Interview With Gluten-Free Olympian Nathan Brannen

By Zach

Hope you all are embracing Celiac Disease Awareness Month to the fullest. In our Tuesday post, we shared a bunch of ideas and activities you can do to promote gluten-free efforts. For today’s post, we’d like to mix things up a bit and have Olympian Nathan Brannen shed some light about his experience with a gluten-free lifestyle as an Olympic Games middle distance runner.

1.    Can you briefly share your personal story of being gluten-free?

The reason I decided to become gluten-free was a result of my coach. Besides being a world-renowned coach, he is also a world-renowned physiotherapist and suggested that I try a gluten-free diet. This gluten-free practice was something he had been doing for years as an injury prevention strategy.

Gluten is a binder and he found that people that had high-level gluten diets tended to be more injury prone than those who were gluten-free. Physiologically, he found gluten also acted as a binder in the body as well, causing muscle and tissue to get stuck and not move or reacted properly. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try since I had been very injury prone over the last few years. I have found my body to feel much healthier and my injuries have been at a minimum since I switched to a gluten-free lifestyle. I have been gluten-free for just over a year, I feel fit and my running is now stronger than ever.


2.    Please tell us a little about yourself and your career.

At the University of Michigan, my freshman roommate, Alan Webb, and I were the first two sub-4 high school milers to run for the same program in history. By the time I ended my Michigan career, I had won four NCAA titles and ran the second-fastest collegiate indoor mile in history.

After earning a silver medal and winning the Canadian 1500m title in 2006, my 2007 season came to an early halt when I sustained a herniated disc near the base of my spine. After missing five months of training, I opted to have surgery in November. Then began the long comeback to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

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Does a Gluten-Free Diet Offer an Athletic Edge?

By Bridget

With the beginning of March Madness college basketball and spring training for the professional baseball season, athletes across the United States are wondering what will give them that slight edge over their competition. They want to run just a little faster, jump an inch higher, and throw a mile faster to win the game and the glory.

Many athletes think they have found the secret trick: focusing on their diet. While most people lead gluten-free lives because of a diagnosis, sports stars from quarterback Drew Brees to tennis player Novak Djokovic (both of whom have a gluten intolerance) have found that a gluten-free diet actually gives them a competitive edge to live out their dreams.

The key to their success is that their gluten-free diet helps them cut down on processed foods, focusing energy consumption on whole, gluten-free grains. The sports stars also report having better energy on the field, and getting a more restful night’s sleep.

One notable change for tennis star Djokovic is his marked improvement on the court. With the elimination of gluten from his diet, Djokovic was able to experience a boost in his mental and physical health, both of which were huge contributors to his dominance in the tennis world over the course of this past year.

Although leading a gluten-free lifestyle is one about changes, these changes are shown to be for the good – and not just for those inflicted with full-blown Celiac’s disease. The focus on carbohydrates that are naturally gluten-free, such as corn, quinoa, and rice, is not just a “fad diet;” it is timeless and healthy way of life.

So instead of carbo-loading and celebrating with a burger and fries, perhaps these college athletes will go for a gluten-free victory.

Michelle Wie Adopts Gluten-Free Diet for Golf

When Novak Djokovic attributed much of his crazy-awesome tennis success to his new, gluten-free diet, he may have started quite the trend.

Not only did Djokovic bring increased attention to the benefits of the gluten-free diet, but he also focused that attention on athletic performance. Now, golf star Michelle Wie has announced her own gluten-free diet. Will it bring her the same runaway success?
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