Avoiding gluten takes constant monitoring— the same attention to detail you need to excel in your workouts. "I became more dedicated and took a more professional approach to my training when I went gluten-free," Danielson says. "I couldn't get lazy and down whole pizzas and bowls of pasta. I had to focus on putting better food in my body, and this made me realize how much my eating habits off the bike affected my performance on it." Mindful eating is key. After all, "you don't need to go gluten-free to avoid refined processed carbs," says Thompson.
The New Power Grains
Even if you don't need to avoid gluten, it's a good idea to explore the world of gluten-free grains. All of them are rich in belly-filling fiber, and each offers unique benefits.
Once an energy booster for Inca warriors, this superfood of the Andes provides complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids. It's also low on the glycemic index, so it won't spike your blood sugar.
Try it: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Shells are made from just two ingredients: quinoa and corn. Toss with chicken sausage for even more protein. quinoa.net
Buckwheat is rich in rutin, a flavonoid that has potent antioxidant properties. It's also rich in heart-healthy magnesium.
Try it: Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Flakes have a light, crispy texture. Buckwheat also makes a hearty substitute for rice. arrowheadmills.com
A grain the size of a poppy seed, amaranth has more protein than wheat and twice that of white rice. Initial studies in rodents suggest that amaranth's high protein content can help lower cholesterol.
Try it: Health Valley Amaranth Graham Crackers have only 120 calories per serving. Try them with squares of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. healthvalley.com
Eat right and perform better. Find a nutrition plan for you.