Cheat Meal This Weekend? READ THIS FIRST


Pizza no more! I love pizza and used to have it almost exclusively as my number one "cheat" meal option, and this was hands down the yummiest pizza I have EVER had (Island of Korcula, Croatia). I stopped eating all gluten even on cheat days two years ago and will never look back... now you could not pay me to go back and eat even a single piece. I am not celiac. Food for thought....



Hey mate,


I hope this finds you better than ever.


A bunch of emails this week about cheat meals, so a bit of a rehash here, as this is important.


Lets recap what I believe are the rules for optimal nutrition…..


EAT for nutrient density

EAT to improve gut absorption of nutrients

EAT a macro nutrient profile that lends itself to improved body composition and less disease

EAT sufficient quantity of quality food to deliver your body its macro and micro nutrient requirements

DO NOT EAT anti-nutrients

DO NOT EAT things that harm you



I am willing to go on a limb here (it is not much of a limb, more a trunk the size of a New Zealand Kauri tree, the science is behind me on this) and state that I believe gluten is the king of all anti-nutrients.


Anyone who has any interest in being leaner, living longer, living more happily, and living without a host of auto-immune related diseases and issues should avoid it, permanently.


So having said that, as you head into the weekend, here are few tips if you are planning a cheat meal….


I know that in his #1 Best-Selling book the 4-Hour Body Timothy Ferriss has an entire chapter dedicated to “Damage Control” and cheat meals.


His formula for getting the most benefit from a cheat meal is pretty intense and he researched it with a lot of self-testing. While it is not the design, Athletic Greens I am happy to say, features prominently in his approach.


If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book, it is a great read. I especially like the training hacks.


I am going to cover the big differences between my approach, and the Slow Carb Diet approach, and the all important WHY – in an upcoming post.


Let’s just say for now that after a history of gut health issues, my angle on the cheat meal is a bit different.


There are arguments for some people such as military or foreign aid workers keeping a tiny dosing of gluten in their diet once a week to maintain better tolerance to it. This is because they have limited choices for eating once deployed, and are likely in for doses of cheap, gluten-laden meals.


If you are not in that category, then my take is that you should remove gluten from your diet, completely.


If that is too hardcore, at the least I would prefer that anyone in their first 14 days of eating Slow Carb, Paleo, Beyond Diet, or anything else avoids gluten 100%.


Why 14 days? Studies have indicated it takes 10-15 days for the damage and irritation to your gut lining to be healed up following even a single DOSE of gluten.


To make that more exciting, some research is suggesting it can take up to 8 months to heal the gut from the damage gluten does, and that is in people who do not necessarily have celiac.


I know what you are thinking: “But Kiwi, I want my cheat meal!”


If it is part of your plan, you can still have a cheat meal, just don’t do it with bread, pasta, pastry or anything else containing gluten. This also means all breakfast cereals are OUT.


For starters you can load up on tequila, dark chocolate, full fat icecream (if you can handle the dairy), and the biggest paella you can find.


I recommend you precede it with a wallop of Athletic Greens and a decent workout but you can still go pretty wild!


Trust me on this one, get those 14 days in (or more, 30 is a LOT better, 180 better still) and you will be in a far better place to determine later the true impact of gluten on your system. Your call if you want to add it back, but at least do it from a position of knowing.


Warning: you may not go back.


Gut health plus getting all those good nutrients in regularly is the name of the game. They go together hand in hand.


Improving gut health = increased nutrient absorption + lower inflammation + improved immunity


The four entries on that little line right there sums up ONE HUNDRED PERCENT the entire idea behind the formulators of Athletic Greens.


If you missed it, I briefly cover that here.  


Not much sense in doing so much good for your body, then trashing your gut lining and going massively backwards in health for the sake of a pastry.


Gluten is one of those things that can harm you, and the less frequently you dose yourself with this poison, the better you are going to feel, and the better you are going to look.


Case in point – this from a “once a week cheat meal guy” who became a “once a week cheat meal guy but without gluten”


“hey man, i’m right into the Athletic Greens, the diet, and nearly 4 weeks without any gluten, much thanks to the conversations with you. crazy amounts of energy, it’s fantastic. cheers”  Charles H.


Whooop! Another happy customer. Reading that kind of stuff makes me happy, every time.


My take on it is that my happiness is directly related to my energy levels and my sense of well being, so I try to avoid gluten, all the time. (It is a LOT better if you want to see your abs too).


So the choice is yours, as always.


Keep educating yourself, and whatever you do this weekend, I hope it is a good one.


“100% Focus on Happiness”


That is my mantra, and it starts with phenomenal health.




