Episode 63: Increasing Carbohydrates To Fuel Athletes With Digestive Conditions

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Thanks for joining us for episode 63 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show! Today we are answering the following question from a listener:

“I have celiac disease and I find that a low carb Paleo eating style works for my digestion. However, I’m an avid mountain biker, skier, backpacker, climber, hiker, etc., and I wonder how many carbs I should eat in a day, or perhaps just my active days with endurance exercise being from 2 to 6 hours a day.

My carb intake right now comes mostly from fruit. When should I eat these carbs? Evening before, during, or after for muscle recovery? On that same note, what foods and/or meals do you recommend for muscle recovery? Thanks.”

Endurance exercise requires a high level of nutrition for fuel and recovery. Following a low carb Paleo diet while engaging in endurance activities such as hiking or mountain biking may be causing more harm than good.

Join us today to learn the importance of adequate carbohydrate and caloric intake in relation to activity. You’ll see that it is possible to fuel your activity without inflaming your digestion!

Here’s what Laura and Kelsey will be discussing in this episode:

  • The necessity for adequate carbohydrate and caloric intake in relation to your activity level
  • The role microbial balance plays in digesting carbohydrates
  • Observed differences in carbohydrate tolerance with digestive issues
  • How gluten free grains could affect digestion in people with celiac disease while other forms of carbohydrates are well tolerated
  • How the amount of calories and macronutrient ratio depends on type type and intensity of activity
  • The different benefits to eating before and/or after exercise
  • Why caloric amount is more important than meal timing and macronutrient ratios when engaging in super long endurance activity
  • The difficulty in achieving calorie goals to properly fuel your body for endurance activity when on a low carb Paleo diet
  • Possible causes of digestive distress when eating carbohydrates
  • How to tell if your digestive symptoms when eating carbohydrates are normal or something to be investigated
  • The contribution stress from over training and under eating has on digestion and overall health

Links Discussed:

  • – Use the code AncestralRDs for a 15% discount off your first order of Kettle and Fire bone broth!


Laura: Hey everyone. Welcome to episode 63 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. I’m Laura Schoenfeld and over there is Kelsey Marksteiner.

Kelsey: Hey guys.

Laura: Over there being in Brooklyn, New York. Or not Brooklyn, I’m sorry. Astoria.

Kelsey: You do it every time, Laura.

Laura: Do I? Oh my gosh.

Kelsey: I feel like you think I live in Brooklyn every time we talk about it, even though you visited me.

Laura: All of those New York boroughs are all the same to me.

Kelsey: All the same. Yeah, fair enough, fair enough.

Laura: I hear your new apartment has a pretty nice backyard type of situation.

Kelsey: Yes, and I’ve been totally overwhelmed with what to do with it. Then I remembered, or actually I posted on Facebook or something and Steph from Stupid Easy Paleo recommended that I revisit Diana Rodgers book Homegrown Paleo because just looking at my garden, even Googling stuff, I was like I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t known even the first thing I should even do at this point.

She has a little section in her book about growing your own food and it was super helpful. I actually have to send her a note and thank her for writing such a helpful piece in there because for me, I have a total black thumb. I really, really suck at growing anything and I was very nervous to start because I felt like if I didn’t do it right I was just going to kill everything, which is probably true. I read the section in her book on that topic and it’s really well done.

My garden space now is totally overgrown with weeds.  That’s my first task is getting all the roots of the weeds out. I think it’s called double digging where you basically dig out a one foot piece of your soil and put it in a wheelbarrow and then take the next section and put it in that section that you that you just dug out. You just keep doing that across your whole space, so you’re mixing up the dirt, you’re introducing oxygen to the dirt, and you’re kind of mixing up and killing weeds and bugs that have been thriving there.

We’ll see if that works because I’m sort of inheriting this garden space from somebody else who seemingly did not really do anything with it for however many years the last people lived here. Or it’s kind of unknown to me if the soil is really not good at this point, if I should dig it all up and start from scratch. I don’t know.

Laura: Replace it?

