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MSward09

Master's Thesis: The Celiac Athlete's Handbook To Living, Training, And Performing

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I'm a M.S. candidate in Exercise and Sport Studies. I was diagnosed in January this year and it inspired me to write a thesis/special studies that could be distributed to athletes everywhere as a guide to living, training, and performing with Celiac Disease. I have a detailed outline and have done hours upon hours of research, but I wanted to present this question to anyone willing to take the time to answer: What would you want from a handbook as an athlete with Celiac? Also, I would love to include testimonials/stories of success. This is aimed mostly at teenagers/college athletes since I had to narrow it down a little. I was a D3 lacrosse player and although I wasn't diagnosed until long after graduating, I would have wanted the guidance while I was trying to perform at a extremely competitive level. So, that being said, I want to hear any suggestions, ideas, stories you have to offer. Ultimately I'd like to write a book just for athletes, and this is the first step. I appreciate anything you have to offer.

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I'm not in college, but in retrospect that's when I started having issues. Basically, I was really tired back then. I thought I was overtraining because I was running so much at the time. I found out I was anemic.

I am still struggling with over-training issues, and I still have trouble identifying when that is happening. I think my over-training threshold is lower than most people's because my body heals slower and I have absorption issues when glutened. I'm never sure when to push and when to let myself heal- I think sometimes I rest too much after a glutening, and other times not enough.

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I'm an older athlete...not sure I have any testimonials to include (diagnosed in my mid 30s). At any rate, I think one of the hardest things with dealing with celiacs is avoiding gluten everywhere. This may be especially hard for younger folks. I'm a lifeguard & I work with a lot of teens and people in their early 20s. I would imagine it would be hard to avoid gluten in social settings and pretty much just generally speaking. I bake a lot of my own stuff with gluten-free flours because I need energy and store bought stuff is even more expensive. I can't see many of those I work with doing so ! ;) I would also imagine there could be some denial - or temptation to "just have a little bit".

Another good bit of info would be coping with glutening. What does an person do when they do make a mistake ??? What if they have an event or game and they have been glutened ? I know on the rare instances I get glutened and I have to go to work, I dose myself up with Pepto Bismol & tylenol or advil...helps a bit, makes it bearable. The athlete would also have to make sure they get some safe food (energy) and lots of fluids. I have a heck of a time eating after a glutening - anything dairy is offensive for a couple of days. I hate being nauseated AND hungry, but with all the activity I do, I still am hungry. Motivation would be an issue as well - glutening can wear you down.

On the bright side, lists of web sites and/or companies that provide gluten-free info and products would be helpful - general food and sports bars too (eg. Larabars or Mrs. May's nut bars). Portable food makes things easy - I would encourage any celiac to carry food with them everywhere to avoid the temptation to just grab a bite of something that "probably doesn't have gluten in it" simply because they are hungry. Of course food doesn't have to be premade and many foods are naturally gluten-free.

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Are you targeting a younger crowd or any age group? Or just for the general population, young and old?

I. I agree with the last poster who says that a list of suppliers who make wheat/gluten free products or a supplier who makes ONLY wheat and gluten free products. Including affordable supplements.

As for me, my symptoms started in college. I didn't know until a year ago (I'm 26) that it was being intolerant/possible celiac. I was involved in swimming all my life, ran x country for two years and played volleyball and softball recreationally for several several years.

I started bodybuilding in 2004. It's a necessary thing to get as much protein as possible. Protein shakes are nothing but gluten and contains so many questionable ingredients. I stopped working out completely 7 months ago mainly because of being wheat/gluten intolerant. I have yet to find an alternative to taste and quantity in protein powders that are wheat and gluten free. Sure, the whole foods sells one that's like 2 lbs for the cost of an arm and a leg. Sorry, but I need those. I loved drinking Muscle Milk protein shakes. I looked forward to it especially when I was preparing for a show. It was my only sweet thing...it chocolatey and smooth and just so yummy. :angry: now I can't enjoy them and I'd rather not drink them at all than drink a nasty one.

II. You're off to a good start. Include coping AFTER being glutened. For example I've avoided eating and it's 10:30am...been up since 5. I refuse to eat because of last night's reaction. Eating just makes my indigestion worse or come back. Athletes certainly can't do this.