Chris Ashenden


Q. Back to the fun stuff…. What is your favorite NON-gluten containing cheat meal?


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About the author
Chris 'The Kiwi'
So named because he comes from a little country in the Pacific called New Zealand where a small, fat, quasi-blind, and largely defenseless bird by the name of “Kiwi” is the national animal, and what we are called when we land in other countries. He is focused on using what he can remember from his studies for a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and his cumulative years as a nutritionist and strength coach to help other people enjoy amazing levels of health and energy. He enjoys ticking through his list of life goals and meeting new people.
  • JNicolais

    I have been gluten free for many years, and agree with you that I would never knowingly let it slip into my diet any more. I am new to AG – this is only my fourth day using it. I have alternated feeling great (day 1), horrible (day 2), great (day 3) and horrible (day 4). On my great days, I have felt alert, happy, energetic. On my horrible days, I have just felt like I want to sleep all day, very groggy, foggy brained, tired. Could this be a detox thing going on? I drink about 50 oz of water a day, so try to stay hydrated.

    • Anonymous

      Hey mate

      Yes for sure to the detox.

      For many we would tell them to bring the dose down and titrate it up. In your case, I recommend you power through and you should be past it within 6 to 14 days and never look back.
      Let me know how you get on


      Chris Ashenden

  • Marie Ferguson Jones

    Kiwi – the day my first AG arrived, my husband started feeling sick with the flu, so I had obviously already been exposed before I began taking Athletic Greens. On about the third day of AG I had some minor symptoms, but they lasted only 24 hours and I was back to normal. He still had symptoms lagging on for 3 weeks. I can’t say enough about the power of having healthy food in your system.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Marie!

      That is awesome, thank you for sharing.

      So glad you beat the bug quickly – time to get your husband onto the healthy living bandwagon.
      Great work!


      Chris Ashenden

  • Marie Ferguson Jones

    For Valentine’s I made a sauce, similar to Bordelaise sauce, but made with a reduction of Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar (gluten-free and vegan) and reduced beef stock to top my lamb chops (or a filet, etc.). Not much of a cheat, but since it was Valentine’s there were pieces of dark chocolate to follow the meal. The sugar caused some inflammation the next day, so I think it is a bigger detractor than we might think.

  • Marc Bushee

    Chris I have been following the slow-carb diet for almost 4 weeks. I take advantage of the binge day, but I’m not so sure I want to anymore. I feel like crap on that one day! I have been conscious of limiting gluten on my binge day, but my biggest weakness when I go out is beer. I love trying different beers, especially local brews. Do you know of any good gluten free beers that are widely distributed? I didn’t even know there was such a thing as gluten free beer until recently so I am going to look at my local stores for something to try. By the way, me favorite cheat is a flavor of frozen yogurt at a store nearby that is gluten free, lower in sugar, and higher in protein.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Marc,

      My recommendation to 99 per cent of the population is here
      No gluten, no cheat days at all for 30 days.

      I don’t know a yummy g f beer mate, but my cousin’s in laws own a brewery in NZ and they have been instructed to figure it out.
      Definitely get off the gluten, you will never look back


    • Ashley H

      My sister is a Celiac and she drinks Stronbow, which is a dry cider, and really enjoys it. Granted, she was diagnosed when she was about 12 or 13 so she doesn’t know what real beer tastes like.

      • Ashley H

        *Strongbow. Sorry.

    • Abby S

      Red Bridge is my favorite. Its a gluten free sorghum beer that actually tastes very good. Our local Albertson’s market stocks it in the beer cooler. Its the only beer I drink now, when I decide to splurge.

  • Tkeyserpetty

    What are the thoughts on Quinoa? It is a seed, but always lumped in with grains….and not all grains have gluten…is this gluten specific then?

    • Anonymous

      hey mate.

      i see quinoa as a lessor evil. i am not fan of regular intake due to the saponin content (another type of lectin) that can mess with GI health.

  • 808hitony

    Cris When You say no breakfast cereal do You mean no Oatmeal also?

    • Anonymous

      No oatmeal for me

  • Nradvili4

    I found out im allergic to bromelain extract and get really sick, only the last year I started to feel sick after pineapples. is there anything I could use to assist with nutrient absorption and because this extract is in althetic greens, what should I do?

    • Anonymous

      hey mate, if the AG is also causing a reaction then you will have to skip it unfortunately.

  • Jaro

    cutting off pizza from my diet? That’s madness! Ain’t gonna happen.

  • Rhonda

    Coq au vin. organic chicken. brandy dumped over top and flamed BEFORE the bottle of red wine is dumped in. Lots of onions and mushrooms. So rich it tastes totally evil and is probably not so bad for you if organic butter is used. Cheers: Rhonda

    • Anonymous

      LOVE IT! Thanks Rhonda!

