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Gluten Free Gains!

Optimize Your Ability To Digest Nutrients, Get Super Shredded & Maintain Muscle!

Posted by TimeIsMuscle - August 15th, 2019

Despite eating a “clean” balanced diet for many years, tracking macros and hitting the gym daily, at times I would have some digestive problems which would hinder some of my workouts and compromise my ability to deliver the vital nutrients required to the working muscles that I desperately wanted to grow/improve. A year ago during my last summer cut, I personally felt I reached what I considered to be a “lean plateau” meaning I was not able to reduce more body fat without doing excessive cardio and sacrificing muscle. With all of the above considered, I decided it was time for a change. I started exploring different diets and training regimes.

One day scrolling through Youtube videos I came across an interview with IFBB bodybuilding legend Rich Gaspari. He discussed in some detail that one of his diet secrets for getting extra shredded and achieving striated glutes was through the gluten-free diet. This got me thinking maybe a diet change, as opposed to a change in my training regime, was what was required for me to help me take my physique to the next level. I figured I would try this out for my next bodybuilding contest prep. Before I delve further into my own personal experience on this diet I think it important first to provide you with some background information on this diet that you may not be too familiar with.

What Is A Gluten-Free Diet?

A gluten-free diet involves excluding foods that contain the protein gluten, including wheat, rye and barley. Most studies on gluten-free diets have been done on people with celiac disease, but there is another condition called gluten sensitivity that also causes problems with gluten. If you are intolerant to gluten, then you need to avoid it completely. If not, you will experience severe discomfort and adverse health effects.

What Is Gluten & Why Can It Bad For Some People?

Gluten is a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. This glue-like property helps gluten create a sticky network that gives bread the ability to rise when baked. It also gives the bread a chewy and satisfying texture. Unfortunately, many people feel uncomfortable after eating foods that contain gluten. The most severe reaction is called celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly harms itself. This autoimmune disease can be mistaken by the body as a foreign threat. To remove this threat, the body overreacts and attacks the gluten proteins. Unfortunately, this attack also damages surrounding areas, such as the gut wall. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies, severe digestive issues and anaemia, as well as increase the risk of many harmful diseases.

People with celiac disease often experience sharp stomach pain, diarrhoea, constipation, skin rashes, stomach discomfort, bloating, weight loss, anaemia, tiredness and depression. If eating gluten makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s best to tell your doctor.

Foods To Avoid

Completely avoiding gluten can be challenging. This is because it is found in many common ingredients that are added to foods.

These are the main sources of gluten in the diet:

  • Wheat-based foods like wheat bran, wheat flour, spelt, durum, kamut and semolina
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Malt
  • Brewer’s yeast

Below are some foods that may have ingredients containing gluten added to them:

  • Bread – All wheat-based bread.
  • Pasta – All wheat-based pasta.
  • Cereals – Unless labelled gluten-free.
  • Baked goods – Cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, bread crumbs and pastries.
  • Snack foods – Candy, muesli bars, crackers, pre-packaged convenience foods, roasted nuts, flavoured chips and popcorn, pretzels.
  • Sauces – Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, marinades, salad dressings.
  • Beverage – Beer flavoured alcoholic beverages.
  • Other foods – Couscous, broth (unless labelled gluten-free).

The easiest way to avoid gluten is to eat unprocessed, single-ingredient foods. Otherwise, you should read the food labels of most foods you buy. Oats, for example, are naturally gluten-free. However, they are often contaminated with gluten, as they might be processed in the same factory as wheat-based foods.

Foods To Eat (My Example Food List Whilst On Prep)

There are plenty of gluten-free options that will allow you to enjoy healthy and delicious meals.

The following foods are naturally gluten-free:

  • Meats and fish – All meats and fish, except battered or coated meats.
  • Eggs – All types of eggs are naturally gluten-free.
  • Dairy – Plain dairy products, such as plain milk, plain yoghurt and cheeses. However, flavoured dairy products may have added ingredients that contain gluten, so you will need to read the food labels.
  • Fruits and vegetables – All fruits and vegetables are naturally free of gluten.
  • Grains – Quinoa, rice, buckwheat, tapioca, sorghum, corn, millet, amaranth, arrowroot, teff and oats (if labelled gluten-free).
  • Starches and flours – Potatoes, potato flour, corn, corn flour, chickpea flour, soy flour, almond meal/flour, coconut flour and tapioca flour.
  • Nuts and seeds – All nuts and seeds (unroasted).
  • Spreads and oils – All vegetable oils and butter.
  • Herbs and spices – All herbs and spices.
  • Beverages – Most beverages, except for beer (unless labelled as gluten-free).

If you’re ever unsure if a food item contains gluten, it’s best to read the food labels.


The Benefits Of A Gluten-Free Diet

A gluten-free diet has many benefits, especially for someone with celiac disease.

Here are some of the main benefits of a gluten-free diet:

  1. May Relieve Digestive Symptoms – Most people try a gluten-free diet to treat digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, gas, fatigue and many other symptoms.
    Ease digestive symptoms for people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
    Reduce stomach pain and the frequency of diarrhoea, nausea and other symptoms.

  2. Can Reduce Chronic Inflammation in Those With Celiac Disease – Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body treat and heal the infection. Sometimes inflammation can get out of hand and last weeks, months or even years.
    This is known as chronic inflammation and may lead to various health problems. A gluten-free diet can help reduce chronic inflammation in those with celiac disease.
    Several studies have shown that a gluten-free diet can reduce markers of inflammation like antibody levels. It can also help treat gut damage caused by gluten-related inflammation in those with celiac disease.

  3. May Boost Energy – People with celiac disease often feel tired, or sluggish. These symptoms may be caused by nutrient deficiencies because of damage to the gut.
    For example, iron deficiency can lead to anaemia, which is common in celiac disease.
    If you have celiac disease, switching to a gluten-free diet may help boost your energy levels and stop you from feeling tired and sluggish.

  4. Can Help You Lose Weight – This is because it eliminates many junk foods that add unwanted calories to the diet.
    These foods are often replaced by fruit, veggies and lean proteins.

My Personal Experience On The Diet/ Body Transformation

Below I am going to compare three physiques, with the photos taken every summer for the last three years from left to right (2017 – 2019). I will briefly discuss the impact that a gluten-free diet had on me and me.


To grow and evolve you have to try new things to force change. Doing the same thing over and over again will only lead the same results. I encourage everyone to give this diet a try for at least a few months. Keep a food diary as you would tracking macros whilst on more common diet protocols and see what happens. You never know, gluten-free gains may be the key to taking your physique to the next level!

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