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The Gluten Free Trap

I wish this weren’t the case…but we see it all the time. There is always that person that tries to cut every corner or bend every rule in such a way that it gives them an advantage or allows them to circumvent the traditional method of doing something. Our mothers and fathers have been telling us for years: “If you can’t do something right…why do it at all?”

There were several instances at the Dirty South games that athletes tried to alter the way an exercise was done in order to do it faster or expend less energy. I would compare this to the questions we have been getting about gluten and the paleo diet. Is the Paleo Diet gluten free….ABSOLUTELY! There is no arguing that one of the pillars to a successful paleo diet is the removal of gluten from one’s daily consumption. Ok….here’s where the fun part comes in! Did paleo man have access to gluten free pastas, flours, cookies and cakes…HELL NO! No one is forcing any of you to be in this challenge…if you are so desperate for cake or flour that you have to pour a bunch of gluten free garbage down your piehole…fine. I will tell you now that you will not get nearly the results you are looking for and for certain will have no shot at winning this contest.

I can hear your cries and pleas now…so let me address them by saying this: if you cut this corner, you WILL NOT succeed on paleo. Here is my non-science reason why you will fail. One of the major components to the paleo diet is the concept of eating until you are full and then not eating again until you are hungry. Traditional hunger pangs have to do with sugar levels and insulin sensitivity in your body. Since pastas, cakes, flours, cookies pack such a sugar load…introducing them into your paleo diet allows you to consume WAY more sugar than you normally would if you were eating say: broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, strawberries. If that doesn’t make sense to some of you…then I’m happy to sit down with you and a ball peen hammer to discuss.

On a side note…there has been some confusion as to the inclusion of heavy whipping cream in our otherwise perfect paleo world for 30 days. Let’s clear the air right now. NO Heavy Whipping Cream during the first 30. Some of you were confused and were kind enough to ask off blog…your HWC consumption will not be counted against you for the first two weeks.

Reader Comments (37)

If this one seems a little harsh...it's basically several days of pent up frustration over some of you asking if everything from gluten flour to gum drops was OK to eat...as long as it's gluten free. This PoPo had to do a little venting.

Hope your 30...soon to be 90 is coming along well. The food logs are looking crisper. Please make sure you have either e-mailed them to Julie or posted them to the BTB90 blog by tomorrow morning

June 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterCharles

I have to say, these posts from Charles are really rude. I dont really see how they help anyone. If you're helping to run a paleo competition, its natural that the competitors will use you as an expert. That means answering questions, and answering the same question over and over. While i certainly understand the frustation that would accompany such a scenario, there is a level of professionalism that should be maintained. This looks bad on Charles, Julie, Jeff, Melissa and the gym.

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous blogger

The post may have come across as rude, but I think it comes from a natural frustration in getting asked questions that seem obvious. For fans of logic proofs, "IF Paleo THEN Gluten-free" does not imply "IF Gluten-free THEN Paleo". What I, the casual observer, am picking up is that people may be seeing the Paleo thing as a certain set of foods is clearly excluded, so everything outside of that set may or may not be okay. It is the converse, where a certain set of foods is allowed (nuts, fruit, veggies, dead animals) and everything else is out. That may be a simplified definition of Paleo, but it seems appropriate in light of the overcomplications that people are experiencing.

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJason (Fletcher)

Foods eaten by Paleolithic man...foods not containing Gluten, although one might believe them to be mutually exclusive, they are not...

I dig the simplification Jason. You are concise and correct...

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

All I have to say is limit/eliminate processed foodsl; which is what these gluten free "foods" are

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSchumacher

Anonymous, sorry you don't like my methods. I'm also sorry that you don't see all the encouraging, thoughtful e-mails that I send to those participants that take this seriously and read their material.

I'm also sorry that you don't eat meat (just get a real vegan vibe from you). Thanks for chiming in. The view must be nice from that world of anonymity from which you perch.

