How Dropping Gluten Led to Olympic Gold (3x)

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by in Get Motivated, What to Eat

U.S. Olympic Swimmer Dana Vollmer won three gold medals and set two new world records in the 2012 Olympics in London. If there ever was a “Superhuman Certification”, Dana has proved she is worthy of the title.

She became the only woman in history to finish the 100m Fly in under 56 seconds. Her other two gold medals came in the 4x200m freestyle relay and the 4x100m medley relay (another WR).

I don’t follow Olympic swimming regularly but anytime an American is going for a world record in any sport, I pay attention and cheer them on.


I was lucky enough to catch Dana’s 100m Fly live and it was pretty exciting.  Lebron James, Chris Paul and teammates from the new “Dream Team” were there cheering her on. She set the entire building on fire with her world record finish.

The announcers kept pointing out what an amazing comeback this had been for Dana.  Again, I didn’t know anything previously about Dana, but I love a good underdog story so I was definitely intrigued.

It wasn’t that Dana made this comeback that inspired me so much, it was how she made her comeback.


Dana’s swimming career has been mired with injuries and health struggles. She battled with a heart condition which required her mom to carry a defibrillator to all her swim meets. She also found herself constantly having debilitating stomach aches that brought her into the emergency room on three different occasions during meets. And she’s been constantly nagged with injuries all over her body.

At age 16, Dana won a Gold medal in Athens at the 2004 Olympic games for her contribution to the 4×200 freestyle relay. But in 2008, she failed to even make the team for the Bejing Olympics.

“Coming back from 2008, after trials, I didn’t know if I was going to swim,” she said. “I had worked for so many years to reach that one goal, but along the way I had a shoulder injury, a back injury, and I was having to deal with fatigue and so much pressure that I just wasn’t having fun with it at all.


Confronting a Weakness

It turned out that Dana’s diet was keeping her from achieving her dreams.  She found out that she was actually allergic to eggs and gluten, and it took avoiding both for her to reach her potential. She describes what it was like going from always injured to feeling Superhuman in the video below.

Watch the CNN story below:

If you are an athlete or just strong minded, you know what it’s like to not want to admit weakness. You’ve been trained to compete, trained to win. The last thing you want to do is show any weakness and most will opt for playing through the pain.

This is what Dana chose to do for years. She overlooked her problems instead of facing them head on.

“It just seemed like, in my career, I always had something,” says Dana. “It’s amazing how much better I feel now. The stomach aches are gone.”


On a personal note…

Dana’s words rang so true with me that I felt like she was telling my story to the world (but minus the gold medals and exchange “swim meets” with “baseball practices”.)

Lucky for Dana, she revealed her weaknesses while she was still in the prime of her playing career.  It wasn’t until a year ago that I finally examined my diet and realized the harm and hindrance I had done to my baseball career all along.

I know I can never have that time back and do things differently, but I can educate younger athletes and that’s a huge motivation behind this blog.

Ever since I discovered that I have unfavorable reactions to dairy and gluten (and eat them a lot less), I truly have achieved Superhuman health.  I don’t need  a gold medal to become a “Superhuman” and neither do you.


 You Can Only Become Superhuman Once You Identify Your Weaknesses and Confront Them

You become Superhuman once you stop listening to the media or government about diet and start listening to your body. Stop bouncing along the path of “normal”.

It is not normal to have aches and pains. It’s your body telling you that something is wrong and you have to listen.

Dana Vollmer was an Olympic Gold Medalist and had access to the best doctors and health experts, yet it took her years to correctly hear what her body was trying to tell her.

Don’t wait years to change your diet. Do it today and continue with that change for at least 30 days to get a true idea of what’s possible.


Is Gluten Your Problem?

It’s my opinion that gluten may not be the exact problem for you but it’s sure as hell not helping the problem.  It will most likely cause an inflammatory response in your body which will exacerbate any other problems you may be experiencing. While my main problem was dairy, it wasn’t until I limited both that I felt some real Superhuman changes.

The CNN video above on Dana mentions that possibly 1 in 10 people are gluten sensitive. I think this is grossly underestimated.

Mark Sisson, in his book The Primal Blueprint, says that “Researchers now believe that as many as a third of us are probably gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive. Mark thinks this estimate is low and many more of us react to gluten.

If you go to a doctor to get tested for gluten sensitivity, more likely than not they cannot give you a clear diagnosis. If you take on a 50-Day Challenge like the Superhuman50 and find that your body operates on a completely higher level…well then I just saved you a bunch of money on doctor visits and you are welcome.

No one knows your body better than you. Just listen to it.


Here’s a link to the clip of Dana’s London 2012 Olympic WR 100 Fly!

Follow @LivinSuperhuman and Dana Vollmer on Twitter:

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