One of NFCA’s new Athletes for Awareness
As NFCA announced in the December Issue of the CeliacCentral monthly newsletter, 2 new celiac athletes will be joining the Athletes for Awareness program. It is our pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Pierre Poulin and John Forberger to the team!
Let’s get to know one of our two new Athletes for Awareness, Pierre Poulin.
Pierre Poulin on ‘Pierre The Athlete’:
I have been competing in 5k races for 5 years. I began bike racing one year ago. I entered my first hill climb this past August. It is a bike race that climbs over 4000 feet for 5 miles. It was physically the hardest competition I have ever entered. I am planning on entering the bike race up Whiteface Mt next June. This race is 8 miles and climbs over 5000 feet. I have finished 1st and 4th in the last two 5k races I have entered. I also set my personal best time.
My wife Amy and I are currently organizing a bike race to raise awareness for celiac disease and a healthy gluten-free lifestyle. We are also starting a cycling team (Cooking Gluten-Free with Amy).
I have always been an athlete who enjoys competition. After graduating high school I raced motocross and snowcross for several years.
A neck injury made me reevaluate my choice of sport. As a big fan of Lance Armstrong and the Tour De France- I began cycling.
Pierre Poulin on ‘Pierre The Celiac’
I have had subtle celiac symptoms my entire life but in 2003 the symptoms became noticeably worse. I was having bloating, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, and upset stomach. That was when I realized I had a medical issue. For three years I visited doctors and received multiple diagnoses. Including borderline diabetes, lactose intolerance, IBS, and crohns disease. I was becoming weaker and was losing weight because I was not absorbing my food. I went from 165lbs to 140. My work as a Farrier suffered, I couldn’t even trim and shoe one horse a day!
My doctor finally decided to put me on a high protein diet with minimal carbs. When I began to feel better he decided to test me for celiac disease. Within two months of eating a gluten-free diet my lactose intolerance disappeared. I gained back the weight and my strength. I have two uncles and an aunt that also have celiac disease.
Living gluten-free has done wonders for my health. I have more energy than ever before. My immune system is now strong and I am making healthier choices when I eat. I now see everyday as an opportunity to embrace the gluten-free lifestyle and live life to the fullest.
I look forward to competing and raising awareness for celiac disease in the coming year!