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Fragile - must be Italian
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been somewhat quiet on MTBR over the past few months, which is rather unusual for me. But it's with good reason. For those of you who aren't on my Facebook list, you probably don't know what's been going on with me...so I figured I would share with my MTBR friends. If you've already heard the news on Facebook, you can skip the thread.

It all started on Halloween weekend. In fact, it was just after the Rage Halloween booze cruise that I started to feel bad. I came down with an intestinal attack -- cramping, diarrhea, more cramping -- something I've been getting on-and-off for the past 4-5 years. Whenever these attacks came on in the past, I would slug it out for 7-10 days and then it would be over. I've always attributed this to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) since these attacks never involved nausia (which is symptomatic of food poisoning).

Well, as the week progressed, things got worse...so I toughed it out for a second week. By mid-November I was still sick and got to the point where I couldn't sleep at night because of all the bloating pain and diarrhea. I stopped riding...stopped working out...and was losing a lot of weight. I even dropped out of the Tour de Tucson.

So I decided to go to the clinic and get tested.

They first tested me for the usual suspects -- parasites, salmonella, e-Coli, amoebas, etc. All of those came back negative.

The following week I went in for more tests, this time for Chron's disease, colitis, Celiac, and some other strange diseases. The Celiac test came back positive.

All along I still had the horrible cramping and diarrhea. On Thanksgiving day I hardly ate anything, and I rode the Flight of the Pigs and felt like crap. Everything I ate just made my stomach do flip-flops. And I felt so weak. By the end of November I had lost about 12 pounds, which is a lot for somebody who weighs 150.

On Dec 6 I went in for a test called an EGD, which is basically an endoscopy and biopsy of the small intestine. It's done to verify a positive blood test for Celiac disease (which I had the week earlier). An EGD is not a very fun test as you are sedated and they put a long tube down your throat and into your intestine. I went home that day feeling really bad from the sedation, and it took a few days for me to fully recover from it because I was just so weak.

Well, the biopsy test came back positive, which means I am confirmed to have Celiac disease (Celiac sprue). For those of you who haven't heard of Celiac, it's an auto-immune deficiency where your body attacks the small intestine when it is fed gluten. There is no cure for Celiac except to go on a 100% gluten-free diet. I won't die if I eat gluten...it just makes me feel sick.

So, for the past 2 weeks I've been on a gluten-free diet, which means NO wheat, barley, rye, or oats....or ANY food with any of these ingredients in them. This is VERY hard to do, especially when I travel on business (almost every week), as wheat and barley are used for fillers in most any food...and "malt flavoring", which is made from barley, is in a lot of foods you would never expect (like RIce Krispies). And here's the killer -- NO BEER! Yes, they make gluten-free beer, but it's impossible to find, it's expensive, and it tastes like ass.

It took about 10 days on the gluten-free diet for me to finally start getting my energy back, and today I would say that I am 80% of the way back to feeling "good". Hopefully by the end of the year I will be there 100% and can start really riding and working out again. They told me my small intestines were damaged and that I was not absorbing any nutrients, but as I give the gluten-free diet some time, my small intestines will heal and I will start getting nutrients again. I've been taking a lot of vitamins and supplements to make up for the inability for my body to digest most foods...and that has been helping too.

I am still down about 10 pounds and haven't been on the bike much at all in December.

So what does this all mean for me going forward when it comes to MTBR and group rides?

Well, for starters I have to eat gluten-free, which is very hard to do on the bike (mainly because almost all energy bar has gluten). Some gluten-free energy bars exist (like Larabar and Hammer), but they have never sat well in my stomach. So I will have to make sure to be creative with my own food and bring enough of it -- no bumming from others as it could be bad news for me.

Second, my post-ride activities will have to be without beer and gluten. This is going to be very hard for me, as there is nothing better than a big fat burrito or hamburger after a long hard ride. And there is nothing better than to wash it down with an ice cold beer. Of course all of this is now off-limits for me. And since the MTB lifestyle revolves so much around beer, it's going to be a constant temptation for me. :(

Anyway, I'm trying to keep a positive attitude through these changes. I've never had to deal with anything significant when it comes to my health, so I am still trying to find my way through this. At least now I know why I've been sick and can deal with it head-on. My goal is to be back to 100% both on the bike and in the gym by spring time.

