Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Novak Djokovic Gluten Free

I saw this little article here this morning and felt compelled to write about it on my blog.  I am a huge tennis fan, and my two year old for some reason has taken a liking to Djokovic, asking "Where's Djokovic?" if he's not on the court when a match is on.  Maybe he knew something that I didn't!

The article states that Novak Djokovic, the world's Number 2 tennis player, found out through tests that he was allergic to gluten.  Other reports have him diagnosed with Celiac, and I can't seem to find a definitive answer to which it is.  While it's important to point out that a gluten allergy and Celiac disease are not the same thing, the ultimate treatment remains the same: a gluten free diet for life. 

Why is his health condition getting so much attention?  Because his change in diet coincided with a winning streak that saw him win the Australian Open and has continued unbroken right up to his win in Rome on the weekend.  He credits the way he feels on his new diet for helping him become a better player. 

Anyone on a gluten free diet will tell you that it's not a miracle diet, nor is it the magical weight loss cure that some celebrities try to sell.  It can be complicated to get all the proper nutrients needed to be healthy, and some gluten free foods contain more calories than their gluten-filled counterparts.  And most regular people don't have the benefit of professional nutritionists and chefs organizing and preparing their every meal the way celebrities and athletes do.

Still, it's always satisfying to hear that someone feels better and is healthier as a result of finally figuring out what was holding their health back.  And having a top athlete bring attention to the issue, particularly during Celiac Awareness month, can only be a good thing in terms of bringing gluten issues into the mainstream.

By the way, if you want to see him in action, the French Open starts next weekend!


  1. Had to stop in and give this a read. You had me at Djokovic.

    We are huge tennis fans too...my croatian folks even more so. And obsessed with this guy! As am I.

    Very interesting post - my mil owns a fine food/pastaficcio and it's wonderful to see how many folks are moving towards gluten-free these days.


  2. Thanks for reading!

    Seriously though, every time we turn tennis on my son asks about Djokovic. I don't know when he even learned his name. He must of sensed a gluten free connection!

  3. I'm glad this story is bringing attention to this issue. So many people feel rundown, have frequent stomach issues, etc., and just don't know why. Hopefully more will pay attention to what they put in their bodies and get tested for food allergies, because we wouldn't put the wrong fuel into our cars--why not figure out what kind of fuel is best for our bodies?

  4. By staying on a GF(gluten free)diet, Novak will feel stronger and healthier. I was diagnosed with celiac disease 5 years ago. I had it for years and none of my doctors could figure out why I was so anemic, all blood tests showed low vitamins and minerals. Finally a gastric disease specialist saw me and saved my life. Antibodies in the body attack gluten in the intestine. Also, the antibodies attack the intestine as they are chowing down on the gluten. The result is you cannot absorb any nutrients, or even medicines. By adherring to a gluten free diet, your intestines heal and can work normally again. Your system returns to normal. You dont need a pro nutritionist to eat GF foods. The GF foods are more expensive, but I would rather that then wear a colostomy bag the rest of my life! Good luck to all who deal with this and good luck to Novak!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story, Linda. Celiac is a very dangerous disease, and one that is widely misunderstood. I get frustrated when the gluten free diet is treated like a fad diet. It may be for some, but for people like my son, it is the only way for him to get and to stay healthy!