About 6 weeks ago I gave up gluten. I was not presenting with any celiac symptoms or intolerance but I have been reading a lot from Robb Wolf lately and decided to give it a go. There are lot of things gluten does that you don't think about. The main problem with it is that gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, gets stuck in the microvilli of your intestines and causes inflammation. I don't want to bore you with science, but I found that was enough of an argument for me to try and do without it and see what happens.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You head to Subway and decide to eat just a 6 inch sandwich, because you don't feel like making a pig out of yourself. But even though it's only a 6 inch, you walk away feeling bloated. You feel you stomach distended and you feel "full". Well, that feeling "full" is not full, it's inflammation. You intestines are inflamed and not allowing proper digestion of everything you just put into your gut. Well now that I have cut out gluten, I no longer feel that "full". Even though I have eaten sandwiches with gluten free bread (rice based), I simply don't feel that anymore and it feels great. I participated in this thing over at http://www.glutenfreejan.com/ where you give up gluten for the month of January. Outside of my trip to Chicago where I took in A LOT of Chicago style pizza, I felt incredible all month.
Another side effect of this was energy. I used to be absolutely addicted to Red Bull. Oh yes, the caffeinated God. But having cut gluten out of my diet, I have a ton more energy. My body is actually digesting the food I am taking in and using it for what it is supposed to be used for. It's incredible. That was something I was not expecting.
So how does this tie in to my marathon training? Carbohydrates. The might USDA tells us that we need to get about 5-6 servings of whole grains as per the food guide pyramid. They say this because they think we need a diet of ~60% carbohydrates. The whole grains also are supposed to provide fiber. Well, when you don't have the sticky inflammation in your intestines that gluten, whole grains, cause, you absorb all of the rest of the carbs from fruits, veggies, and other rice based products. I have taken in a lot more fruits and vegetables lately and feel I have enough carbs. My body is successfully processing the fats and protein I take in. Gluconeogenesis, converting fats/protein to glucose, occurs easier also. It's because once the inflammation is taken away, everything in the digestive process occurs easier. It's amazing.
WHile my guy Robb Wolf would like me to go full paleo diet, I don't see that happening. At least not yet. But I am amazed at how I feel. I encourage you to give it a try. Give it 30 days and see how it feels.