On the heels of Novak Djokovic's announcement that he was going gluten free for health reasons, another tennis player, Sabine Lisicki of Germany, has also announced that she is gluten intolerant. Lisicki had battled cramping and illness in the past, even collapsing on court during a match. She spoke about her condition briefly today during an interview at Wimbledon. She mentioned that her gluten intolerance had been affecting her stamina and general overall health, and although she feels better now on a gluten free diet, she also commented that it takes time for the body to adjust to a new diet.
This is an important point for me, because unlike many food allergies or intolerance where removing a single ingredient can be straightforward, removing gluten in all forms requires making several dietary changes for the average person, particularly since it is so prevalent. Gluten is not only found in those products you would expect to see it, it is often also lurking in products where you wouldn't expect to find it.
Like certain types of vinegar.
Or soup broth.
Or salad dressings and BBQ sauces.
Not to mention the simplicity with which cross-contamination can happen.
Toasting that slice of gluten free bread in the same appliance that toasts regular bread? You could be cross-contaminated.
Since one's diet changes so drastically when gluten is removed, it stands to reason that an adjustment period is natural. Especially if the intestines have been damaged from exposure.
Lisicki seems to be adjusting well though. Today she won her quarterfinal match at Wimbledon, and will be playing in the semi-finals on Thursday. As for that other gluten-free player, Djokovic, he plays his quarterfinal match tomorrow.
Could there be two gluten free athletes in the semi-finals of one of the most prestigious tennis events in the world this year?