And BTW -- I'm not looking for any sympathy from anybody. I just wanted to share this with you all so when I join an MTBR group ride you understand why I will have to refuse a beer...or take an extra long time to order in a restaurant because I have to figure out what is OK to eat...or pull out some rice cakes on the trail. So yes my eating and drinking habits are going to be different, but rest assured that I will still be the same fun-loving smart-ass that you've grown to love.


Thx...Doug
 

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I am Walt
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6,392 Posts
Too bad to hear, Doug, but I'm *sure* you'll figure it out and get back to normal..."where there's a will there's a way"...and you'll still kick my ass!

Hmmm...so you can't DRINK the beer, but you could CARRY it, eh...? ;)

Best wishes to get well!!

Walt
 

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Registered
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Sorry to hear about the Celiac

Doug, Sorry to hear about the celiac but glad it will be manageable with a very tight watch on your diet. My bother got diagnosed with both Chron's and Celiac about 8 years ago and I have a 2 year that has spend lots of time in and out of hospitals with GI issues so I know what you are going through - hang tough.
 

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Shred...it's the new drug
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3,844 Posts
My father in law is celiac and was diagnosed 3+ years ago. You get to drink wine and scotch and there are all kinds of gluten free goodies out there. I've tried most of them and they are all good. Picazzo's pizza has a gluten free pizza that is the bomb and there is a gluten free bakery in tempe on mclintok and elliot that is killer!!! You'll just have to adapt and conquer!!! Good luck and happy trails!!!
 

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No Clue Crew
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7,456 Posts
Sorry to hear about that, dude. As others have stated, being healthy and gluten free is difficult, but very do-able these days. There are a lot of folks out there w/ gluten issues, so you're not alone.

The beer thing sucks, but there's always good scotch ... and you don't have to drink as much of it!!! Hang in there, man.
 

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aka Diesel
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1,249 Posts
dgangi said:
I just wanted to share this with you all so when I join an MTBR group ride you understand why I will have to refuse a beer...or take an extra long time to order in a restaurant because I have to figure out what is OK to eat...or pull out some rice cakes on the trail. So yes my eating and drinking habits are going to be different, but rest assured that I will still be the same fun-loving smart-ass that you've grown to love.

Thx...Doug
Indeed! You are one unique individual, Doug, and when you're around it's always interesting and fun! You notice that in everything you said, you never mentioned "you'll understand why I am lagging behind or can't complete a ride"... I was there for FOTP and even in your condition, at your weakest, you kicked @ss!!! You may have to adjust your diet, both liquid and solid, but the MOST important thing remains; you will continue to be one scrappy, solid, butt-kicking rider!

It's overused, I know, but never forget the saying...

"I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."

(hug)
 

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Registered
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558 Posts
Best wishes!

Hey I work at Trader Joes and we keep a list in the store of all the products that are Gluten free and it is also available on the website.

We have a lot of Gluten free customers who come in all the time and a lot of our products are marked with the appropriate "G".

Good luck!
 

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Bandolero
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2,438 Posts
dgangi said:
Second, my post-ride activities will have to be without beer and gluten. This is going to be very hard for me, as there is nothing better than a big fat burrito or hamburger after a long hard ride. And there is nothing better than to wash it down with an ice cold beer. Of course all of this is now off-limits for me. And since the MTB lifestyle revolves so much around beer, it's going to be a constant temptation for me. :(
For booze, you've got two options.