Kelsey: Yeah. I may do that because there’s a decent amount of rocks in there that I think at one point were decorative, just those little pebble kind of things, but it’s like there’s a lot of them. I wonder if that’s going to be problematic. I’ll probably reach out to Diana and ask her actually personally and see what she would recommend.

But I spent all day Saturday, I shouldn’t say all day, but a decent amount all day…not Saturday, Sunday…taking a hoe to the soil and just digging, which is an awesome workout. I’ve never done serious gardening before. But man, now when my clients are like yeah I garden, at first thought that was a very easy low key thing to do. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be hard work. Yeah, it’s a great way to spend outside which I’ve been enjoying and hopefully I actually get something out of it, food.

But in Diana’s book she talks about how you have to prep your soil pretty much a year ahead of time, which sounds crazy to me. Being in a rental too, I’m like hopefully I’ll be here a year.

Laura: Am I going to be here for a year?

Kelsey: Yeah, I hope so. I’ll be here for a couple years, but who knows?

Laura: Or you’ll just be setting it up for the next person.

Kelsey: Exactly.  I’ll be like oh man, I made this soil so great and now they’re going to enjoy it. It’s a lot of work to do especially in a rental where you don’t know how long you’re going to be there. We’ll see if I can start with some container gardening first. I already have some herbs and stuff which are easy and I have not killed yet, which is great.

We’ll see if there’s anything I can plant this year. I guess if I end up replacing a bunch of soil I probably could start this year. That maybe the best option. But yeah, we’ll see. It’s been kind of a learning experience. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to know more about because I think it’s really important to know where your food comes from. Of course if you can grow food and have space to do that, by all means I think we should probably all be doing that.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: It is a decent amount of work of course, but I think it’s probably worth it. Especially living in a city, I think that if I can even grow things like tomatoes that taste terrible when they come from the grocery store and are super expensive if they’re heirloom or anything that tastes slightly good, I could probably save some money too growing things that I otherwise would have to spend a lot on. That’s what I’m like hoping to focus my garden on is those kinds of foods that are really expensive or don’t taste very good when you buy them here in a grocery store.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: We’ll see how it turns out, but tomatoes are definitely on that list. We’ll see what else I end up doing there.

Laura: Yeah, I feel like I’m a big brat. All the plants that I have in my backyard are all decorative just because I, like you, had a hard time keeping things alive and have very little time, or I don’t want to say time, but I don’t put a lot of effort into the backyard which I think my lawn is definitely showing the effects of that.

I get a little frustrated because my soil quality was horrible when we moved in. My parents and I did a lot of work to get everything better in the last couple years, but for whatever reason the grass is still not growing very well in most of the backyard which is super frustrating. I had the same situation as you where I was like, well this is a rental.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Should we really be putting this much time and effort into it? Ironically now I’m going to be buying the place so actually it was worth putting the effort into. But at the time I was like we’re going to spend this whole weekend and spend like $500 to totally re-do this whole backyard and I might not even live here that much longer. But I think it’s worth it because before, I don’t know about you, I just had this empty dirt lot basically with hardly any grass.

Kelsey: Yeah, mine’s like half cement.

Laura: Oh, lovely.

Kelsey: It’s even worse. Yeah, I have these kind of like raised beds on the sides so that’s what I’m going to use to grow food I guess. But probably knowing me, I’m like one of those people that’s really into something for two weeks and then forgets about it.

Laura: I’m the same way.

Kelsey: My husband always make fun of me for that. So we’ll see if anything actually turns out, which is why I should probably not even talk about it on the podcast because everyone’s going to be like next year, how’s your garden?

Laura: Accountability.

Kelsey: Yeah, let’s hope. But hopefully when people start asking me how’s your tomatoes next year, I will actually have tomatoes.

Laura: You’ll have these little cherry tomatoes.

Kelsey: Yeah. I’m hoping, I’m hoping. We’ll see.

