That has been the typical reaction from many close friends/family when I shared the results of my blood test from my experience with InsideTracker last month. As I shared in my earlier blog posts, I recently got an inside look of what the heck is going on inside my body, and some obvious reasons as to why my running performances and health have frequently taken nose dives the past few years. Thankfully I didn’t have to be an expert in nutrition or go to an expert to find out what to do from here. Each biomarker tested (IE: Iron Group, Calcium, Vitamin D, Testosterone, Glucose, Cholesterol…) had specific easy to follow recommendations on how to boost (or lower) your levels if you happen to really suck in that category (as I did in several…)
Wheat Free- Unnecessary and sorta Crazy
Since then, I’ve been extremely motivated and inspired to these easy to follow changes, which in turn have done wonders for my body’s ability to handle my demanding schedule and intense running regiment I willingly undergo as my hobby each week. In the past, much of my nutrition has just been a guessing game, and in some ways I took drastic measures.
In 2012 I heard gluten was poison and the reason why I my iron wasn’t being absorped. I was also nursing a very fussy baby who seemed to have a reaction to my milk, which also prompted me to try the gluten free route (as well as limiting dairy, spicy food and soy). My reaction – pretend to be a Celiac and deal with annoyingly requesting gluten free items at restaurants or events, or avoiding eating dinner at people’s houses and spending WAY too much money on gluten free substitutes. I truly have sympathy for people who do indeed suffer with Celiac, but playing pretend was not much fun either.
Thankfully I could just opt out of my gluten free diet and still have a life outside sticking by the toilet. With no tests to confirm wheat was messing with me, I completely restricted to my diet to less than 1-2 servings a week for over a year, with a few splurges up until the past few months (This was typically in the form of a rare beer, a bite or two of Dave’s Killer Bread or accidental ingestion of soy sauce in Thai food).
The result, I definitely dropped the baby weight in 2012 due to limiting one of my favorite food source (see scrawny me photo w/ very young Joanie), but my iron levels still remained on borderline anemic status, with a significant drop in my abilities at the end of each month’s menstrual cycle. Since adding healthy sources of gluten back into my diet (as recommended by InsideTracker) my energy and ability to recover has skyrocketed. Wheat has only been a small part of the picture this last month, and actually the least amount of change. What I have been doing is upping my nuts, beans, fruit and vegetable game with the right kind of stuff. Feeling dehydrated – not happening with the addition of crazy smoothie concoctions. My nap cravings have completely ended, which is something that is a completely foreign concept since discovering the luxury of the hour nap in college. Naps =utilizing its power at any chance possible since 2001.
Berries have been high on my list of InsideTracker recommendations and my body seems to really be enjoying the addition. Instead of my basic fruit intake typically in the form of apple, pineapple, orange, banana and purple drink; I now have made blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries all staples. I’m finally reversing the damage of life stresses- being a parent, training, moving, etc. I’m also confident I am making a dent in my high cholesterol. My favorite way to eat more fruit has been buying frozen fruit in bulk and adding to smoothies. I have also been adventurous in the produce department trying to add much more variety.
“Ketchup is a Vegetable”
I have always been conscious of having vegetables at each meal, but got in the rut of the usuals (carrots, tomato sauce, salad, etc), and scaled way back on total amount in the days leading up to races due to fear of mass fiber consumption and accelerating the affect of any pre-race nerves. Eventually the less veggies thing became a habit and before I knew it I was counting ketchup as one of my 6 vegetables of the day. Since adding more veggies back I have noticed my body’s reaction has been intense vegetable cravings for more in the form of soups, salads and my own form of a healthy stir fry.
In every Biomarker category I failed, there seemed to be a nut that was a good source of whatever I was lacking. Although I put peanut butter on just about everything, I wasn’t giving the other guys a chance. So now I am adding walnuts, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and pistachios to name some. This is typically in the early afternoon when I was previously eating some high carb sugary snack to fight the urge to nap. My nightly sugar cravings have also dropped due to adding more calories in the form of nutrient dense smoothies, as well as my energy levels outside of my workouts. The effects from these small changes have been very noticeable….
REAL TRAINING RESULTS!! Not just another blood test
I have only one race under my belt (last blog – XC Nationals) since I started striving with direction for positive change, but the true measure that on my way to another break thru has been what has followed. My consistency since that positive race has been a solid streak of 2 quality intense workouts a week, 6-7 days running, lifting; and the ability not to be fazed when my daily mileage totals over 12. Even getting over the 15 mile mark in single runs, I have the feeling like my last mile as strong as my first. (My past life, all miles over 10 I was looking forward to stopping!!)
Only a year ago, I was avoiding double digit days thinking I could still run fast without the meat and potatoes of long runs. It worked temporarily, but I crumbled in the late spring 2014 when the races really counted. I’m ready to bring on 2015 armed with knowledge and information of what I need to get faster, stronger and recover smarter thanks to InsideTracker. I am excited to continue sharing my success and wanted to get the word out. Interested in seeing what InsideTracker can do for you? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, I’d love to hear if I could help you out !!