Gluten – Episode 169

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [5:08] Gluten: Is The Poison In The Dose
  2. [19:26] Gluten And Effects On Athletic Performance
  3. [24:26] Increasing Strength For Cycling And Climbing
  4. [39:19] Increasing Strength To Body Weight Ratio
  5. [44:21] Milk And Dairy For The Power Athlete
  6. [49:26] Fasting Blood Glucose Confusion
  7. [52:37] Gelatin
  8. [56:16] Nutritional Yeast


1. Gluten: is the poison in the dose?

Martin says:

This is a long one. And I really enjoyed your enthusiasm and candidness with Eva.


I understand you are gluten sensitive. Do you consider yourself full blown celiac? Someone told me the last time you had a wheat exposure, they just filled the restroom with concrete and called it good.

I know that when I indulge in a “sandwich”, God forbid, and perhaps a “cookie” because my office catered, I immediately regret the nasal congestion within an hour. But a light beer or two doesn’t have that effect on me. And it takes putting away some serious pizza to rekindle my relationship with the Squatty(TM).

You’ve mentioned that it only takes one gluten exposure to take inflammation and immune response to DEFCON 1 for weeks. So in my two years “paleo”, more of a strong framework for choosing food than religious perfection, I really don’t know if I’ve gone thirty days without an exposure, though I’ve had life changing results nonetheless.

So I’d like to hear more about your experience with gluten, and your clients’ experiences, how much folks can benefit from strictly avoiding gluten versus a Sisson-esque 80/20 rule. And I know folks abuse the ’20’ part of that. And Hippie Excuse #1: grassfed bison vs bagel is not where I’m at.

One last thing… unless I’m imagining it, the NOW Foods Gluten Digest really seems to reduce the GI distress after really hitting the proverbial hookers and cocaine. What aspect is that supplement really helping, and what damage is still going on behind the scenes?


2. Gluten & athletic performance

Dan says:
hey guys i would love to hear your opinion &/or personal experience with gluten & how it affects athletic/sporting performances with regards to things like muscle wastage etc and other reasons to avoid it to maximise training & game day performance. Cheers Dan



3. Cycling and Climbing-

Ed says:
Rob and Greg,

Hope you guys are doing well. (Weather here in NYC is a bit cold and dreary, so while hunkering down indoors this time of year I thought I might run this one by you.) I’m an avid listener to the podcast and am finally caught up having listened to every single podcast- don’t know how you guys do it. Oh, interesting factoid- I went to high school and graduated with Joe Kenn. I should get some points for that from Greg at the very least.

I’ve been Paleo for the past 11 months. I “cheat” once and a while. (When I say I “cheat”, I mean like once a week with a hot chocolate that’s got a bit of sugar but that’s it for real, so don’t go bashing me about what you think “once and a while” means.) I’ve read Cordain’s books, Friel’s books, Taub’s as well, and Rob’s of course. I geek out on all of the nutritional bio-chem stuff. Find it really fascinating.

I’m 46 years old and an active cyclist (couple of times during the week and then a long weekend ride- don’t roll your eyes please. Yes, I find those rides enjoyable.)  I usually set a goal each year to ride a “Classic” road race and base my training around that one event.  As an example, this past year I did “Paris-Roubaix” (called the “Hell Of The North”).  You know, it’s that 135 mile ride in France over the old-school cobblestones.  Absolutely brutal event.  Proud to say I finished it. The prior year I did a stage of the Tour de France.  I think you get where I’m coming from on this- 1 big ride each year; lots of prep and then take it pretty easy after that “A” list event.

In addition to this, I’m an avid climber (well I “was” until the first kid came into this world 14 months ago.  Wouldn’t trade it for the world, but now my climbing is mostly indoors, and mostly bouldering since it’s hard to find steady climbing partners to rope up with. All of my old partners have mostly settled down and are in the same boat as me dealing new family stuff.

So right to my question: I’ve never incorporated weight training as part of my quest to get stronger.  I’ve always been of the mind set that if you want to get better and stronger at cycling, spend more time building power while in the saddle. (I do use a power meter to measure my output- much better than measuring input through a heartrate monitor.)  Same with climbing, if I want to get stronger, I’ve always believed that you got to get on the wall.