Laura: I don’t know, I’m really bad at gardening, and landscaping, and all that stuff.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I don’t know if I’ll ever be into it. I want to be and I think I’m sure if I have more time and more yard space in the future I’ll be more into it. But right now, it’s just I have such a little yard and it’s like the soil quality is so bad, it just feels a little depressing to try grow anything.

Kelsey: Yeah, I know. I am curious to get soil tested because apparently you should do that, another thing I never would have really thought of prior to reading Diana’s book. But you can send it into your agriculture extension service of your state. A lot of times they’ll have somebody who will test your soil for either free or pretty low cost and they’ll tell you whatever wrong with your soil.

Laura: Can you fix it?

Kelsey: Yeah, I think you can fix it. It takes time of course, which again if you’re in a rental is not the best thing to hear. I think I’ll probably do that after if I decide that I’m keeping whatever soil is there, I’ll do that. But I may just replace it. We’ll see.

Laura: I think I would vote replacing.

Kelsey: Yeah, it sounds easier.

Laura: Well, not even just easier. I’m just so impatient that if something took a year to even get ready to do something, I just wouldn’t do it.

Kelsey: Right? I know. That kind of blew my mind. I did not know that that was even a thing that you had to do. I just kind of assumed all soil was great and I was terrible at growing anything, but maybe I’ve had terrible soil in my past. No, it’s probably not true.

Laura: Well, it’s probably a combination.

Kelsey: Yeah, let’s go with combination. But yeah, we’ll see. I mean it’s exciting, but ask me in two weeks and we’ll see if I’m still doing it.

Laura: I’ll be harassing you about it every episode. How’s your garden? How’s your tomatoes? How’s you herbs? How’s your soil?

Kelsey: Hey, I’m at least proud that my herbs have been alive for like three weeks at this point. It’s pretty impressive.

Laura: That’s good. Mine die every year and then come back so I basically just don’t do anything with them.

Kelsey: But they’re delicious. I’ve used them for cocktails.

Laura: That’s my favorite way to use herbs! Welcome to the Ancestral RDs podcast where we talk about making cocktails with our herb garden.

Kelsey: Right, the best way to use your herbs. I’m proud of that. We’ll see if anything comes to fruition. But I’m hoping things will work out and I can be a role model for other people who would like to grow some of their own food.

Laura: Other aspiring mixologists.

Kelsey: Exactly.

Laura: Alright, well we’ll look forward to hearing more about that as time goes on. But, before we get to our question today, let’s hear from our sponsor.

Kelsey:  Alright, so our question today is this:

“I have celiac disease and I find that a low carb Paleo eating style works for my digestion. However, I’m an avid mountain biker, skier, backpacker, climber, hiker, etc. and I wonder how many carbs I should eat in a day, or perhaps just my active days with endurance exercise being from 2 to 6 hours a day.

My carb intake right now comes mostly from fruit. When should I eat these carbs? Evening before, during, or after for muscle recovery? On that same note, what foods and/or meals do you recommend for muscle recovery? Thanks.”

Alright. This is a good question and I think it brings up a lot of points that will apply to various groups of people. The first thing I would say here is that 2 to 6 hours of endurance exercise is a lot.

Laura: Yes.

Kelsey:  A lot. It requires a lot of carbohydrates in accordance with how much exercise you’re doing. I don’t know how often this is, maybe this person is just doing this on the weekends where they’re doing this for 6 hours a day. I don’t know. That would be one of my first questions is how often are these 2 to 6 hours of endurance exercise happening?

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: But regardless, even if you’re doing one day a week of 6 hours of endurance exercise, you’re going to need to up your carbs from what you’re doing. This person says that they’re on a low carb Paleo diet because it works for their digestion. Whenever I hear that, my first thought is that there’s some kind of microbial balance issue causing problems with digesting carbohydrates or getting symptoms from eating carbohydrates.

This person does say that she…I think it’s a she…that they do well with fruit, but then it sounds like maybe other carbs they don’t do so well with. Even though that makes things a little bit confusing, it is something I’ve seen before. Either people say they have problems with carbs, then they can either do well with fruit or do well with kind of the starchy tubers, so potatoes, sweet potatoes, that kind of stuff.

