Five Reasons you Should Consider Going Gluten-Free

This is a guest post by Drew Manning of fit2fat2fit. While I agree with what he says, keep in mind that he’s not specifically referring to slow-carb. I don’t want to get hate mail about how quinoa isn’t slow carb or asking if bananas are OK on slow-carb. 😉

Fice Reasons You Should Go Gluten FreeThere are countless reasons to live a gluten-free life, but many find themselves turning toward this new lifestyle in an effort to cut out harmful, processed foods. Every day, people around the world make the choice to ditch gluten once and for all. These are five different reasons you should be making that choice as well.

1. A gluten-free diet gives you better access to vitamins and antioxidants.

For those who have lax eating habits, snacks typically take the form of heavily processed foods that contain questionable ingredients. However, on a gluten-free diet, vegetables and fruits are often eaten as snacks, and they are packed with antioxidants and vitamins! Seriously; try eating a banana in place of a bag of potato chips next time you’re craving a snack. You’ll feel lots better physically and mentally.

2. It will be easier to lose weight.

Are you struggling to get a stubborn 20 pounds off? A gluten-free lifestyle promotes healthier eating, which in turn leads to more weight lost if you’re trying to simultaneously diet. Going gluten-free will help you cut the starch from your diet, as well as the inches from your waist. Even if you weren’t initially planning on going gluten-free for a fresh diet, this is the best time to make the switch!

3. Digestion will no longer be difficult.

When’s the last time something you ate seemed to go down the “wrong pipe?” Research has shown the gluten-free eating can eliminate many digestive issues with ease. Foods that contain gluten are notorious for causing gas, cramping, diarrhea, and bloating. Pharmaceutical companies create medications that are designed to help with indigestion, but they often either don’t work or come packed with their own negative side effects. If you just make the switch to gluten-free food alternatives, you can kiss these issues goodbye naturally.

4. A gluten-free diet will give you quite the energy boost.

If you’re trying to eat healthy whilst keeping gluten in your diet, many of the nutrients and minerals consumed can be lost during digestion. Certain vitamins are directly linked to increasing energy levels, and without them, you can expect to suffer the ill effects of exhaustion. Try a gluten-free diet out for a few days, and you’ll likely find yourself skipping that cup of coffee in the mornings.

5. A gluten-free lifestyle broadens your horizons in terms of food choices.

When you neglect to make healthy food choices, you often go for not-so-nutritious meals that contain many of the same harmful ingredients. However, going gluten-free gives you lots of new food choices you never even knew you had. For example, flour is off limits on a gluten-free diet, but rice, quinoa, and ancient grains are often used in its place. The best part is that they taste wonderful! There are endless amounts of possibilities when you choose to go gluten-free.

Drew Manning is the owner and creator of As a fitness coach and nutritional trainer he loves helping people succeed with their health goals. In his spare time he loves spending time with his wife Lynn and their two daughters.

photo by Czarina Alegre on Flickr.

Why I’m doing Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet

I’ve been a fan of Tim Ferris for awhile now.  I read the The Four Hour Work Week  (4HWW) years ago when it first came out.   4HWW was part of the inspiration for me leaving my corporate job in San Francisco in 2008 and spending 2009 living overseas and starting to experiment with lifestyle design.

Last year, I proved to myself that I was able to work and support myself from anywhere so long as I had a computer in front of me, but without a steady routine in place, I also put on about 25lbs in the process.    On a female of 5’3” that’s not a pretty sight and surely not healthy.  That’s where The Four Hour Body Comes In.

A bit of history on me and my weight:

My weight has fluctuated between 120 and 130 since graduating from college.  I could work my ass off and weigh 120 but was pretty miserable doing so, or I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and weigh around 130 but wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror.  On a 5’3” frame, a lb of fat is way more visible than on someone who’s even just a few inches taller.  There’s just nowhere for it to go.

To borrow Tim’s idea of the Minimum Effective Dose (MED), I crudely assessed that I could maintain a reasonably in-shape body by doing some sort of work out about 4x a week, drinking only on weekends 2x per week and eliminating carbs during the week but eating whatever I wanted on the weekends.   This was all based on crude observation, but it seemed to work, it wasn’t too much trouble, and I wasn’t really willing to work much harder.

Fast forward two years from leaving my job in 2008.  I spent most of 2009 “on the road” in South East Asia and then all of 2010 “setting up camp” in Australia.  I ate whatever I wanted (by 2010 I was pretty much eating like an “Aussie bloke” because I was cooking food I knew my Australian boyfriend would like) and got almost no exercise.  I was a bit in denial of the weight gain.  I didn’t have a full-length mirror or a scale at my apartment, but I could tell from the way my close were fitting (or not fitting) that I’d put on a lot of weight.  I didn’t even want to guess how much.

When my last pair of jeans that still fit suddenly wouldn’t button one day in October 2010, I finally went and bought a scale.  I was horrified when the numbers on the scale wouldn’t keep up the lie for me.  149.

Holy Shit!

25 lbs?  In a little over a year?

I resolved to start a new way of eating the next day.  I’d dabbled in low-carb before and knew how quickly the body responds to that way of eating, so immediately I started the South Beach Diet, Phase 1.  I dropped 10 lbs in about 2 weeks and then decided I wanted to move to something more sustainable.  I wanted some carbs, and I knew I was probably eating way too much cheese.

I searched around on the internet and found Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure which focuses on controlling insulin levels by eating the “right” carbs and also eliminating “false belly fat” (basically stored up undigested food) that’s festering in your gut and making you fat.   Essentially, you can eat any carbs you want, but the quantity of sugar and carbs is monitored so it’s in your best interest to eat high quality carbs as you can have more of them in addition to taking in as much fiber as possible.

I tried to follow the plan the best I could based on directions I’d found on internet forums as I waited impatiently for 10 weeks to get the book I ordered delivered (some things take obscenely long in Australia.)  I felt pretty good on the plan (rarely hungry),  but my weight stayed the same, which was good in that I kept off the 10 lbs I lost, but it was really frustrating that for some reason my body seemed to want to hold onto the weight.

At this point I became convinced that either the Set Point Theory (the theory that an individual’s metabolism will adjust itself to maintain a weight at which it is comfortable) was inevitable or that my body was extremely sensitive to gluten so I started experiment.

When I replaced whole grain bread or tortillas with beans or even brown rice, I saw some movement on the scale.  I never got around to fully testing the theory before I had to head home to San Francisco for the holidays in December.  On a side note: Just a week or so before heading back, I’d pre-ordered a copy of The Four Hour Body without knowing anything about it.

When I got there, my copy of The Four Hour Body was waiting, and I skipped straight to the weight-loss sections.  After reading about Slow Carb, it really seemed to jive with some of the anecdotal discoveries I’d made recently as well as in the past, so I decided I’d give it a try once I returned to Oz in the new year.

The goal right now is 20lbs! I figure there’s no reason I shouldn’t try to look better at 30 than I did at 20.

So, here I go.  Wish me luck.