Do you agree with this philosophy? Are there exercises that would you recommend to assist in increasing my power output (keeping in mind I’m not a sprinter, but rather want increased power over the course of endurance type events- 2-4 hours).  Same with climbing, are there strength-based activities I should be doing that you feel can increase my strength as a climber other than spending more time on the wall?  (Most of the kick-ass climbers I know aren’t big, muscle-wise but are really lean and strong pound for pound.)  So in answering the ultimate question of what am I trying to achieve, it’s really simple- I would love to be able to pedal hard, climb hard and look insane naked.  Please tell me I can achieve all 3 and still have a life?  (I think Rob you mentioned on a prior podcast when answering whether Mark Sisson’s program was a “good” program, you said it depends on what you want to do and indicated that if you wanted to get strong as a rock climber, as an example, Mark’s program would “NOT” be the right program.)

I’m a patient man and will dial in any program (regardless of it’s time commitment) to make this happen. If any of your recommendations incorporate weight training- squats, presses, lifts, etc., can you suggest a good coach in NYC? There are so few talented coaches around I don’t want to develop bad habits.

I know everyone says it, but hope you don’t get tired of the pat on the back. You guys have changed lives including mine. And through that, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve paid forward that message. Keep up the Great work.


4. GOMAD no more…

Steve says:
Hey guys,

Loving the show, keep up the awesome work!

I have a question on weight training with bodyweight-ratio goals. I’m 6’2, 185lbs, fairly lean and looking to get strong.

I’m looking to get strong without putting on a ton of weight, and rather to increase my strength to bodyweight ratio (not the ‘any means necessary’, GOMAD / mass-gain type approach that is often so tempting).

If this is my goal in the long run would I be best served gaining weight in the short-term, getting super strong, and then cutting weight (verses waiting out very slow, incremental gains in strength while never putting on mass at all)?

Taken from the article above written about Gym Jones & Mark Twight I have set myself some basic goals for the year:

Deadlift – 2x bodyweight
Front squat – 1.5x bodyweight
Overhead squat – 1x bodyweight
Bench – 1x bodyweight
Pullups – x25 reps
Kettlebell snatch – 150 reps in 10 minutes (24kg)
500m row – >1min 30sec

And plan to tackle this with a 3-4 day a week Wendler 5-3-1 approach.


5. Milk/Dairy and the Power Athlete Diet

Danny says:
Hey Rob,

First of all thank you so much for all the information you have made available to the public.  I received your book The Paleo Solution for Christmas and love it!  I have been following CrossFit Football for quite some time now and have noticed that in that version of the Paleo Diet dairy is allowed, while in the version you outline in your book it isn’t.  I was wondering why that would be and which version do you recommend I follow?  I am no longer a football player, but I love the workouts on CrossFit Football and love the gains I am seeing.  Does drinking 1-2 gallons of milk hinder my progress health wise or am I okay since I’m following the CrossFit Football plan.  Again, thank you for everything and I hope to hear from you soon!



6. Mighty confounded by fasting blood glucose levels

Christy says:
I am in a quandary.  I have been Paleo for over two years.  My fasting blood sugar levels have been wacky and I have tried everything I can to remedy the situation.  My AC1 is fine at 4.7, could be better, could be worse.  My fasting blg is consistently 105 or more, up to 119 despite being militant about not eating funky junk.  I recently had my food allergies tested and have no sensitivities to anything except eggs.  I have really been bumming on my crap fasting bgl’s after having a light snack, walking, eating before seven and every other damn thing under the sun.  So,I randomly decided to have a piece of pizza and see what the hell that did.  Next morning it was beauty at 85.  So I tried doing some paleo friendly starchy carbs with dinner.  No good.  Tried a piece of French bread.  Success!  Wtf is what I want to know.  I completely buy into the Paleo lifestyle and don’t really want to eat wheat at all but after extensive bio hacking it seems to be the only thing that holds the fasting bgl down in the am.  Not sweet potatoes, rice, nothing.  Help me.  I am obviously confused and potentially deranged.  Thanks for the podcast.  I learn a lot from you.  Please advise.



