Monday, October 3, 2011

An Unexpected [And Good] Change

Hi guys! I hope all of your days are going as well as a Monday can go :)

I wanted to give you guys an update on a change I have made in the past week that's a pretty big one. But first we gotta start at the beginning of the story.

This year I have been training really hard for cross country. I went on many summer runs, ran with the varsity girls, and did everything I possibly could (including ice baths!) to make sure that I could run the best races possible.

But once school actually started, things began to go downhill. I kept getting cramps while I was running, and since practice was after school I thought that maybe I was eating too much dairy at lunch. So I stopped eating large amounts of dairy (greek yogurt, cheese) that I normally would include in my lunch and started focusing more on getting quality carbs to fuel my runs.

My cramps improved a little, but something still wasn't feeling right. I was feeling tired and fatigued all of the time, and I started to get headaches a lot more often. The past three weeks were probably the worst, especially while running. I was exhausted during the school day, and my body just did not want to run at practice. My legs were drained, and I had no idea why. I was running about the same amount as I did last year, hydrating extremely well, and going to bed at a decent hour.

Something had to give. I was feeling like crap way too often and I knew that something was most definitely wrong.

just had to throw that in there :)

I did some research on possible causes of how I was feeling, but it was my mom who brought one possible issue to my attention.

She suggested that I could be gluten sensitive. After reading an article about a professional athlete who was feeling fatigued all the time until they stopped eating gluten, and doing some more research, I felt like maybe we had finally hit on the solution. 

I know that I am not by any means allergic to gluten. But I also found out that 10% of the population is gluten sensitive and just doesn't know it - and I could be one of those people.

I decided to make a change and try it for a week. Just to see if maybe eating gluten was causing a problem - if it wasn't, then I knew that something else was wrong and pretty soon I would need to go to the doctor.

Even after just one day of not eating gluten, I was feeling so much better than the previous few weeks. Three days of avoiding it and my race on Saturday felt amazing. It was the first cross country race all year that I actually didn't feel fatigued from the start.

So, where does that leave me now? I still am eating gluten-free, and I am feeling great! I wasn't struggling on my eight-mile run today and I feel more energetic. I haven't gotten a headache in awhile and my stomach hasn't given me any problems.

However, I am NOT cutting out gluten forever/completely. It is making me feel much better to eat a gluten-free diet right now and I am performing well in running. But, when running performance is not as big of an issue and cross country season is over, I know that I will eat gluten every once in awhile.

I am going to try to avoid it as much as possible because it just hasn't made me feel good. And to me, being healthy is listening to your body and giving it what it needs. Right now, my body doesn't want gluten. So I'm going to listen.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how my eating has changed [it hasn't too much, surprisingly - if anything, I am getting more quality nutrition!] and some of my new favorite staples.

Have you ever experienced something like this? Where you stopped eating a certain food and realized that it made you feel loads better? 
I would love to hear some of your stories!

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