Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Needed Change of Eating Lifestyle | Food Does Not Define Me

Last February, I decided to go meatless.  I am not a fan of meat, never have been.  At that time & sadly, I was still suffering from constant GI issue lingering from the RnRLV 2011 disaster.  According to my Dr, it would take up to 6 months to heal.

Unfortunately, the GI issues did not improve, in fact - it got worse as months went on.  For several years,  I had dealt with unexplainable bloating. My stomach would bloat so much, I couldn't wear my typical pants.  I never knew what triggered it - it just happened, without warning.  Yet, this past year, it has been a daily happening. 

photo: http://inagrandfashion.wordpress.com

As a Sports Nutritionist, I receive emails about a wide variety of topics.  Most are far beyond my expertise and need a medical professional.  I am not a Medical Professional, I am not a Doctor.

In the past year, I receive an email at least once a day about eating Gluten-Free. It's a trend that has taken the sports industry by storm.  Honestly, I didn't pay much attention to it.  I knew those who ate GF had Celiac disease or Leaky Gut.  It wasn't on my radar for myself or my family.

Until I received this email...here is a cut and paste

"Charlene, I am scared to death. I have these horrible bloating feelings and they won't go away.  Do you know if this is caused by wheat or gluten?"

At that time, I decided to do some research. I felt it was time to dig into this GF phenomenon.  That night, I started reading...and researching. 

The books that started my research
I had a sandwich for dinner.  That night, I woke up in horrible stomach pains.  I laid there in bed thinking...what in the world is going on?  I eat healthy.  What could be bothering me so much?  As I turned over in my bed and looked at my night table I saw the book.  I stared at it and thought..."no way, it can't be gluten, I have been eating sandwiches and breads for years...but, I have been eating more sandwiches and breads the last year"

I got up out of bed and stretched out, sometimes stretching out would eliminate the bloating.  I kept thinking about our Disneyland trip and how we ate bread bowls with clam chowder.  Those nights, I had horrible bloating and gas.

I couldn't go back to sleep, so I read the book.  It is not over dramatizing to say, I had tears in my eyes while reading how gluten intolerance is developed, especially in athletes.  How a major GI issue (aka my RnRLV 2011 disaster) can bring about a dormat Gluten intolerance.  The bells and whistles started going off in my head.

Yet, I was skeptical.  

That next morning, I drank my typical fruit smoothie in my NutriBullet.  I pulled out the bread and thougth, "no, not now - let's see if I get my typical morning bloats and gas".  I didn't eat the bread.

An hour went buy, nothing.  I mean NOTHING happened.  Hmmmm.

I ate some clam chowder (it was certified GF, ironically).  No issues.  Nothing.

Salad for dinner, no breads.

I did this for a few days.  

I was feeling quite well, in fact - REAL WELL and I couldn't help but notice my stomach wasn't as puffy as it typically is.

On the 3rd night dinner, I made the choice to eat gluten. I ate some tortillas (yes, it has gluten).  I guzzled it with a glass of water and went about the rest of the evening.  I felt fine, really - until I started to go down the stairs and it HIT.  It happened so fast, I could also watch my stomach grow from the bloat.

I went to bed and woke up with more horrible pains.  3 days I had been bloat free and it came back.  Eventually it went away, but the memory did not.

That day, I told my husband that I know, without any hesitation that I need to eat GF.  For me to even say that, is so foreign.  It's not a negative, but I don't want it to define me.  So many bloggers and athletes are known as "they are that GF blogger" or "they are that GF runner"

That isn't me.  Food does not and never will define me.  I am a female athlete who happens to eat GF.

Will this new way of eating change my food habits?  Absolutely.  Will I stay vegan?  I eat fish from time to time.  Eating GF is not a matter of if I should or shouldn't - it's needed.  Yet, I am grateful for the last year that I was able to develop strong and clean eating habits, so the switch isn't too bad.

I am grateful that for the past few days, I have been stomach pain free. It's amazing how much better I feel without all this bloating and gas that has plagued me for years and especially since RnRLV 2011.

I continue my research and learning, but I will not let food define me.  

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-12
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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*San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2012-13
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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