It doesn’t really make sense to me at this point. I don’t have a reason why that is the case, but sometimes I do see that people with microbial balance issues can tolerate some carbohydrates, like a class of carbohydrates, like fruits or starchy tubers, and not the other. Then when their microbial issues are resolved, those things get better. They can tolerate those foods a little bit better. And again, I don’t know why that is. It’s just something I’ve seen before.

Maybe it could just be your body is so carb depleted that it really needs it and fruit is the best thing that you can tolerate. Your mindset is just like yeah, I tolerate fruit, because your body needs it so badly. I don’t know. But I have seen that before, so I don’t think that being able to tolerate fruit nixes the idea that there’s some sort of microbial issue going on.

My first thought here would be here to test for SIBO, would definitely be the first thing. Then if the SIBO test came back negative, then going to a stool test, like a functional medicine stool test to see if there’s some kind of pathogen or balance issue that’s going on that could be related to the issues this person is having.

Laura: I’ve seen a lot of variety with carb tolerance when it comes gut issues. I do think with celiac disease, sometimes people assume that it’s carbs that cause the problem when it actually is just grains.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura:  So things like rice or quinoa, that kind of stuff that is in a lot of these gluten free products could be a problem for them. But then something like a potato or sweet potato might not be, or plantain, or something that’s a little bit more of a starch that’s not necessarily fruit. That would be my question is when they say that carbs affect their digestion but fruit is fine, have they really tested other types of carbs than fruit? And are they just saying that because they’ve tried gluten free products and that doesn’t seem to work for their digestion?

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I’m not making any assumptions necessarily, this would just be a question I’d want to ask this person because I do find that a lot of people who are diagnosed with celiac, they often go from a normal gluten containing diet to just a gluten free diet which often includes a lot of gluten free products.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: There’s a lot of people that just don’t tolerate those gluten free products super well, but they would be fine to have like I said, potato, or sweet potato, or plantain, or yucca, or taro, or maybe even just plain rice as opposed to processed rice products or something like that.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: That’s one thing that I would really want this person to experiment with, or at least tell me if they’ve experimented with it because even though fruit can be a different digestive process than other starches, things that are a little bit more complex starches, that doesn’t mean that a person can’t tolerate any other starch other than fruit.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I find it to be very rare, at least in my own practice, that someone would tolerate fruit 100% but not tolerate any other type of carbohydrate.

Kelsey: Yeah, I don’t know why I’ve seen it a couple times. It maybe isn’t 100%, but they just will tend to be able to eat fruit in higher amounts and just do generally better with that.

But I definitely agree on the gluten free grains point there. I think that’s huge especially because this person has celiac disease. I’ve definitely had people where they’ve gotten rid of all the gluten containing grains and they’re still having issues, and then once they get rid of the gluten free grains as well, they do a lot better.

Things like oats, even if they are certified gluten free so there’s no cross contamination, that in particular for some people with celiac disease can be really problematic. Again, even if it’s labeled gluten free, that protein in there can still be a problem. If this person is eating…I mean I assume they’re not eating any grains because they say Paleo, but I don’t know. That’s just my assumption. But I would want to know if there’s any gluten free grains that they’re still currently eating that we could try getting rid of first.

Laura: Yeah, I mean that would be technically not Paleo, but I’ve definitely seen people that were eating that kind of stuff.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Like oats, or one of those random things…I mean I eat oats sometimes, so I’m not saying that nobody should be eating oats. But if somebody is on Paleo, then technically they’re usually not eating oats. Oats are weird. Oats can be tricky for people.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I would think if this person can’t tolerate grains or even tubers, I would think that plantains would probably be a good carb source for them because I’m pretty sure those are fruit, right? Does that sound really dumb?

Kelsey: No, I think they are.

