Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our family in a field of Bluebonnets

Springtime is already here in Texas and the wildflowers are beautiful this year.

Many of the country roads have some outstanding blues and oranges courtesy of the wildflowers. The fields make for great viewing from a bicycle seat, and they last a few weeks.

Here's what we did Saturday after the race. Great post-race recovery, don't you think?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

5k in 22:50 - Post Celiac diagnosis PR!

When I divide up my running times, I have two buckets divided by Celiac. There are my pre-diagnosis times and then my post-diagnosis times. Today I ran in a 5k, set a post-diagnosis PR of 22:50 (7:22 pace), and won my age group!

And I didn't taper all that much, either. The only change I did was an easy 30 minutes on the Nordic Trak on Thursday (It was raining, and I still did a hard swim on Friday.) We hadn't decided if we were doing the race as a family until last night.

Houston is in the middle of a cold snap, and it was 45 degrees this morning when we pulled out at 7am. That's very early for us. One of the challenges for this race was that they kept moving the start times around to accommodate the family walk and logistics, so staying warm while minimally dressed presented a challenge. What worked was taking my wind stopper mitts and hat to the start line and tucking them in to my waistband right before the start.

I ran hard, but I tried to focus on keeping my own pace, and I did. I went through the first mile in 7:20, and then eased of a hair for the second mile. A group of three passed me, but one of them came back to me at 2 1/2. Running down the last quarter was tough, but someone shouted out my name for encouragement and that helped. It was nice to run a small enough race to where I could count the people in front of me.

Now this afternoon, it's my wife's pick. We're off to the Texas Hill Country in search of the blue bonnets. If you're from up north, it's like going to the country to see the fall colors, except it's flowers in the spring.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IBS sufferers should be tested for Celiac disease

More news outlets are starting to pick up the concept that Celiac might be the actual cause of many undiagnosed symptoms. I saw this article on Google alerts the other day, repeating the story that IBS sufferers should be tested for Celiac disease.

Here's the guidelines if you don't want to go hunting for them.

IBS patients with diarrhea or a mixture of diarrhea and constipation should be screened with blood tests for celiac disease, a condition in which one cannot tolerate the gluten protein found in wheat and other grains.

Of course, this blog brought this health tip out nearly two years ago. While the GI docs seem to be getting the message out, it would be great if some of the others, like Dermatology and those involved with neurological disorders, could get on board.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A little insurance for Celiacs on the road?

I saw a recent posting on a Celiac site about a study from Finland. It said that:

"Bifidobacterium lactis inhibited the gliadin-induced increase dose-dependently in epithelial permeability, and, at higher concentrations totally eliminated the gliadin-induced reduction in transepithelial resistance."

OK - all fancy words that basically say that a probiotic kept gluten from getting through gut cells (in a petri dish).

Now, I think that's really hopeful news and here's how I'm going to use it. First, a petri dish is not a controlled human study. I am not going off the gluten-free diet to give it a try, and I think anybody would be nuts to do so. But from time to time, a restaurant will do that for me without my knowledge. We've all been there and done that, right? So I think that I'll just start taking a probiotic with B. lactis in it during times when I'm at higher risk (like on the road for a race or eating out a lot, for example).

I've had some pretty good luck using probiotics after a course of antibiotics and never had a bad reaction, so this seems to me to be a pretty good and relatively inexpensive way to keep ahead of the cross-contamination issue. Peaking correctly for a race or event is hard enough as it is, and this approach might just be some reasonable insurance on the diet side.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Should ear drops for swimmer's ear be gluten-free?

I haven't been posting for awhile, because after I started swimming again, my increased efforts resulted in a truly nasty bout of swimmer's ear. Very painful - very annoying - very tiring. So I was back out of the pool for a couple of weeks. Here's what I learned:
  • I should have been using earplugs to keep out the water
  • I should have used a half vinegar/half rubbing alcohol solution and dropped that in my ears before and after the workout. Evidently, the vinegar is the correct PH while the alcohol kills the infections before they get started.
  • q-tips can irritate your ear canal, so don't go there
  • Antibiotic ear drops were, bizarrely, very hard to acquire, resulting in an extra day of totally unnecessary pain
  • I really didn't care if my ear drops were gluten free or not (but should I?)
That extra day of pain reminds me of the (thankfully infrequent) times when I am absolutely miserable and am asking a pharmacist if the medication is gluten-free or not. You'd think that this information would be readily available, but it isn't, and it's especially aggravating on the weekends when the manufacturer is closed.

It makes me wonder when the pharmaceutical industry is going to wake up on this topic -- probably not until people start reporting adverse reactions...

Anyway, I'm thrilled to be back in the water today.