To the rest of the 90. Guys...like I said in my first post following this Blog Topic...sorry for the venting. The PoPo is very much encouraged by your food logs...they are looking all kinds of good. Keep up the great work and please do post questions/thoughts/concerns. Don't let anonymous get you down.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVinings Charles

Wow- awful sensitive today. Love the lively discussion. I think the vast majority of you understand what we are trying to accomplish with The 90 and any blunt talk does not apply to you, nor does it offend you. A little brash talk is necessary sometimes. I'm not sure where we went wrong, but I think we made it pretty clear- 30 days- follow the list. Thats it. I have to say what we have done has been of the upmost professionalism. We want nothing more than everyone to succeed and to please lean on us for expertise. That is what we are here for. However, one must understand that there is a good deal of $ on the line, a free months membership and 40 folks that we are working very diligently to keep up with. Believe me, we do not mind answering questions..... legitimate questions. A lot of what has come through that may have pushed the Po Po a bit are very obvious questions from folks looking to get around a stead fast rule. The Po Po at a certain point, after spending hours and hours preparing the contest, teaching the participants about the science behind it, hours and hours running it, feel that there might just be a basic lack of respect for our time when we get questions from folks who have not taken the time to read the materials that have been disseminated through the various channels. We actually had a question the other day- "What food list?" Remember- teach a man to fish, feed him for life. Give him a fish- feed him once. We want everyone to learn how to eat right for life- not just good enough to make it through a contest. You guys are all doing great and I can't wait to see what is on the other side of all this. It is going to be awesome

June 16, 2009 | Registered CommenterBTB

While I am not the "Anonymous" blogger, I think what they are saying is “Have patience with us; we are learning.”

All of us are committed to The 90 and living as Paleo as we know how. Some you have been that this much, much longer than us. What may seem obvious to some may need to be written clearer for others.

For some of us, Paleo is BRAND SPANKING NEW way of eating, of thinking, of living. And after 30 (+ or -) years, it can be a huge change that we are making and a little daunting at times. We will have questions because we honestly don’t know or want to understand why or some of the self researched information is conflicting. We might need to be led down the right path and have things explained (yes, sometimes more than once) to us.

We are all aiming for the same purpose – healthy lifestyle, better performance. All we’re asking for is a little patience and understanding as we get there.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah A. - Freedom

Hey, i havent gotten any thoughtful and encouraging emails. I demand thoughtful and encouraging emails now!

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFelkey

Hey Sarah, agreed...it is tough when you are first getting started...we have all been there! The frustration on our part comes in when we give out a food list and instead of working with those foods, we see a few folks trying to "make" foods fit on the list. Believe me, I understand wanting to do that! However, our goal for the first 30 is to get you guys completely off the crack! Use your Food Matrix for the first 30 days and all will be well. I think we are all clear on that now though! And again, we feel your pain, we understand and compassion abounds from the po po!

And to the earlier comment, professionalism? What BTB do you attend? Half of what we do is irreverent and wrong!

Have a great day all!
PS: new bfast idea w/o eggs:
Chopped up turkey or ham (bite sized), saute til brown.
Add 1/4-1/2 onion, diced + 2 med zucchini diced.
Pepper to taste.
Enjoy Zucchini and Ham Hash.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Ah, so easy to fall into the trap! I know I've teetered on the brink. It seems that a lot of people are having difficulty with this "new" way of thinking about nutrition. How about this: K.I.S.S.??? That's what I am trying to do and it also really helps me to remember "don't let perfect get in the way of good." When you focus on the "no-no's," you'll find yourself on the defensive and try to find ways to circumvent the "rules." Rather, let's think of it as a way to eat only FRESH, QUALITY foods. A great side effect of Paleo for me has been the addition of more fresh vegetables and fruits and the omission of cookies, cakes, ice cream, sugary alcoholic drinks, frappuccinos, "healthy" bagels and granola bars, all foods I ate because I had the excuse of, "OH, I work out, I can eat anything I want!" Like Charles said, "sh*tty food is just sh*tty food." At the start of The 90, I had to ask myself if what I had been doing before was working for me and would it be worth my time and effort to try something different. Yes, it can be really hard sometimes but in the grand scheme of things, it's 90 days. Ask yourself why you are doing this and what you want to get out of it. Instead of being on the defensive, be proactive.