Laura: I’m pretty sure, even though they kind of act like a starch as far as the calories and the gut effects that they might have. Pretty sure they’re fruit, so that would be a good thing to experiment with because that could be a really awesome source of carbs to eat on the endurance days. Because like you said, 2 to 6 hours, I mean 2 hours is long enough, but 6 hours.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura:  I would assume that if the person is pretty much nonstop exercising, that they’re burning a good 300-500 calories per hour. They could be getting an extra 2-3,000 calories of energy output for a day of the super long endurance exercise days.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: That’s a ton. That’s double to triple a normal amount of exercise as far as either just time or number of calories burned or something. This is something where first of all just eating more in general is going to really important, but then also trying to get carbs in depending on what the activity is because something like hiking is not going to be as taxing on the muscles depending on how strenuous it is. If it’s a pretty high elevation hike, that’ll be different than a lower elevation. But something like hiking may not be as damaging to the muscles and needing recovery as much as something like rock climbing, or mountain biking, or something like that. It may depend on the type of exercise that this person is doing.

But as far as when the person should eat the carbs, I mean honestly if it’s like a 6 hour activity, I would just eat basically before, during, after.

Kelsey: All of the above.

Laura: Yeah, seriously because like I said, if you’re exercising for 6 hours, you could be burning 2-3,000 extra calories and you’re not going to be able to get that in one meal unless you just like eat a dozen donuts or something, which I’m going to guess she’s not going to tolerate based on having celiac disease.

Generally I would say if you’re doing a low intensity, but long duration endurance activity like 4 to 6 hours, you’re going to have to bump up your overall food intake and your carb intake at the night before, the meal before, the meals that you eat during if you are doing any sort of packing snacks. Or say you’re hiking and you have a backpack that you can put some food in, having some food in general but also some carbs in there. Then after obviously eating a lot more depending on how many hours you’ve done the activity, which sounds a little non-committal as far as timing is concerned, but honestly I don’t think the timing is as much of a big deal as the total quantity is.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Just because if you’re under eating, it doesn’t matter if you’re eating it at the perfect time. Your body is going to be stressed out and not recovering well if your calorie intake is not enough to match the amount of activity you’re doing.

As far as timing is concerned, there’s different benefits to eating before versus after exercise. Before exercise obviously you’re providing more energy to do that actual exercise depending on what it is. Something like rock climbing may use a little bit more of like an explosive, more glycolytic type energy use as opposed to something like hiking which might be more a fat oxidative type of energy use. But either way, you need the calories. Being able to provide those calories though food before you actually go for these activities is going to help you actually do the activity.

Then afterwards, muscle recovery, obviously having some carbs, and calories, and protein, and fat, we’ll throw that in there as well. Just having macronutrients in general afterwards is going to help provide nutrition for rebuilding any sort of muscle damage that happened during the activity. I like people to have carbs as well as protein and fat with post workout meals. That’s mainly because the carb intake helps raise insulin and insulin helps shuttle that nutrition into the muscle. So you’re going to have more of those post workout calories and macronutrients going into the muscle to help rebuild the muscle as opposed to potentially not really getting used because there’s not enough insulin to shuttle the nutrients into the cells.

Kelsey: Right. I think like you said, the big thing here is just getting enough because this is just a huge amount of activity that’s being done, and the types of activities are pretty different too. Like you said, there’s some things that maybe you could do better with eating a little bit more carbs before. It just sort of depends on what type of activity you’re doing and fueling for that in particular. Some things like Laura just mentioned are going to be more glycolytic than others and you want to think about that when you’re thinking about fuel.

But in general, you want to be making sure that you’re getting enough calories overall because I think that would hinder the muscle recovery and the activity itself more than anything else. That’s going to be priority number one given the just huge amount of activity that’s being done.

Laura: Yeah. I’ve had some clients that were either training for some kind of bike race or just did these kind of activities that would go 5 -6 hours a day. Honestly, I just feel like people just need to eat as much as possible for all their meals.

Kelsey: Right, and pretty much eat whatever, not whatever in the sense of junk food and stuff necessarily, but just eating food. I wouldn’t even be thinking so much about macronutrient breakdown at that point as I would just general amount calories. Of course we want to be getting some carbs, and obviously this person is concerned given that they are eating a low carb diet. But provided that there’s a decent amount of carbs, just eat food.