Homebrew
Hard liquor
 

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******ed or Branded??
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2,095 Posts
Sorry to hear that bro! Well here is my piece of food advice. Whole foods (mainly) have great selection on gluten-free beer and food products. My favorite is the super fudge gluten free brownie. Just add some peant butter and that would be an awesome during ride bar!!!
I have done this before only cause I had to go on a gluten-free diet when ever I get gout (long story). Man it sucks bad, but it's cool in it's own way. You get to find weird foods that you would never think of eating and they tatse pretty darn good. Alot of it I now incorporate with my regular diet. If you are ever hitting trials in Tucson or doing some road ride hit up 4th ave cause they have a few gluten-free/vegan resturants that serve some great foods! Good luck and have fun finding new and interesting foods to replace what you normaly would eat. I am luck that my wife is a vegi/semi-vegan so she does most of my food shopping.
 

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Registered
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Glad you're on the mend. You're more tenacious than anyone I know so I know you'll adapt soon enough.
I have to admit that I took some guilty pleasure in being ahead on a couple rides lately
:D :D
 

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Fragile - must be Italian
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2,308 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everybody for the well wishes and suggestions. Lucky for me I have a Trader Joes, Sprouts, and Whole Foods within a few miles of my house...and my wife has been shopping there almost exclusively to buy me gluten-free food. She's been a real trooper and has changed her diet to GF as well, which is HUGE as it removes so many temptations from the house.

FYI -- regular grocery stores are also starting to get on board with GF foods. For example, General Mills is making an effort to produce GF products, so I can continue to enjoy Chex cereals and Betty Crocker mixes (http://www.liveglutenfreely.com).

I've also switched to drinking red wine (thankfully I've always been a big red wine drinker) and hard liquor from beer. But still...some moments in life just scream for a beer, such as after a hot day in the sun...and I'm trying to figure out what to substitute there. Sipping a red wine after mowing the lawn just doesn't go together.

So eating GF at home has been pretty easy. BUT...I travel about 50% for business, and that's where it gets hard. Consider the traditional breakfast that is served at a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express -- cereals, bagels, breads, instant oatmeal, muffins, etc. All of this is off limits to me. So I will have to make do with yogurt and hard boiled eggs. Or bring my own food. Bleh.

Thankfully some large chains have gluten-free menus (such as Outback Steakhouse and PF Chang's) so I have some options in large cities. Smaller cities have been a problem, as when I ask the waiter about "gluten free options" they look at me like I have a third eye. So I have been telling them to bring me freshly cooked meat/fish (without sauce), a potato, and veggies. That always seems to be a safe bet...albeit a bit boring.

But where it's really been a struggle has been in business lunch situations. For example, I was in Atlanta a few weeks ago for a business meeting. I had no idea that the customer already ordered lunch for all of us (the agenda called for a working lunch and I didn't see it in advance). They had already ordered lunch from Panera, which is a huge bakery chain in most of the USA. So what showed up was a bunch of sandwiches that I could not eat. I was starving...so I had to explain my situation to the customer and proceeded to eat the meat, lettuce, and tomatoes from the insides from a few sandwiches. It was awkward to say the least. And I think the customer felt a little guilty about ordering food and not asking if I had any restrictions in my diet.

Anyway, if any of you have some tips for what to do when traveling, that is where I could really use some suggestions.

Oh and Bob...enjoy my being slow for the time being. Just be forewarned...I plan on coming back 110% after the New Year. :thumbsup:

Thx...Doug
 

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wowarizona.com
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863 Posts
Whoa!

I've got some gluten-free brownie treats I could share! We keep gluten-free treats for our guests.

The hardest thing will be, (if you are off the bike for a while), the constant mental comparisons of how you 'used to ride it'.
 

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Fragile - must be Italian
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
C.J. said:
I've got some gluten-free brownie treats I could share! We keep gluten-free treats for our guests.

The hardest thing will be, (if you are off the bike for a while), the constant mental comparisons of how you 'used to ride it'.
If you have some GF recipes that you like, please send them my way!

I have been on the bike a little bit and the mental comparison of 'how I used to ride it' has been tough. BUT...it's not nearly as tough as the mental comparison in the gym of 'how I used to lift it'. It's been embarrassing for me...trying to lift the same weight I used to lift with relative ease...but now can barely lift the bar off the stops. Ugh.