I am in this, too, and can only speak from experience. For me, it's been really difficult, especially the weekends. Last night though, I cleaned out my pantry of the last of my oatmeal and peanut butter that I was holding on to for after The 90. I feel like I won't want them after and I don't even miss them. For those of you who are taking this seriously or those who have been down this path before, when was your AHA! moment? For those that aren't quite there yet, do you feel like you're getting over the energy and cravings slump? Do you feel like you're getting closer to your AHA! moment?

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLevi - Piedmont AM

AMEN LEVI! Right there with ya girl....

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSydney

I truly do appreciate the patience that so many of the 90 have shown with us. We are trying to show the same to all of you...just understand that there is in fact a method to our madness.

Going strict for 30 days rules out a ton of foods, mostly the ones you have been asking about. Stick to the list and by the time the 30 days are over...you'll have a much deeper knowledge base to draw from when making decisions about what you put in your tummy.

Kittens and butterflies!

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVinings Charles

Levi! You have turned the corner. Atta girl. Felkey- not receiving demoralizing and punitive emails from me daily should be considered as encouraging and thoughtful- how's that?

June 16, 2009 | Registered CommenterBTB

Wow...Levi, you are dead on. I wrote my last post before yours updated. The AHA moment is critical and dead on.

For me, the AHA moment came on tax day. I had put a ton of weight on after my quit in October 08 (tobacco). I went strict Paleo for 45 days starting January 6th and after that decided to keep it pretty dialed in. In 3 months, I lost 4 pounds of fat...but put on 9 pounds of muscle (muscle gains were really my goal). 4/15/09 was when I had my bodyfat test and confirmed the results.

This stuff works for sure. Here is the really cool thing...we have asked all of you to get through 30 days and then we will assess things. Depending on your goals for the challenge (fat loss, performance gain, muscle gain???) we can dial you in even more to acheive what you're looking for.

Now the final "really cool thing". Regardless of what your end goal is...you will get benefits across a broad spectrum of fitness markers: blood, cardio, strength..they all get better.

Levi...you won't miss that peanut butter. Cashew and Almond rule...way to step it up and finally clean that crap out of your pantry!

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVinings Charles

There are a lot of things going on today on the blog, a lot of frustration, and a lot of people not listening to each other or in this case comprehending since we are all reading.

Levi makes a great point and I think last week a lot of my failures and there were a lot of them starting Thursday afternoon with a blizzard and running right into Sunday morning with some pancakes at the Majestic. But my failure goes directly to Levi's point I was so worried about perfection that I fell into my old habit of becoming self destructive and sabotaging my own success. It’s easy to run back to habits that you thought were gone after nine months of changing your lifestyle but are still lurking in the back of the closet waiting for that moment of self-doubt to come out and beat the shit out of you.

So here is my suggestion let’s all take a deep breath it’s been an intense two weeks and we all feel like the water is rising and its getting our heads. We are all feeling boxed in by rules and too focused on perfection and success to win a prize. Guess what we are all going to win the prize if we take what we learn from this experience and learn to live and eat healthier. Also, remember no one is going under. If there is one thing I have learned in the nine months I have been here about all of us, is that BTB is the biggest support group around and we would never let anyone fall aside with out going back to help them pick themselves up and get back in the race.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaly

Daly, Levy, Sarah A.--Well said.

And, as for an AHA moment, how about finding the perfect wedding dress and visualizing looking (even more!! HAHA) smoking hot in it as I walk down the aisle next May?

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

So based on the strict foods list looks like I have to say goodbye to my beloved coconut milk over berries in the AM... Hopefully we can group this in the HWC category and not count it for the 1st 2 weeks... HA!

coconut milk see you in a few weeks.... MAYBE.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSydney

Wow - I love Levi's comment but Jason's logic absolutely nailed it. It makes it so clear to me, but maybe that is because I am an engineer...