Laura: Right, yeah.

Kelsey: You just need food.

Laura: Right, well it’s not like the fat in the food is going to help with muscle recovery necessarily, but just getting those calories in is going to help with recovery in general and making sure that you’re not under eating, which that in itself is what’s going to cause the most damage to your muscle and your health in general if you’re doing 6 hour endurance activities and only eating enough to have a normal day of activity. That might sound super unscientific, but it’s something that we see a lot with our clients who are more active where they just don’t even realize how many calories they’re burning doing those kind of activities.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Then they’re eating this super clean, low carb Paleo diet. And honestly, if you were doing an extra 2,000 calories per day of activity on top of another let’s just say minimum 2,000 calories for just your normal rest day needs, eating 4,000 calories of low carb Paleo food…I’m sorry but unless you’re eating straight butter, or coconut oil, or something, I don’t see that being very easy to accomplish on a strict low carb Palo diet. I’m sure it is and maybe you just eat a pound of bacon or something, which I don’t necessarily think is super healthy, but just getting that many calories in general on a low carb Paleo diet can be really hard for a lot of people.

Kelsey: Yeah. That’s why I bring up the digestion point kind of right off the bat just because at a certain point, calorie needs wise, it’s going to be really difficult to get that amount on a low carb diet. So you do want to start thinking about, okay, why can I only eat a low carb diet? Because for most people, you should be able to digest carbs and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: I think people sort of have this idea because of the idea that low carb is healthier for whatever reason that people just can’t digest carbs as well. That’s not true. You should be able to digest carbohydrates. Maybe there are some in particular that you can’t and that’s totally fine. For example, some of these gluten free grains because you have celiac, you may not do well with those. But you should be able to tolerate a variety of carbohydrate dense foods easily.

If you can’t, to me at least that says there’s some issue going on probably outside of celiac disease. Maybe there’s still inflammation from having celiac disease, being on a gluten free diet and there’s residual issues going on related to the inflammation that’s still there. We would deal with that and see if that helps. Or we can again, test for SIBO, or do a stool test. But there’s something causing you to not be able to digest those carbohydrates and we would want to figure out what that is so that you can then eat carbohydrates and reach your calorie goals a lot more easily.

Laura: If you’re having a really hard time meeting calorie goals because you have digestive issues, I hate to say it, but that might mean there’s a period of time while you’re trying to fix the digestion that you do need to cut back on these activities.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Because like we were saying, if you’re not able to get the calories that you need to do these endurance activities, you’re going to end up causing more problems than you’re solving if you are going on these super long, intense…or I don’t want to say intense because it depends on what kind of activity you’re doing…but 6 hours of activity for any type of sport is going really raise your food needs. And if you have a hard time digesting that much food, then you’re just going to get yourself into a place where you’re over training, and under eating, and not really doing well as far as overall health and then also recovery is concerned.

Kelsey: Yeah, and that can be a really decision to make because a lot of times people who are doing this much activity, they’re doing it because they really enjoy it. But I totally agree, there is a certain point where you’re doing too much activity compared to what you can physically fuel yourself to do and that’s not a very good place to be in. You’re going to be kicking yourself down the road thinking, oh I really wish I had just kind of cut back and dealt with digestive issues so that I didn’t get adrenal fatigue or something else that happened because of all this stress on your body. Yeah, you’ll be kind of kicking yourself later. As hard as that decision is right now to make, to lower your activity level, you may have to do that if the digestion is not an easily fixable thing. And often it isn’t. It takes time.

In the meantime, you could cut back to whatever you can fuel yourself with and that’s probably a good choice so that you don’t further harm your health. Because with digestion, I mean stress does play a huge part as well. If you are kind of messing up your HPA axis with all the stress that you’re doing form under eating and over training, it could potentially even make the digestive problems worse. I would really, really caution you about that and think hard about whether you need to reduce the amount of activity you’re doing.