  • Lmatt

    Hi Paul try reading the book” Wheat -belly “by Dr William Davis a cardiologist .He writes about the research of why we are getting less and less tolerant to gluten and how extensively our bodies are affected by it.All the stuff in his book is noterized so you can look up the research yourself of what been found

  • BHA

    I have just started the gluten free regimen. one month. just got the greens. waiting for the energy to come back. I was just ready to have a cheat weekend – dinner and birthday party with friends. this article was just in time to save me from myself. that’s how I got into this mess.

    • Anonymous

      Go after it mate. Big post on gluten coming up

  • Nathan Nunley

    Totally agree, Chris! Thanks for the post.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks mate

  • Christian Baker

    Hey hey Kiwi: Favourite non-gluten Cheat Meal: Vanilla Ice Cream with a shitload of nutella!

    • Anonymous

      YES baby yes!! Good to have you here mate

  • Richard

    I was under the impression from what I have read in the past that gluten helps recovery and repair work the body system, now you say that your body doesn’t need it at all !

    • Eck

      You’re probably thinking of Glutamine – not gluten (I’m basing this assumption on the similar spelling), hence your confusion. Chris has been on the anti-gluten bandwagon for some time now.

      • Anonymous

        Yes Eck has it right, you may be confusing glutamine (an amino acid). Definitely NOT GLUTEN. Cheers Eck!

  • Dan B

    Chris, thanks for the well timed advice (my cheat day is Sat, I’ve been slow carbing it since Jan 11). How do you feel about alternative grains on cheat day – quinoa, buckwheat or millet? (all wheat gluten free)?

    • Anonymous

      Hey Dan. I would skip all the gluten containing grains just because I think they are seriously bad. In terms of adding in a lessor evil in the cereal department, I would add back in (in order)

      white rice (not brown rice)
      buckwheat (not actually “wheat”)

      hope that helps!

  • Jessesmomz

    For years I experienced back pain after only a few minutes of standing, so I always thought I could never do a job where you stood alot. I cut WAY back on gluten when I had to cut it out of my dogs diet cause he could no longer use his hind legs. (By the way, three months later my dog could walk) The result of hardly ever eating gluten, is I don’t get the low back ache anymore and I can stand as long as I want (or until my feet start to hurt). I also feel much better!

    • Anonymous

      Awesome! Thanks for posting mate

  • Lisa Edney

    I came across an interesting article on sprouting wheat before making bread which decreases gluten content and makes it more palatable: Thoughts?

    • Anonymous

      Hey Lisa. I describe this as making “crap” slightly less “crap” – it is still, however, crap.

      I recommend you skip it. Cheers, C

      • Sterrizzi


        So sprouted bread is something I should be skipping ? What if I got a gluten free one?

  • Keely Dunn

    I’ve been off gluten for 3 years now after my acupuncturist suggested that I could be celiac or at least intolerant. The change has been remarkable and now I’m on pretty much this diet, under supervision of my trainer, I still don’t have gluten on my cheat meal. Gluten-free pizza is a good option though, and as you note – chocolate doesn’t have gluten in it, thank Dawkins!

    Paul, don’t knock it until you try it. We are learning more and more about gluten intolerance every day, but the science is coming in slowly. Do you want to wait another 5 years to feel better, or are you willing to try it now? It’s not as if it’s an essential nutrient such that eliminating it from your diet has some kind of risk associated with its removal. Run an experiment and prove it to yourself.

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  • Paul Rosenberg

    Please quote “the science” that is behind you here. The science I’m aware of (that which is settled, peer-reviewed, published… you know… SCIENCE) estimates that about 6% of the USA population is gluten sensitive. That’s a huge number, but the 94% it says do not have any gluten sensitivity is… astronomically higher.

    “For the vast majority of Americans”, says Dr. Stefano Guandalini, a professor of pediatrics and director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. “there’s no reason to avoid gluten. A lot of people are on gluten free diets that don’t need to be.”

    • Anonymous

      Sure. Have an entire two part blog post coming on this. I 100% disagree with Guandalini, who obviously can’t read, doesn’t actually talk to people, or perhaps is just pissed that some of his compatriots, Dr Alessio Fasano and Marios Hadjivassiliou in particular, are rocking ahead and making history, and he is still singing the party line. I suggest you search “gluten and INSERT AILMENT” and see what pops up. You may be surprised.

      If you want specifics, start with searches for

      zonulin (i think Fasano will eventually get a nobel prize for his work with this)
      wheat germ agglutinin (wga)

      I cover all of it in the upcoming posts.

      Cheers, C

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