And to be perfectly honest, I don't find this boring at all. Seriously, go to the Dekalb Farmer's Market and wander in the veggie aisles. Get away from the spinach-lettuce-bell pepper aisles (well, ok, pick some up on your way) and venture down the weird aisles. There are so many kinds of vegetables to try out - how could you get bored? Then wind over to the spice aisle, pick up one RANDOM container and try it out (it will only cost you a whopping 98 cents and you can throw it away if you don't like it). Then, meander over to the fruit and pick up something odd looking. Ever try Jackfruit? I would not have even give it a second look if they didn't have it already cut up and waiting on a little table. Yummy. This has given me a great excuse to pick up some random stuff I would never have tried before.

*Hint - if you don't know what you are getting or how to even pick it out, wait until someone comes by who actually knows how to judge if it is ripe or not and ask them how they cook it. It works everytime, that is if they speak English. One time it was really funny because the lady tried to demonstrate how to cook this weird vegetable and I couldn't tell what "sauce" she was putting into the "pan"...

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

One side note - when wandering, wander AWAY from the things next to the potatoes and roots. Paleo man thinks those veggies look disgusting and aren't "on the list". I assume leafy = good and rooty = not good.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

My "AHA" moment is really moments.....I have started to notice that I am sleeping like a baby and every single day waking up in the morning feeling so great and so refreshed. This is an amazing thing for me as I can tell you....I have not felt this way in as long as I can remember. I also am finding that I feel "lighter"....while I am full after every meal, I do not feel bloated, weighted down, etc like I have in the past.
I know that I haven't been "perfect" during these first couple of weeks, but I am finding that what this 90 challenge is providing to me is an opportunity to develop habits that will last me a lifetime. And each day I am dialing in more and more into how I can make this work in the long term. I have tried other "diets" over the years (there are many...I am old!). But I've always failed at them because I felt that they were exactly that....a "diet" with an end point. What I feel like we are really getting from Jules, Charles, Melissa and Jeff is the opportunity to develop lifetime eating habits and a new way of thinking about what we put into our bodies. Changing habits is hard and I appreciate all the input and support of the PoPo and this blog group.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary

I was talking to my mom about paleo last night and she asked me an excellent question, "how are you getting enough calcium?". I've always gotten my daily calcium from milk, and although I'm still getting some, I know I'm not getting enough...and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I know that the only supplement we're supposed to be taking is Fish Oil, but I'm concerned about calcium (no osteoperosis for me, thank you very much). Are there any recommendations outside of calcium/vitD supplements? I know broccoli & spinach are also good sources, but I'm not sure I can eat enough of either every day.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah M

You will get more calcium from green leafy veggies than you would ever get from diary. Just eat your veggies and you will be fine.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSchumacher

This may seem like an odd question but is anyone else getting dehydrated faster than normal? The last few workouts I've noticed I feel dehydrated way sooner than I used to. I'm drinking a ton more water but it still seems to be happening. Thoughts?

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah A. - Freedom

For all of you sugar-sensitive people, I feel your pain, its a hard train to stop:

My AHA moment was two weeks ago. I just received my bod pod results and was not happy about it (but its a starting point). I decided to listen to our trainers and fill up on more veggies instead of fruit. Earlier this year, I spent five months on the Zone thinking I was helping myself by eating fruit and I was not seeing the results I wanted. That evening I cooked up an extra batch of veggies for my breakfast the following day before I left for my 7:30 am flight. Despite being up at an atrocious hour (say what you want early birds-there is a reason I go to CF in the afternoons) I felt better that entire morning and through the day. After that I decided to just eat my veggies and I haven't looked back. I can't explain to you how much better I feel.

I tried 1/2 an apple one morning about a week ago for more carbs but I crashed half an hour later because I am that sugar sensitive- I went through some major withdrawal early on, but I feel awesome now because of it and my clothes are becoming baggy and I've lost 5+ pounds (I know that's not the best measure of success). The materials the Paleo Police put together have made this so much easier for me (yay for no measuring!). I do not have cravings anymore and I can't think about eating something that is going to make feel bad later on. I appreciate all of the hardwork that has gone into creating this program and know that it is setting me up to make better choices for life.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

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