7. Gelatin

Monica Marie says:
Hey Robb,
I was curious if you could speak about gelatin. I have been reading about the benifit and decided to begin supplementing it because I kind of am a picky eater and despite my husband continuing to shovel large portions of animal fat onto my plate (he love me) I can’t stand the texture, so my solution was to supplement. Is there a certain amount that would be helpful to consume to make sure I am getting the proper amount.
I should note that I started the supplement after my daughter was born to help with stretch marks, loose skin and then read about it just being kinda necessary in general.

these are the two online sources I have:

thanks for all that you do!
Lots of love,


8. Nutritional yeast

Chris says:
I’ve seen yes and no on nutritional yeast, depending on the site. What do you think?

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Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

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  1. Cher says

    URG!!! I was so excited when I saw the question about morning fasting blood glucose levels because I am having the same issue, except I haven’t tried the pizza or bread thing, just bummed that my levels are so high, around 105-115. I don’t like it and want it to get better but talking to a Dr is useless…
    I’ll go ahead and try the paleo friendly carbs later in the evening to see if it helps me.
    Any other ideas anyone has, I’d be happy to hear them, and maybe try them if it doesn’t sound to crazy!

    • yoga mom says

      I have the same funky morning blood sugar issue. It’s actually lower after I eat. It has been suggested that I have MODY 2. Its basically a beta cell thermostat problem. Your beta cells don’t secrete much insulin until your blood sugar is higher than most people ..for example 110. Check out the blood sugar 101 site, it has a lot of good info.

  2. Ian F says


    I used to do lots of cycling, now I have less time. I only cycle outside one day a week. I also moved to more weight training. I do olympic weightlighting: clean/jerk, front/back squats twice a week, plyo work like push-ups and chin-ups. I was able to maintain relatively the same pace and have actually increased my cycling by doing this type of lifting. I found that hill climbs and general recovery increased by doing this strength training. For some good general training check out leangains Martin has some good programs or Greg Everett has a great O lifting book, in the back he has some beginning o lifting programs. I also did find an o lifting coach and it helped. Good luck.

  3. Michael says

    Robb, Marcello Garcia isn’t the only BJJ athlete who does little to no S&C work. Leandro Lo, Caio Terra and Ryan Hall just to name a few of the world class ones. So by no means is Marcello an exception to the rule.
    Marcello’s and his fellow Alliance team mates are known for drilling technique for up to 9 hours a day (at the high end) everyday! They are said to drill with a slightly lower intensity thus making it sustainable. It seems in BJJ that spending time on drilling, specific training and rolling have more benefits than S&C. A testament to this is that when you do see videos with BJJ guys doing S&C work its usually what Poliquin would call “circus training” thus suggesting that they are good despite their training and not because of it.

  4. Cru Jones says


    A little off topic…

    Have you ever listened to or heard of Stefan Molyneux on YouTube?…He is a philosopher who makes videos about the non-aggression principle, peaceful parenting, etc…

    He frequently posts “True News” videos where he scours to find relevant data on topics to present – recent ones have been from gun control to government welfare…and then, Toxic America: Obesity, Depression and Domestication…

    He seems in this video to stick close to the Government protocol for dieting and mentioned in the comments section how he would love to discuss the “Paleo Diet” [option] with anyone knowledgeable…

    If you ever had time, he interviews all sorts of knowledgeable people on relevant topics and you would be an excellence source for information on the “Paleo” topic.

    He is a vegetarian as well – I think more for personal, moral issues.

  5. Chris W says

    Ed – check out Weight Training for Cyclists it is published by Velopress and will have all the answers you need including regimes to adopt. I’ve been using that book along with Joe Friel/ Cordain’s Paleo for Athletes for the last few years and I’ve seen huge improvements.

    The weight training alone will benefit you because there is always the chance you might have a power imbalance in your legs. And having crashed bad last summer I can say that being on an antiinflammatory diet meant that I healed like Wolverine.

    Loved hearing Gregg mispronounce Roubaix.

    What do you ride and did you use your everyday bike for the Sportif?

    And it was great to finally hear cycling discused albeit very limited and to have Lance not be the only reference.

    Get Joe Friel on the pod.

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