So, when is a virus not virus? When it's something else.
Those of you who have been following my blog, or just know me, will know of the ongoing viruses I encounter at least twice a year that knock me around, plus my ongoing issues with recovery from training etc. I've learnt to label all these "health" (for want of a better name) issues as viral ie outcomes of dealing with a "virus". I have also learnt that "virus" is a catch all phrase that doctors use to label generalised health maladies in otherwise fit, athletic and "healthy" (blood pressure, pulse, weight, regular GP blood testing etc) individuals that means "I got no idea, but I am not admitting it".
Most of you won't know I have IBS, and have done for many years. Now, that's not something one talks about in general conversation. It's rather personal, and private, with the personal and private being heavily supported by social conventions and behaviours. For me, it's not something to make a big deal of. After lots of reading, lots of thinking, and a visit to an exercise physiologist/nutritionist yesterday, I am making connections between IBS, and my viruses. And those connections are making more sense than the some of the crap (yes, that was deliberate) that has come of GPs mouths at me over the last couple of years. So an investigation is in process, but in the meantime I am inspired.
Food is a crucial part of an athlete's training. We need to be very conscious about ingesting adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats and nutrients. If we don't, our ability to train, recover from training and to race at our peak is severely impacted. And we all like to eat well. Well. most of us do. One bike rider I know could eat shit on toast and be happy, so long as his belly is full. But that's another story. But what happens when what is considered a regular, healthy athletic diet, actually does the opposite for you? What happens when you eat what is considered an extremely healthy diet, full of fruit, vegetables, protein, a range of healthy carbohydrate sources, and suddenly a significant number of foods that you would regularly include in your weekly diet have to be removed? I am not just talking about wheat and gluten, but high fructose fruit and vegetables, or worse, combinations of fruit and vegetables.
At that point, it can be a bit of a mindf^ck. Luckily the exercise phys yesterday put me onto the ShepherdWorks website, which is Melbourne-based facility, providing qualified advice and support for a range of gastroenterologically challenged people. It's an excellent starting point. Next step was to google food intolerances in athletes, and variations on that theme. The two most edifying bits of information I could find, out of 4 articles in total relating to the topic were: acai berries are a must for athletes with food intolerances (no, I don't want to go to your store, thanks) and "athletes with food intolerances typically know what foods cause them problems". Er, no, they don't. Gross generalisation is not helpful, but thanks for trying.
So it got me thinking. Is there a need out there for support, a list of resources, experience by others, for gastroinstestinally challenged athletes? Most of the stuff I have come across is for average joes, who may also have other issues related to their gut problems (diabetes, auto-immune disease, obesity etc). There are no answers to my questions of how do you put together a gluten, wheat free, low fructose diet using the paleo diet principles, plus Cordain's/Berardi's principles of nutrient timing (eg starchy carbs directly and ONLY after or immediately before exercise).
It all gets a bit complicated. And, to be honest, tiresome. I like cooking, I enjoy eating well, and eating fresh, flavoursome food. I enjoy problem-solving, but sometimes it just gets to the point where it's FEED ME!!! time, and I can't be bothered worry about whether homemade hummus is paleo (it's not) or if the sourdough rye bread I am about to spread it on is paleo, Berardi and good for my challenged guts (none of the above, depending on timing!). I am hungry and I just wanna eat, and that's what I feel like eating.
So I am toying with starting a new blog: EatMyDragster, with good links, good information, my experiences training, travelling, eating, Or maybe not. Stay tuned.
29 minutes ago