- April 23rd, 2012
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One of the things we try to do here at GFG is provide you with a balance of information that can serve you in the most meaningful way. The challenge for us is to create a site that is not only for people who are new to living the gluten free lifestyle, but also to assist those who are currently living a gluten free lifestyle and want to take their health and physical fitness to the next level. If you are new to the Gladiator and have found us because you are in the process of learning all you can about living gluten free then WELCOME! If you have been here before and are continuing your education about what it means to be strong and healthy in a world without wheat, GLAD YOU’RE BACK! Stick around. Ask questions. And as always we are more than happy to help.
Staying strong and healthy in a world without wheat is easier said then done. But trust me, with the right information coupled with a dash of tenacity and a pinch of perseverance, you will not only feel good again, but you can look your best too. This post is about what it takes to be strong, healthy, and gluten free. There are several reasons that one would need to be on a gluten free diet; however, an accurate diagnosis is essential.
A couple of years ago while I was working out with my buddy at the gym, I noticed this guy on a piece of equipment next to us. He stood out to me because he seemed to have absolutely zero enthusiasm while he was working out. It seemed a bit odd because he had sort of an athletic build, but if anybody looked like they were going through the motions it was this guy. Maybe he just wasn’t feeling it that day, I don’t know. Anyway, I noticed a scar on his knee, and I asked if the scar was from an ACL repair. I’m just making small talk because he is working out on the machine right next to me. He tells me it’s from a motorcycle accident. We chat a little more, introduce ourselves to each other and that was it. About a week or two later I walk into our local supplement store, and there he is looking at the protein powders in the section of the store where they keep the soy based powders. I ask him, “What’s up with the soy protein?” He says, “Nah just looking. I can’t have anything with gluten in it. I just found out I have celiac disease.” And that’s where it begins gladiators, for him and as it does for so many others. The proverbial ascent up Everest to learn, to understand, and to implement this new way of living: celiac disease and the gluten free diet.
As I learned more about my new friend, he shared with me that prior to being diagnosed with celiac disease he struggled for years with feelings of lethargy and fatigue. Not periodic bouts of lethargy and fatigue mind you, but a chronic seemingly insurmountable fatigue that went on day in and day out for years. Keep in mind that the average time it takes a person in the United States to be diagnosed with celiac disease is 4 years. His story like many of your stories is not so unusual. Now here is a guy who was absolutely passionate about fitness and nutrition. He was an athlete in every sense of the word. He worked hard and regularly pushed himself in the gym only to find his efforts completely thwarted. I never asked him this, but I think he continued to show up at the gym just to feel “normal”, and who could blame him. Prior to being diagnosed his desperate plea for answers seemed unattainable, and the weight of it all was beginning to crush him as it would anybody. Unanswered questions turned to confusion, confusion lead to frustration and the frustration left him feeling alone, defeated and depressed.
Many of you reading this may have had similar experiences. Many of you may be researching on behalf of a friend or a loved one. So here is the bottom line.
If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the following health problems listed below with few answers as to what is causing the problem, PLEASE, have them contact their doctor immediately and discuss being tested for celiac disease, gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy. An accurate diagnosis is critical to regaining your health.
• Anxiety (60 million Americans)
• Depression (30 million Americans)
• Fatigue (30-60 million Americans)
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (60 million Americans)
• Weight Loss
• Weight Gain
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
• Difficulty Concentrating
• Arthritis (37 million Americans)
• Fibromyalgia (4 million Americans)
• Asthma (17 million Americans)
• Chronic Sinusitis (39 million Americans)
• Male and Female Infertility
• Headaches (45 million Americans)
• Migrains (28 million Americans)
• Alopecia areata (hair loss)
• Eczema (15 million Americans)
• Psoriasis welts (5.5 million Americans)
• Dermatitis (10 million Americans)
• And many, many others. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
If you do test positive for any one of the aforementioned forms of gluten sensitivity, the next step is education. Whether you are newly diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance or know somebody close to you who is, there are three fantastic resources that absolutely belong on your bookshelf:
1.) CELIAC DISEASE: A Hidden Epidemic by Peter H.R. Green, MD
2.) GLUTEN FREE DIET: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Shelly Case
3.) HEALTHIER WITHOUT WHEAT by Stephen Wangen, MD
(Side note: We are not affiliated with these authors, nor will we be paid for promoting their books. We just believe these three resources are a great launch point for the newbie and an outstanding resource for those already living the gluten free lifestyle.)
In addition to the great information that is of vital importance to your health and is extremely well laid-out in these books, you will also learn what other high quality resources are available to you.
HEALTH & FITNESS
Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease. When a person who has celiac disease ingests gluten the immune system responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body. Even the smallest amount of gluten can set the immune system off destroying healthy tissue in the small intestine. This is why it is imperative that a strict gluten free diet be adhered to, or it will be very difficult for the small intestine to heal and in turn keep you healthy. How long will it take to heal? After years of symptomatic suffering and searching for answers as to why, who wouldn’t want immediate results once you have been diagnosed? Unfortunately, it does take time, and that amount of time will vary from person to person. Some people make claims about miraculous changes in just a couple of weeks, while others will probably feel better over time with positive changes emerging as time passes and the small intestine continues to heal and can now absorb important nutrients that the body needs and uses. Maintaining a gluten free diet is only part of the equation to optimal health and healing. Enter the ‘E’ word.
Exercise. Exercise is important for the health of the human body. We were designed to move, but with the advances in technology we move less and eat more which has yielded a myriad of diseases that plague our society today. For celiacs it is no different. The way we see it is that committing to the gluten free diet puts you half way to healthy. And here’s why. The majority of gluten free food that is found in nature, not manufactured, are the best foods on the planet to nourish your body and help you maintain healthy organs and organ systems. Just add some physical activity a few days a week to keep your heart healthy and your bones and muscles strong, and you are not only going to feel like a million bucks, but you are going to start looking like a million bucks too. You can start right here at The Gluten Free Gladiator. Gluten free health and fitness is our specialty.
Remember the guy from the gym I was telling you about? He has become one of my favorite people and is a good friend. It’s been 2 years since he was diagnosed with celiac disease, and how he looks and feels today is dramatically different from when we first met. The progress he has made is really quite remarkable. He did exactly what we talked about here in this post. 1.) He received an accurate diagnosis. 2.) He learned all he could about celiac disease and the gluten free diet. 3.) He implemented a sound diet and exercise program that evolved as his body continued to heal. He went from a sad, tired, weak, soft 189-pound guy, to a happy, vibrant, strong, solid 185-pound diesel looking dude. No joke, it’s pretty awesome. He found his way, and so can you.
Let me remind you of who we are. We are a team of like-minded individuals who are absolutely driven to achieve extraordinary levels of physical fitness while maintaining a 100% gluten-free lifestyle. We are athletes who are determined to define for ourselves who we are and where we are going regardless of life’s obstacles or the circumstances that surround us. We are men and women who are committed to the process of learning all we can about the disease we share, and develop ways, on every level, to achieve optimal health and fitness. In short, we married something we have to do with something we love to do. We are Gluten Free Gladiators.
We LIVE staying strong and healthy in a world without wheat everyday. Ask us anything, we would be glad to help. If you would like to share your story, by all means do. We would love to hear from you. Now Get After It!