Thx...Doug
 

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Registered
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Dam Doug, good to hear you found out whats wrong with. Bad to hear you can't have real beer. Hope you get well soon and watch what you eat. Truthfully we don't want you to get to a 110% because you are already kicking most of are a$$'s. Later.
 

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sprocket
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3,184 Posts
dgangi said:
Thanks everybody for the well wishes and suggestions. Lucky for me I have a Trader Joes, Sprouts, and Whole Foods within a few miles of my house...and my wife has been shopping there almost exclusively to buy me gluten-free food. She's been a real trooper and has changed her diet to GF as well, which is HUGE as it removes so many temptations from the house.

FYI -- regular grocery stores are also starting to get on board with GF foods. For example, General Mills is making an effort to produce GF products, so I can continue to enjoy Chex cereals and Betty Crocker mixes (http://www.liveglutenfreely.com).

I've also switched to drinking red wine (thankfully I've always been a big red wine drinker) and hard liquor from beer. But still...some moments in life just scream for a beer, such as after a hot day in the sun...and I'm trying to figure out what to substitute there. Sipping a red wine after mowing the lawn just doesn't go together.

So eating GF at home has been pretty easy. BUT...I travel about 50% for business, and that's where it gets hard. Consider the traditional breakfast that is served at a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express -- cereals, bagels, breads, instant oatmeal, muffins, etc. All of this is off limits to me. So I will have to make do with yogurt and hard boiled eggs. Or bring my own food. Bleh.

Thankfully some large chains have gluten-free menus (such as Outback Steakhouse and PF Chang's) so I have some options in large cities. Smaller cities have been a problem, as when I ask the waiter about "gluten free options" they look at me like I have a third eye. So I have been telling them to bring me freshly cooked meat/fish (without sauce), a potato, and veggies. That always seems to be a safe bet...albeit a bit boring.

But where it's really been a struggle has been in business lunch situations. For example, I was in Atlanta a few weeks ago for a business meeting. I had no idea that the customer already ordered lunch for all of us (the agenda called for a working lunch and I didn't see it in advance). They had already ordered lunch from Panera, which is a huge bakery chain in most of the USA. So what showed up was a bunch of sandwiches that I could not eat. I was starving...so I had to explain my situation to the customer and proceeded to eat the meat, lettuce, and tomatoes from the insides from a few sandwiches. It was awkward to say the least. And I think the customer felt a little guilty about ordering food and not asking if I had any restrictions in my diet.

Anyway, if any of you have some tips for what to do when traveling, that is where I could really use some suggestions.

Oh and Bob...enjoy my being slow for the time being. Just be forewarned...I plan on coming back 110% after the New Year. :thumbsup:

Thx...Doug
http://www.glutenfreecreations.com/

29th St. & Thomas. All gluten free bakery. Our favorite.
Your fixed gear is still pretty ugly.
 

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Fragile - must be Italian
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2,308 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
yetisurly said:
http://www.glutenfreecreations.com/

29th St. & Thomas. All gluten free bakery. Our favorite.
Your fixed gear is still pretty ugly.
I found out about that bakery a few weeks ago. We've been meaning to get over there, but their hours are pretty limited and our schedules have been crazy. Good to hear a positive review about it.

Is there anything that we *must* try? Is there anything you didn't care for?

Thx...Doug
 

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I just noticed there's a new Gluten Free Store on Val Vista, just north of the Santan 202 on the east side of the road. Sounds like it'll be an annoying transition for you, but if you're already feeling better it'll be well worth it. Hang in there!
 

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Sorry to hear the bad news, Doug. Hope to hear some bike stories from you sooner, rather than later...


or at least a good story about you chasing down the punks who broke into you truck!
 

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sprocket
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3,184 Posts
dgangi said:
I found out about that bakery a few weeks ago. We've been meaning to get over there, but their hours are pretty limited and our schedules have been crazy. Good to hear a positive review about it.

Is there anything that we *must* try? Is there anything you didn't care for?

Thx...Doug
Bagels w/o the egg are awesome. Pie crusts are a little less than desireable.
 
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