. or fake bread. ) welcome to the forum and good luck with whatever you choose

I'm already noticing a difference after five days on the gluten-free diet...acid reflux is gone and stomach pain is getting better. I am glad you're going to try the gluten-free diet, Vanillabean, and get copies of all your results. I hope you find some relief from the pain soon! I'm still waiting for my biopsy results. I did call my doctor's office today and found out the genetic test was positive for a celiac gene (DQ8). My doctor was hoping to rule out celiac with that test, but now it's still up in the air. Still waiting.

meeeeeee!!!! i used to get pneumonia every single winter!!!! and all the flus and colds, etc - i am surrounded by kids and germs, but when they all get the flu, i do not. my husband (mr-play-through-the-pain) even got knocked down (spent 2-3 days in BED miserable) by the last round of virus, but not me. not to mention no headaches, no migraines, etc. hormones and the dreaded menopause, like hellodee2 said, is a whole 'nother ballgame lolz glad you are feeling better