III. Encourage making/cooking your own meals and taking lunches and taking snacks to avoid choosing something out of the snack machine (like the last poster suggested).

I get picked on at work because of the size of my lunchbox. They stare at my homecooked mac and cheese with rice noodles. They envy me while they sit and eat their microwavable dinners, counting their calories and watching fat content. Then they laugh and pick at me about how much I eat and the size of my lunch box. Make jokes..."haha, can't you just get an intestine transplant, hahaha!" I wouldn't eat a microwavable meal even if I weren't intolerant. That stuff contains MSG and all kinds of junk.

IV.Include long term health issues associated. The really bad stuff. Some people need to be scared into a decision. Be blunt and forward. Don't sugarcoat it either.

The social part of it especially being young is hardest I think. I'm 26 and it gets to me. I can't socially enjoy going out with friends to a restaurant in fear I'll get CC. Then I'm looked at as being rude by not eating anything at all. I'm SURE that school made lunches aren't wheat and gluten free and you can't trust a young teen that they'll eat their own lunch instead of that pizza or chic filet sandwich sitting warming under the heat lamp in the lunch line. Early-on warning is best. I found myself getting extremely depressed. Enjoying food didn't seem like a reality anymore. Until I started getting more info on things I can have. I'm much happier and healthier now than a year ago. I'd heard several people say that they wouldn't care about being intolerant-that they'd eat what they want anyways. The majority of these people also complain of symptoms that are clearly the same as someone who is intolerant and I try and pass on the info. Sooner or later it will sink in.

V. Also with the thing on denial and having "just a taste" or "just a sip". Well how many times do you do that in one week? one month? a year? I was doing this with beer :huh: and I'd have just a tiny swallow. Well in one weeks time, I had probably a full beer. It works with food too. In two weeks time at my new job, I'd had two full donuts. They make new hires bring in a dozen donuts for the art department. I thought it would be ok to have just a half of one. Nope, wrong. So the next birthday that came around I baked a cake. One that I could enjoy socially with everyone else.

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I am still struggling with over-training issues, and I still have trouble identifying when that is happening. I think my over-training threshold is lower than most people's because my body heals slower and I have absorption issues when glutened. I'm never sure when to push and when to let myself heal- I think sometimes I rest too much after a glutening, and other times not enough.

I struggle with similar issues. My primary celiac symptoms are joint/muscle pain and fatigue, and even when I'm not glutened, my body doesn't seem to react the same way it did before I had celiac. Some days I just hurt. Some days I have zero energy. I took up biking more seriously this summer and was very careful to slowly ramp up my miles, but around 25 miles, my body just decided it didn't want to bike anymore. For 4-6 weeks I struggled to do 5 miles which is so frustrating. I'd like some guidance on how to stay athletic when my body's going haywire either from gluten or from something else. I can lose all my fitness so quickly. One glutening or other reason for my body to shut down and it puts me back at least 2-4 weeks in my training. I'd love to sign up for a race, but I have no idea if I can complete a training plan or will be able to workout on the day of the race.

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I am in college again (I'm probably alot older than what your looking for) B)... can I add my 0.02 ?

I have never trained at competition level but was athletic until I got too sick....I think adding a section about how to cope when family, friends, coaches, team meambers, dr's, think you have excercise induced anorexia (or eating disorder in general) might fit with your topic nicely.

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31 minutes ago, Cycloner said:

Hi.  I have a daughter who will be a collegiate athlete with Celiac and would be interested in reading your Master's Thesis.  Is it available?

Len

This post is from 2008 over 9 years old. I doubt the OP will respond or you will learn anything about this thread from here on out. Many of us here though are athletic and active with this disease do not lose hope. I am trying to body build with this disease, I know several others in our community are very active in their lifestyles.

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40 minutes ago, Cycloner said:

Hi.  I have a daughter who will be a collegiate athlete with Celiac and would be interested in reading your Master's Thesis.  Is it available?

Len

As long as her celiac disease is not active, she should in theory perform just fine.  

I would be curious as to how you are handling her food while at college.  Can the school safely accommodate her?  I would love to hear about your experience in finding a college that meets your daughter's needs and abilities while maintaining her health.  I have a daughter who will soon be in college and I am sure others on the forum would benefit from your advice.  Not much has been discussed here or in the media about this subject.  

 

Edited by cyclinglady

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