Laura: Definitely. We’re making a lot of assumptions. This question that was asked is a lot more vague and the digestion may just be a little bloating or something if they have carbs.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: That’s something honestly to consider as well. How bad is the digestion if you eat carbs? Is it just a little bit of discomfort for an hour? Or is it some serious bloating, and changes in stool frequency, that kind of thing? There’s not a lot of information from this question about what the actual digestive symptoms are. If they’re just mild, the question is, okay, would avoiding carbs on your endurance days because you just get a little bloated after eating that kind of stuff, is that actually a good trade off?

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: It may not be because a little bit of bloating here and here is not a huge deal. But if you’re 2,000 calories short a couple days a week, that’s going to cause more health problems in the long run.

Kelsey: Yeah, definitely. With digestion, I also say this to my clients sometimes that like a little bit of bloating doesn’t mean that you’re super sensitive to a food either. I think people, especially when they start doing a specific diet like a Paleo diet, they start to think that every little thing is a symptoms of a food sensitivity. I kind of disagree with that mindset a little bit. Yes, bloating can be indicative of things going on, it could be indicative of a food sensitivity, it could be indicative of SIBO, and you do want to pay attention to those things. But at a certain point, I do feel like sometimes having a little bit of bloating is normal. It’s going happen sometimes. You’re giving bacteria food and they’re producing gas as a result. There’s going to be some degree of bloating sometimes.

Laura: Fermentation.

Kelsey: Yeah, exactly, and that’s okay. It shouldn’t be a super consistent thing. Maybe this is significant and consistent in which case I would say yes, we should pay attention to that. But if it’s like a little bit of bloating sometimes and because of that you cut out a whole class of carbohydrates, I would definitely recommend revisiting that idea and maybe trying some of these things again and seeing what happens. Maybe it’s dose dependent. You can have some but you can’t have a lot of certain things. Play around with it a little bit and make sure that it’s not just sort of a fluke that happened a couple times, or you just got bloated for some reason because hey, that can be normal too.

So think about that, and that’s again where having a professional come in and tell you these things personally can be really useful because at least for a lot of the clients that I’ve had, they’ve come to me saying like I just don’t know what I’m sensitive to. I have bloating sometimes, I don’t know if it’s a problem or not. Can you help me decipher through all this stuff. I think it can be very difficult for you to kind of look at that yourself sometimes.

Consider that the bloating may not necessarily be an issue if it is mild and not consistent, if it just happens sometimes when you eat carbs. Because again, fermentation is happening, just the same way people burp sometimes or people fart sometimes. It’s normal.

Laura: Speak for yourself, Kelsey.

Kelsey: Sorry, girls fart sometimes guys. But yeah, those things, they’re not abnormal. They happen occasionally and it’s normal. It becomes a problem or it becomes a symptom I would say when it happens consistently and it’s significant. Then I want to pay attention to it.

Laura: Definitely. Also to think that if you go low carb Paleo for a while and then you suddenly add something back, you might have a little bloating because you haven’t eaten it months.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: It’s not necessarily meaning you’re not going to ever tolerate that. It just might be something you haven’t had in a while and your digestive system was ready for it.

Kelsey: Exactly.

Laura: Cool. Well, that’s all I have to say about this question. I don’t know if you had anything else to add, but I think we’ve covered it pretty well.

Kelsey: I think we covered it. Unfortunately and fortunately it’s a very kind of straight forward answer in a very general sense. I hope it’s helpful. In general, really just eat food. You’re doing so much activity, you need just extra food in general. And figure out what’s going on with the digestion so that you can eat carbs because you absolutely need them given the amount of activity you’re doing.

Laura: Definitely. Cool. Well, thanks for joining us today guys. If you have a question that you want to submit, feel free to go to and click the contact tab either if you have a question or if you want to suggest a guest. We haven’t had a guest in a while.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: We should think about doing that again soon. But otherwise, we will see you all around here next week.

Kelsey: Alright. Take care, Laura.

Laura: You too, Kelsey.

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I'm a women's health expert and a registered dietitian (RD) with a passion for helping goal-oriented people fuel their purpose.

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