Going Gluten Free- A Call for Help!

Last week was filled with all of the exciting changes I had hoped for. Monday was my first day as a full-time graduate student. This was a much-needed change that I decided on two days after the Boston Marathon. I was already accepted and enrolled in my graduate program but I’d been doing one class at a time, mostly online and at a rate that would have me graduating in 10 years, if ever. Making the choice to go back full-time was an easy one after Boston put the important factors in life into perspective. I couldn’t be happier to be back in class but there is definitely an adjustment curve to the lifestyle. Not just the early morning classes following late night bartending shifts; but little things like wardrobe choices.

A few things I remember doing in college I thought I did simply because I was in college and that’s what college kids did. Not quite. A few things I’ve remembered this week…

 

–       College kids wear hoodies because they’re lazy. We also wear hoodies because when it unexpectedly starts raining when you’re in class and the parking lot is on the other side of campus you have an instant mini-umbrella. Would have been nice to remember before the flash flood warnings started going off on everyone’s smart phones during Bio.

–       Text books really are that expensive. iPads are even more expensive. These expenses are offset by buying the $8 bottle of Pinot Grigio instead of the $12 bottle. Over a semester that’s going to add up.

–       Getting to class on time < Having coffee for your first class

–       Always make sure your schedule allows you to watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before class. I failed this one.

 

I also started my 16-week training schedule for the Cape Cod Marathon Chowdah Challenge and I’m feeling pretty positive with how the first week shaped up. My long runs were a very conservative, very consistent 10:30 which I’m happy with for this point in my training.  Keeping my long runs :90/mi slower than my marathon goal pace has always been a struggle for me because I’ve never been quite sure what my pace should be. I decided since my goal at Boston 2014 is to BQ, a pace of 8:30-ish/mi; I should be aiming for a 9:00/mi at Cape Cod.

Saturday was the first run where I truly focused on my pace and it was a true effort to maintain the same pace every mile. I would notice myself starting to pick up a little bit after Nike+ chimed in to tell me I had hit another mile marker but I quickly caught myself and slowed back down. Overall, I felt strong and confident with this weekends runs. Great success!

With all those changes last week there was one unexpected and I must admit, not 100% welcome change. For the past few weeks my stomach has been WAY off and I’ve felt like complete crap. A year or so ago my doctor suggested to me that with my other food allergies it was very likely that I am also gluten sensitive, not allergic, but should try cutting gluten out of my diet for a period of time to see if I felt a difference. At the time I thought “No way in hell are you taking my pizza and bagels from me. I’ll deal with a stomachache, thanks.”

Well, last Monday I had hit my limit with feeling like crap so I decided with Jim traveling for work it would be the perfect time to cut out gluten for a few days while I didn’t have someone else’s culinary preferences to worry about. So I went grocery shopping for some gluten free carb options and hoped in the back of my mind that it wasn’t going to change anything.

Twenty-four hours later, I felt amazing. The best I’ve felt in a long time kind of amazing. I kept it going for a few days and each day felt better and better. I honestly think my workouts last week felt so strong because of the dietary change.  Today I tried a couple regular bagel chips to see if I felt any different. About a half hour later my stomach revolted against me in a crampy-pissed-off way that I don’t care to revisit for a long time.

This puts me in a pickle.

I love my carbs, I love my sandwiches and I love food. I also love feeling this great. So I guess I need to suck it up and do what’s best for my health. Any free time I come across this week will now be spent researching gluten free recipes, products and tips. And mourning the loss of my morning bagel. I feel like I should bust out a Whitney tune to the bag of Thomas’s that are about to go into the trash. AAANNNNDDD IIIIII…

Have any of you gone down the gluten free road? Any tips for a newbie? Any favorite products I absolutely MUST try? 

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