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December 11, 2023

Ariarne Titmus’s 5 Lessons on Living Gluten Free as an Athlete and Foodie

For world swimming champion Ariarne Titmus, living a gluten free lifestyle is more than just about managing a medical necessity – it’s an extension of her passion for food and discovery. Diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity in 2017, Ariarne’s debut into gluten free eating uncovered complexities that many are unaware of, especially when dining out where gluten-contamination hides in plain sight. 

Yet, as a foodie at heart, she hasn’t let this dampen her enthusiasm for exploring new restaurants and tasting diverse cuisines. Though her journey leads us to ponder: Does avoiding gluten require the same discipline as athletic training?

The Reality of Hidden Gluten

Ariarne’s transition into gluten free living revealed that gluten’s reach extends far beyond obvious foods like bread and pasta. “The biggest area that I found that I’ve experienced symptoms and bloating is from things I’ve eaten that I didn’t realise contained gluten, like sauces,” she reflects.

This culinary conundrum echoes a reality many Australians with gluten sensitivities know too well, with a staggering 90 percent reporting accidental gluten consumption at least once a month despite their careful efforts1.

Dr. Kim Faulkner-Hogg, an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, sheds further light on the intricacies of maintaining a truly gluten free diet. “Most people don’t realise how challenging it is to be gluten free. For example, ordering a gluten free meal in a restaurant does not always guarantee it is free from cross-contamination. In a busy kitchen it is all too easy to misread a food label or have small amounts of gluten make its way into an otherwise gluten free dish,” she explains.

And it’s not just about stomach troubles. Dr. Kim also touches on the less talked about side effects – like opting out of Friday night dinners or saying no to weekend getaways. She notes, “We commonly hear that people opt out of social events or holidays due to the fear of being impacted by gluten. This can lead to social isolation, anxiety, and a reduced emotional quality of life.” But Dr. Kim insists living gluten free shouldn’t mean missing out on life’s joys.

The Olympic Athlete’s Approach

As the current Olympic 200 and 400-metre freestyle champion, and the world record holder in the long course 400-metre freestyle event, Ariarne knows the right diet is critical for her athletic success. “The tiniest bit of gluten in my diet can cause a massive flare up in my gut. My biggest symptom is bloating and feeling fatigued,” Ariarne shares.

To minimise gluten exposure during her world championship endeavours abroad, she sometimes opts for simpler meals like eggs and rice but clarifies that this is a temporary tactic and not a permanent strategy. Ariarne remains firm in her belief that gluten free living is “absolutely manageable” and the challenges it poses don’t have to get in the way of enjoying life.

Championing a Gluten Free Lifestyle

In stride with her championship mindset, Ariarne’s approach to gluten free living is proactive and full of passion. In the lead up to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022, she meticulously analysed her diet and developed strategies to help manage her gluten free requirements, which led her to discover GluteGuard. She recognises GluteGuard’s complementary role alongside a gluten free diet, acting as an extra layer of protection* when dining situations are uncertain – anywhere from dining out with friends to the Olympic village buffet. The unique enzymes in GluteGuard break down gluten that could be accidentally consumed, to help protect against the symptoms that might otherwise follow*.

Reflecting on her dietary management, Ariarne shares, “I spend a lot of time training, travelling, and competing, so maintaining the right diet and ensuring I don’t suffer negative effects from gluten means I can keep performing at my best. Living gluten free can be challenging but GluteGuard reduces worry, benefiting millions of people. This Australian-made product makes a genuine difference!”

Ariarne’s Gold Medal Strategies for Living Gluten Free

The necessity of managing a strict gluten free diet doesn’t deter Ariarne from living fully. Here’s how she sets the pace for a gluten free lifestyle that doesn’t slow her down:

  1. Be a proactive guest: “I love cooking, so I always offer to take a plate when I go to someone else’s place for dinner, that way I know there’s at least one dish I’m comfortable with.”
  2. Choose wisely: “Opt for meals that are least likely to have cross-contamination, such as those that are naturally gluten free, like meats and vegetable-based dishes.”
  3. Do your homework: “Look at the menu of a restaurant before you go, and ring them beforehand to ask any questions you have, this way you won’t feel so pressured and forget once you are at the restaurant.”
  4. Keep GluteGuard handy: “Having GluteGuard in reach, whether it’s in your handbag, glove box, gym bag, means being prepared if you’re out and uncomfortable about the risk of hidden gluten.”
  5. Don’t let your mind limit you: “I feel like a lot of people don’t realise the amount of people who silently suffer with gluten issues, like myself. But I’ve learnt you don’t have to suffer, I’ve still been able to fuel my body well to train and compete and still enjoy socialising and eating out, it’s possible even on a strict gluten free diet.”

Ariarne’s enthusiasm for life and food, paired with practical management tips, shows that gluten free living can be rich and full. Her story is a powerful testament to thriving, not just surviving, with dietary restrictions.

Discover more about GluteGuard’s innovative enzyme and its role in supporting gluten free living here. GluteGuard is readily available to Australians in over 3,500 pharmacies, and international customers can conveniently order online.

References:

  1. Vawser & Associates, ‘Research with people suffering gluten related disorders’, commissioned by Glutagen, July 2020.

*Paid partnership. GluteGuard helps protect those with medically diagnosed gluten sensitivity from symptoms of accidental gluten ingestion. Always read the label and follow the directions for use. For use only in conjunction with a gluten free diet.

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